Monday, January 24, 2011

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia knows her role in life. But everything changes when she learns, just after her sixteenth birthday, that is a false princess - a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city, her best friend Kiernan, and the only life she's ever known.

While struggling with her new peasant life, Sinda discovers that magic runs in her veins - long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control. Returning to the city to seek answers, she instead uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor's history forever.

A perfectly plotted and completely satisfying palace fantasy, The False Princess is perfect for fans of Gail Carson Levine, Shannon Hale, and Catherine Murdock. (from back cover)

I really enjoyed The False Princess. Like the summary states, if you've ever read anything by Shannon Hale than you will see that this book is very similar to her fantasy novels, in a good way. These novels aren't usually my cup of tea, but The False Princess was well-written, with a fast plot and likable characters.

I loved that The False Princess took place in a royal court. And this isn't just any royal court. It is one set in the early 12th century and there's magic, too, which is pretty awesome. The setting is perfect for intrigue and scandal to abound. And that it did. In the book, Nalia finds out just after she turns sixteen that she is only a stand-in for the real princess and is subsequently sent from the castle. It seems as though the novel should end here, but Nalia (or Sinda, as she becomes) learns that she is magical and returns to the city to learn how to control her magic. While there, she learns a deep dark secret that is the main plot twist of The False Princess.

The plot is well-done and moves quickly, not leaving a dull moment for the reader. I was surprised at the twist because I was not expecting it, but once you discover it, everything pretty much falls into place after that. The characters, especially Sinda and Kiernan were fleshed-out and developed, even though Sinda's extreme klutziness was starting to grate on me (I'm sorry but no one is that clumsy in real life, Sinda and Bella). Kiernan was also a great character as he's obviously the love interest, but he is also very sweet and a prankster as well. Speaking of characters, I loved Philantha, the wizard that takes Sinda in. She was a little eccentric but an interesting person, nonetheless.

Overall, I really enjoyed The False Princess. It wasn't the best novel I've ever read, but definitely a commendable debut for Eilis O'Neal. Once again, if you like palace fantasies, you should make sure to check this out.

Release Date: January 25, 2011
Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: ARC provided by publisher.

2011/Egmont USA/336 pages.

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