Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, Book 1)
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Format: Hardback
Page Count: 342 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 10 and up

Summary: Four teenage Orphan Boys are taken from various orphanages around the country of Cathrya. One boy is killed almost immediately as a message to the other three. They must compete against each other to see which one could become the next royal on the throne. To do it they must learn all they can about a presumed dead prince and learn to impersonate him as if they’d been him their entire life. Our hero Sage, is one of the three boys left standing, and he emphatically does not want to be the long lost prince.

Why I started this book:

The cover! Even though it is by a different author, the title reminded me of another story I read called The False Princess, which I liked, so that convinced me to try it as well.


  • Sage is an amazing character, a very good thing as this whole book rides on him. He stands out among the plethora of characters I’ve read. He has keen observation and is already playing a game of deceit when the story starts. He lies like a pro and always gets in the last word. Later his vulnerability is revealed giving him extra layers of depth. Did I mention he’s also a thief? I’m really enjoying my thief stories right now.
  • There’s never a dull moment in the story. Everything has purpose. Can you figure out the mystery before the author reveals it? I guessed and was right, but oh boy it’s still good.


  • Much of Sage’s thieving is offstage and not onstage. We see it in retelling, or as he goes back to objects stashed away later.

Last minute thoughts: Good solid ending; you’re left wanting more but not stranded on a doozy of a cliffhanger. I can’t wait for book two in the Ascendance Trilogy!

Buy: The False Prince: Book 1 of the Ascendance Trilogy

Rating: 5 Treasure Chests

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