Book Review: THE FALSE PRINCE by Jennifer Nielsen
After hearing Jennifer Nielsen speak at WIFYR last June, I had to get this book. Jennifer’s presentation on How to Keep Readers Turning Pages was outstanding, and THE FALSE PRINCE shows how well the author applies her own ideas.
Jennifer Nielsen’s plot surprised me in a delightful way. Little details, like having Sage scale the walls outside the villa where he’s imprisoned, served both to describe his character and give hints leading up to the plot reveal.
At WIFYR, Jennifer taught that when a reader knows the author is willing to kill off his good characters, it destroys the assumption that the main characters will always be safe. This creates a very suspenseful plot.
In addition, Sage is an unforgettable character. In an Audible interview with the author, Jennifer said the book really came together after listening to a song that led her to create Sage’s uniquely rebellious yet likable nature. One example is the opening scene, where Sage steals a roast from the butcher. Not an admirable act, but the readers sympathize with his choice to pilfer one large enough to feed the whole orphanage.
By combining great characterization with well-paced plot twists, Jennifer Nielsen has created one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. The sequel, THE RUNAWAY KING, is equally strong, and I’m looking forward to reading the last book in the trilogy–almost as much as I’m looking forward to her Thursday morning mini workshop, PLOTTING: The Tangled Webs We Weave.