The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen. ★★★
The False Prince is a young adult or possibly middle grade fantasy novel that reminds me strongly of Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief. Sage is living in an orphanage when he’s taken along with three other boys by a nobleman named Connor. The royal family is dead and civil war is brewing, but Connor has a plan – find an impostor to play the role of the missing prince Jaron. Sage knows that if he isn’t chosen, Connor will have him killed.
The False Prince was all right but not particularly great. Large parts of the book felt bare boned. For instance, take the world building. There’s little to no effort to build up a sense of place. The setting is entirely lacking in culture or history and felt simplistic. Character development felt similarly simplistic. The only character with a chance at depth was the lead, and I never grew attached to him.
The plot of the book largely lies on a reveal that comes near the end. Unfortunately, I guessed the reveal ahead of time. I don’t think the reveal is significantly hard to guess if you’re familiar with the genre.
While I was reading The False Prince, I was continually reminded by Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief. The plots of the two books are different, but there’s certain similarities in feel, perhaps due to both books having unreliable and cocky young thieves as their main characters. Overall, I’d say that Turner’s book is the better of the two due to superior prose. Despite this, if you were a fan of The Thief, you may want to look into The False Prince.
The False Prince was not an amazing novel. I found it mediocre, but it was still a fairly pleasant way to pass some time.