The False Prince (the Ascendance Series, Book 1)

The False Prince (the Ascendance Series, Book 1) : Volume 1

4.2 (87,063 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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New York Times bestseller The False Prince thrills with wild twists and turns, danger and deceit, and the revelation of hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end.

In a discontented 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.And don't miss the highly anticipated fourth book in the series, The Captive Kingdom, coming October 2020!
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 132 x 188 x 25mm | 227g
  • United States
  • English
  • Reissue
  • 0545284147
  • 9780545284141
  • 16,674

Review quote

Praise for The False Prince: A New York Times Notable Children's BookA Publishers Weekly Best Book of the YearWinner of the Cybils Award for Middle-Grade Fantasy & Science FictionA page turner.... -- New York Times Book ReviewSage proves to be a compelling character whose sharp mind and shrewd self-possession will make readers eager to follow him into a sequel. -- Wall Street JournalThis kickoff to her new 'Ascendance Trilogy' is a swashbuckling origin story. . . . Sage is a quick wit, and Nielsen showcases it with terrific dialogue... chock full of alluring details for adventure-loving boys. -- Los Angeles Times* Sage is deftly characterized through humorous first-person narration, quickly establishing himself as a beguiling antihero. . . . First in the 'Ascendancy Trilogy, ' this is an impressive, promising story with some expertly executed twists. -- Publishers Weekly, starred reviewNielsen has written a terrific story that carries readers along to the very (surprising) end and will leave them clamoring for the next book in her trilogy. -- BookPage, featured Top Pick reviewThe False Prince is more Harry Potter (minus the magic) than Hunger Games... with authentic characters, a convincing sense of danger and a genuinely high-stakes plot.... -- Hollywood ReporterSure to appeal to middle-grade readers, The False Prince is an imaginative, plot-driven adventure story with a classic feel.... Readers will be turning pages feverishly, especially toward the climax of the novel. Deception and betrayal abound! -- RT Book ReviewsThe delight of Nielsen's story is the discovery of the true motivations of all the characters in a fast-paced plot with plenty of action, mystery and violence. -- Columbus DispatchThe False Prince is a gracefully written fantasy that flows from beginning to end without a hitch.... In addition to dynamic characters, Jennifer Nielsen has created a plot with twists and turns in all the right places. -- Deseret NewsRuthless ambition, fierce action and plotting, complex characters and lots of sword play and hidden passages keep pages flipping. Readers of this multifaceted, well-crafted tale will eagerly await Sage's further adventures. -- Kirkus ReviewsFast-paced and exciting, this book will appeal to readers who enjoy intrigue mixed in with their adventure.... Full of machinations and surprises, this book will keep students reading until the last page and eager for the second in the trilogy. -- School Library JournalA sure-fire mix of adventure, mystery, and suspense. -- The Horn Book
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About Jennifer A Nielsen

Jennifer A. Nielsen is the acclaimed author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Ascendance Series: The False Prince, The Runaway King, The Shadow Throne, The Captive Kingdom, and The Shattered Castle. She also wrote the New York Times bestseller The Traitor's Game and its sequels, The Deceiver's Heart, and The Warrior's Curse; the New York Times bestselling Mark of the Thief trilogy: Mark of the Thief, Rise of the Wolf, and Wrath of the Storm; the standalone fantasy The Scourge; and the critically acclaimed historical thrillers A Night Divided, Resistance, Words on Fire, Rescue, and Lines of Courage. Jennifer collects old books, loves good theater, and thinks that a quiet afternoon in the mountains makes for a nearly perfect moment. She lives in northern Utah with her family, and is probably sneaking in a bite of dark chocolate right now. You can visit her online at or follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @nielsenwriter.
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Rating details

87,063 ratings
4.2 out of 5 stars
5 47% (40,659)
4 34% (29,793)
3 14% (12,002)
2 3% (3,016)
1 2% (1,593)

Our customer reviews

We start off with an orphan named Sage. Sage is somewhat of a troublemaker. He does not follow rules and is quite the rebel. When he meets Conner, a nobleman, who kidnaps him. He is not the only one, there are three other boys about his age, all orphans. There names are, Roden, Tobias, and Latamer. No one knows why or where they are being taken. They soon learn that the entire royal family has been murdered, and the kingdom is on the edge of war. Regents have their beady eyes on the throne. But Conner has his own plans. That is where the boys come into play. Conner will do anything to get what he wants, even kill. I loved the twist at the end, I never saw it coming at all. Characters are extremely important in stories like this, for me and these characters were great. Conner was ruthless, cold-hearted. Sage is clever sharp witted;He is one of my favorites of the books I've read this year. Now I need to get my hands on the sequel, The Runaway King soon!show more
by Sarah
What a refreshing fantasy book. Yes, it follows the pattern of traditional fantasy but it didn't take itself too seriously. There was a lot of humor and wit. The very best part of this book is the anti-hero, Sage. He had every characteristic that a hero shouldn't have. And somehow they all came in handy. He was very much a young Han Solo that lived in a kingdom instead of a galaxy far, far away. Sage's character contrasted so well with Tobias, who seemed like the kind of character that would have been the hero in most other fantasy books. Sage is the most well-written character I've read in a long time. Just when you can't take any more snark or cheek from him, he shows an incredibly human side. I adored his character. Honestly, I saw the end coming. The plot seemed somewhat predictable which I usually frown upon, but I still enjoyed the story a lot mainly because of Sage and how utterly fascinating he is. I found as the story came to the end, it had a beautiful, bittersweet tone to it that I wasn't expecting. Another thing I found quite intriguing was the theme about our expectations of people based on how we label them. Do we see certain characteristics as virtues or vices because of the label we've given them? I also loved the little ways that it reminded me of Annie, Aladdin and Pirates of the Caribbean like in the opening scene where Sage is running through the streets being chased by guards because he stole some meat. Overall, though it had a slightly predictable plot, it was a sensational and entertaining fantasy book with a stunning main character that you shouldn't more
by Jessica B
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