The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielson
The first time I heard someone compare The False Prince: (Book 1 of the Ascendance Trilogy) by Jennifer A. Nielson to Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, I admittedly balked a little. I mean really, Harry Potter AND The Hunger Games? But I put the hardcover in my Amazon cart anyway.
The second time I heard the comparison made, I decided to check my library system to see if I could get it sooner. All the copies in the county were checked out. And there were quite a few.
The THIRD time I heard that it was AS. GOOD. AS. HARRY POTTER. AND THE HUNGER GAMES (!), I said, I need this book now...and downloaded it to my Kindle.
So, how did it measure up?
Considering my HIGH expectations, it did well.
I can't say that it was quite the page-turner that The Hunger Games was, but I certainly didn't want to stop reading at any point either.
I enjoyed this book as well as the first few Harry Potters (BLASPHEMY! you say), but whether the series becomes a true classic remains to be seen. I mean, that 7th Harry Potter book was genius. Pure storytelling genius.
Here's a summary:
The royal family is dead but few members of the Kingdom know. One of the princes, however, was lost at sea years ago. A power-hungry regent chooses four orphans who look similar to the missing prince and begins training them. One will become Prince Jaron. The other three, knowing too much of the treacherous plan, will be killed.
Sage, an unruly boy full of spunk, is our narrator. He doesn't want to be a prince, but what choice does he have? Full of twists and turns, we watch this unique character face challenge after challenge in his unusual way.
And it is Sage's character that makes this book great. Jennifer Nielson did an excellent job crafting this boy...making him someone stubborn yet lovable. He's always fighting the system, but the more we get to know him, we see that his intentions are honorable and worthwhile. I don't know if I loved him at first, but I watched him become a man and grew to LOVE his character.
While this book has some adventure, the violence is more comparable to the first Harry Potter novels than any of The Hunger Games books. One orphan is killed early on to prove that the regent is serious about his evil plot, but it isn't graphic.
So, despite my balking (like a chicken), I consider this book a 5 star read. Adventure, a little romance, a good fairy tale...
If you want to know if Sage ranks up there with the likes of wizard boys and the tributes of district 12, you'll just have to read it and decide for yourself.