The False Prince is a YA fantasy novel about an Avenian orphan and a cunning thief, Sage, who was forcibly taken from the orphanage where he had lived in for years by a group of men lead by a nobleman, Conner who was one of the regent for the court. Sage found himself bundled up with a group of boys, Tobius, Roden and Latamer who with similar features as his and soon find himself in a tight situation when Conner wanted them to learn how impersonate as the lost second prince of Carthya and one of them will be chosen to usurp the throne of Carthya or die. Prince Jarron was the second child to the King Eckbert, ruler of Carthya, and was known to have died 4 years ago while at sea. Unhappy with the thoughts of treasonous plots, Conner revealed to the boys the most secretive of secret about the King Eckbert of Carthya, Queen Erin and the Crown Prince Darius that would have caused the whole country to collapse. Without a choice, in less of two weeks, Sage need to learn the proper ways of being noble and maneuver his way around the people around him and determined to use all of his wits and skills to outwit everyone even himself.
Sage is stubborn as a mule, very strong-willed, quick-tempered and can be blunt to everyone. For a fourteen year old rebellious boy who had lived his life in independence, hunger and poverty, he actually hid a calm and calculating persona that he cleverly uses it against other’s advantage. I would say Sage is based on classical protagonists like Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield and Tom Canty in Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper. This is rather common in a lot of Children and Young Adult novels which is quite archetypal until the character developed into a complex character since the author decided to use her talents against her reader which is very prominent when you’re finishing the book.
Personally, I really did enjoy reading this book. Although, some of the thing may have been quite predictable but the author cleverly uses her writing skills and plot rearrangement to make the book enticing and very rereadable. The chapters flew faster as I was swept away by the storytelling and I do felt disappointed when I was nearing the end. The series is written for the audience of younger teenagers than an older young adult like me but the political conspiracy is enough to entice me into anticipating the future installments. The cover reminded me of GRR Martin’s A Clash of the Kings but I wouldn’t really be surprised by it.
If you love the book, I would recommend you with Melina Marchetta’s Froi of the Exiles since at some point of the book, Sage and Froi was quite similar enough. But that book was even more serious than this one but if you want to enjoy more clever fantasy series like The False Prince, Froi of the Exiles would have been an obvious choice.