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Reading Between Classes

A unique perspective on YA Literature from a junior high teacher. 

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The False Prince: Book 1 of the Ascendance Trilogy

The False Prince - Jennifer A. Nielsen This review can also be found on Reading Between ClassesCover Impressions: The cover doesn't stand out as much as I would like. It is simple and clean and I do like the gold crown and lettering on a blue background. The Gist: As an orphan running the streets of Carchar, Sage has learned to depend on his quick wits and quicker mouth to survive. When he finds himself one of four boys bought by a wealthy nobleman with a dastardly plan to gain control of the throne, Sage must use every trick at his disposal to outmaneuver the other boys and convince the kingdom that he is fit to rule.Review: The False Prince is the first book in The Ascendance Trilogy, and when I finished this book I was incredibly thankful that there are more to come while, at the same time, lamenting that I did not have the next installment NOW. This novel manages to invoke the same sense of intrigue and danger that Game of Thrones does, but presents it in a manner that is appropriate for a young audience. At the end I found myself warring contradicting emotions as half of me wanted to finish quickly so that I could find out what happens while the other half wanted to slow down a savor each word. The voice of Sage, hooked me from the very first page. He is clever, witty and self-deprecating. He interjects a wonderful sense humor into the most serious of situations and is able to manipulate the other characters into playing along in his grand master plan. His antics left me laughing, shaking my head or asking "why can you not keep your mouth shut!" (and sometimes all three) in the most wonderful of ways. Sage is the type of character that is impossible not to root for and I truly feel that he will appeal to both male and female readers, a feat that seems difficult to accomplish in most YA novels. The plot unfurls slowly but steadily, with secrets and betrayals around every corner. There was not a single moment when I was bored or wishing for more action. This is one of those books in which seemingly insignificant details will later be revealed as integral to the plot. I adore novels where all the puzzle pieces seem to fall into place, creating a finished piece that is full of detail and leaves the reader reflecting on all of the moments that brought us to this place. The False Prince is easily the best book I have read this year and I am especially excited because this is a book that I can hand both my male and female students knowing that they will return begging for the next in the series. This is a wonderful addition to any classroom library, kid's bookshelf or adult's to-be-read pile. Teaching/Parental Notes:Age: 12 and upGender: Both - Boys will LOVE this book!Sex: NoneViolence: Shooting with an arrow, swordplay, stabbingInappropriate Language: NoneSubstance Abuse: None