Monday, June 20, 2016

Mini Reviews: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

From Goodreads: In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point - he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well. As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

My Rating: 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: With a clever thief who has a knack for getting in trouble as its narrator, it’s hard not to see the similarities between Jennifer A. Nielsen’s Sage and Gen from Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief. Nielsen is no Turner however; and where Gen is subtle, Sage’s hints are blindingly obvious when read from adult eyes. Moreover, The False Prince’s plot is a little far-fetched. As a book in its own right that’s intended for middle graders though – unlike The Thief – The False Prince is a pretty enjoyable read and will especially appeal to boys. 

The False Prince was released by Scholastic in April 2012. 

From Goodreads: Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged. In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are changelings - Peculiars - and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them. One day a mysterious lady in a plum-colored dress comes gliding down Old Crow Alley. Bartholomew watches her through his window. Who is she? What does she want? And when Bartholomew witnesses the lady whisking away, in a whirling ring of feathers, the boy who lives across the alley - Bartholomew forgets the rules and gets himself noticed. First he's noticed by the lady in plum herself, then by something darkly magical and mysterious, by Jack Box and the Raggedy Man, by the powerful Mr. Lickerish ... and by Arthur Jelliby, a young man trying to slip through the world unnoticed, too, and who, against all odds, offers Bartholomew friendship and a way to belong.

My Rating: 3 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann is a book that I’d describe as well, peculiar. It was written by Bachmann when he was in his teens, yet reads likes it’s been written by a more experienced author. It’s classified as a MG novel, yet has an adult as one of its two main characters and features steampunk and politics, topics most middle graders aren’t really interested in. Personally, I felt emotionally disconnected from the characters; and while the worldbuilding was imaginative, I would have liked it to be better explained.

The Peculiar was released in September 2012 by Greenwillow Books.


  1. I'm so jealous that you're making some headways with the old books you have on your shelves. Lord knows I have a whole slew of unread books on my shelves! Anyway, both these books aren't the type I like, but I am familiar with Meg Whalen, though.

  2. My cousin Clayton is really starting to become a reader, so I think the False Prince might be ideal for him Z!

  3. I was not the biggest fan of The False Prince either, mainly because of the use of the unreliable narrator technique. That is very hit and miss for me, and in the False Prince it was a miss. I don't usually like it when the narrator is keeping things from the reader for no good within-story reason. There are exceptions – if the suspense/mystery is good enough and I like the characters well enough, I can sometimes go with it – but a lot of the time I end up feeling like I've been lied to, and then I get annoyed, lol. That said, I did think the plotting of The False Prince was quite cleverly done. I haven't followed up with the sequels, though, and from the reviews I've read it looks like the general consensus is that it goes downhill, so I don't think I will be continuing.

  4. I don't think there's any fictional thief out there that can ever replace Gen in my heart, but I still enjoyed The False Prince immensely though I can't say the same about its sequels.

  5. Sorry you weren't a big fan of either of these. I do want to read more MG in general though. :)

  6. Interesting that The False Prince felt a bit middle grade, now I just wanted to read The Thief, haha. Haven't heard of the other book but it doesn't seem like I'm missing too much.

  7. Ah, so I listened to the audiobook of The False Prince last year, when I was in a goodreads bookclub, and it was quite a disappointment- but I also feel like, even though the narrator didn't really affect the story, it might have been a better experience reading it? I did feel as if some of the bigger plot surprises were easy to forsee, and I wasn't shocked by the ending which I was a little put off by. But like you, I read it when I wasn't in the age bracket, so maybe a child would enjoy it more? It's deifnitely an intriguing story and I imagine it would be quite captivating for a new fantasy reader.

    I was so keen to read The Peculiar back when it was released, but... somehow I never really got to it? And then I just kinda forgot about it. I should really look it back up and see whether it seems like my kind of thing. I'm sorry you didn't find more to enjoy about it, though. I do have to say the cover is pretty wonderful! x


I love comments and will reply back via either email or stopping by your blog. Please note that this is an award-free zone.