Book review: The False Prince (The Ascendence Trilogy #1), by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The False Prince

Series: The Ascendence Trilogy #1

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Goodreads link

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, Children’s

**spoiler alert**

I seriously did not expect that I was going to be hooked with this book at all! Like, at all! As a matter of fact, I was very pessimistic when I picked this book, but then as I closed the book and head to bed (after, what I presume, devouring half of the book in a single sitting) I can’t go to sleep because my mind kept on going back to the book and I was dying to know what was to happen to Sage in the book; that, my friend, is how I know I was hooked with this book so bad.


First off, I seriously did not expect that this was going to be such a great read for me. When I first stumble upon this book, I thought to myself how boring this book must be, especially since the main character is a fourteen year old boy that is groomed to be the long lost prince of a country, yeah so unoriginal and boring. But, wait! See, how I almost always wrong every single time I thought I know too much about a book? Yeah, well, I was dead wrong about this book. The book is just amazing! It was quick paced and it really did keep me at the edge of my seat. I like the fact that this book just don’t wander around aimlessly trying to keep the suspense by stalling everything (most of the time, when author tries so hard to keep the suspense by stalling the events in the book, it always fail miserably). Reading this book is like cutting everything down to the very centre of things, you get what you’re promised when you first see the summary of the book; I liked that, because I really hate it when I’m lead to believe that a book is about one thing and then when I read it, it was about an entirely different thing.

The thing that sort of disappoint me the most was the setting building. It feels like the author just throw these names (like Carthya, Avenia, Bymar, Gelyn and what have you) and expects us to just know the difference and how significant is one to the other just by a map that was attached on the first page of the book. And then, it mentions about how Sage (the main character) speaks with an Avenian accent instead of the Carthyan (I don’t know if this was the correct demonym or not, excuse me for that), and I’m left asking, ‘how does an Avenian accent sounds like?‘ For a fantasy story, and the first one in the series, I was kind of hoping the author would have given some time to explain a little bit about these countries; hopefully in the next books there will be more coverage about this (I’m crossing my fingers).

Now, when you read this book, you would have some favouritism on either of the three orphans that were groomed to be the long lost prince of Carthya. I, of course, was favouriting towards Sage as he was the narrator of the story and it was easier to get into his heads compared to others. But as the story progress, I realise it was not because he was the narrator that I favour Sage more than the others (the others being Tobias and Roden), but because Sage was definitely a character to like. He was witty, smart, calculative, cunning, good with words; basically he’s everything that I would like in a main character. And throughout the book, you kind of felt that maybe Sage is the long lost prince of Carthya (named Jaron, but what king of a name is that?). I know that Sage is almost 100% is  Prince Jaron, and at the back of my mind I would be so bummed if my guess was true. But, oh no, I didn’t!

I was not disappointed at all when my guess was proven right. Why? Although the revelation as who Jaron is really is and how he became Sage was a bit too convenient in the story, Jaron took the last part of the book by storm by doing these amazing acts and speech with his witty way. Totally my kind of a main character. Now, while we’re on the topic about how great Sage/Jaron is, I would like to point out that even from the very beginning, it was hard for me to see Sage as a fourteen year olds. He seems to be more wise and adult-like, be it in his choice of words or in his way of thinking. But, then again he was born a Prince, so maybe my fourteen year old self should not be compared to Sage/Jaron.

Bottom line is, yes this book was a bit predictable but what’s also great was that, just when you though you figured this book out, it surprises you with things you did not see coming at all; so all in all, not that predictable, hence why I still enjoy this book even after I already predict that Sage was definitely Prince Jaron halfway through the book.

Did I enjoy it?

Are you kidding me? Of course I do. Now, if it weren’t for the fact that I have to read for my thesis, I would have jumped to the second book by now. I seriously can’t wait to see what happened to Sage and those around him now that the long lost Prince Jaron has come to claim his throne. Oh! It was a bit disheartening to hear the news that all of Jaron’s family member was murdered (albeit not gruesomely), but I was kind of hoping that it was just a rumour and they are actually still alive and well. Can you imagine how scary it is to be a fourteen year old King with no family member whatsoever to support you? I sure can’t (maybe that’s why I’m just a low life commoner who reads in the dark and post its review in the morning while waiting for its laundry to finished?)

Favourite  character

Definitely Sage/Jaron and surprisingly Mott. I don’t know why but I keep on having Mark Strong’s face in my mind every time Mott is present in the story. Maybe it’s the bald head? Maybe it’s the calm gesture? But, I like it. I’ll keep Mark Strong’s face when I read the second book (whenever that was, but we all know that most probably I’ll be reading it after I’m finished with this review).

Questions left hanging

I mentioned about how I can’t see Sage/Jaron as a fourteen year olds, right? Because the thing is, I can see Roden and Tobias acting and thinking like a regular fourteen year olds, even with Tobias to be a more educated person than Roden. I’m dying to see how Tobias and Sage’s relationship would go further into the series; it would be very interesting to have Tobias on Sage’s side and help him navigate the court life. Definitely won’t be picking up my reading for thesis after this.

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