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Monday, June 18, 2012

YA Review: The False Princess

I have this thign I do where I'll put off reading a book and then feel guilty about putting it off so I'll put it off more and then I'll feel more guilty about it so - you get my point, right? It's not one of my best qualities and I really shouldn't do it.

But I did with this one. I stuck it next to my bed and didn't read it because there were so many books I had to read and ZOMG my to-read pile was going to kill me in my sleep aaaand... I get into these ruts sometimes. Honestly, the best way for me to get out of them is to read a bunch of books I don't *have* to read and relax.

This got really long but basically I'm trying to say that the length of time between me getting this book and reading it/writing the review are absolutely unrelated to its quality. Okay? Okay. Let's move on to the review now!

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neil

Published: January 25th, 2011 by EgmontUSA
Genre: YA Fiction
Binding: ARC (I really suck at this blogging thing...)
Page Count: 318 but I have an ARC and it could be slightly different in the finished copy
Part of a series? No, it's a standalone.
Amazon link.

Summary (from goodreads): Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she 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 of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known.

Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins - long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control - she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl.

Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor's history, forever.

Review: I went into this one with slightly mixed feelings because of how long I put it off (see above ramblings) but by, like, the second page, I knew I was going to like it. The first chapter was really, really strong and I love that. It was the kind of first chapter  that makes you want to keep reading. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised how good this one was. It was one of the most fun books I've read in a while. Not that it was crazy lighted hearted (I actually had moments where I almost teared up but that might just have been me being weird), but the book had false princesses and magic and romance and it was just so good.

Plot: This would be spoiler-city if I said much more than what's in the summary so I'm going to skip it so I won't ruins thing for you guys.

Characters: Okay, for the sake of this review and my sanity, I'm going to call the MC of the book (the false princess herself) Sinda, since that's how she ends up identifying for most of the book besides the very beginning. Otherwise it'll end up REALLY confusing.

Sinda as a princess was kind of impressive. She says on the second page that she, "knew four modern languages well, bits and pieces of six others, and enough of five ancient tongues to at lease recognize them." Like I said, impressive. But then, when she found out who she really was, she became like a hundred times more interesting. She was prickly and stubborn sometimes which, you know, sometimes made want to smack her a bit but was interesting which is good! She also became strong and brave and independent and really awesome.

Her best friend, Kiernan, he was a hottie. What? He was and Sinda thought so too, so it's completely important that I mention it. He was also totally loyal to her which was awesome. But, also awesome, was that he wasn't doing the saving in the book. Sinda was not a damsel in distress needing to be rescued. Kiernan was her partner, her ally, and her friend, but not her knight in shining armor. And that was great.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc: The book didn't say at first when it was set, but there were a few things in the book that made me think it was set in or around the 1160s or 70s. I actually wish it had said when it was set specifically, but that might have changed in the final version.

With that time setting in mind, though... they didn't always seem to talk like they were in the twelfth century. I'm not some great historical fiction buff, but it threw me sometimes. It wasn't very often, though, just a few times in the book where something didn't feel right.

PG-13 stuff: Possibly some scary moments, but other than that, I didn't notice any language and the content seemed to me like it would probably be appropriate for younger kids reading up who aren't ready for "darker" stuff.

Cover comments: My ARC has a different cover. This post has a picture of the cover I have. I have to say, I think I like the final cover better. Because of the purple, but also I like that you could think of the cover as the idea is her past self is in the locket and her present self is still incomplete. Uh. But I'm possibly over-thinking this a bit.

Conclusion: Pleasantly surprised! The False Princess was a very enjoyable book with really good characters. And personally, I'm a bit of a sucker for a lost princess lot (ala Tangled or Sleeping Beauty). I definitely recommend it. Four out of five roses.

Other notes:

- The note is written with horrible grammar so I'm not going to copy it verbatim, but basically the gist was that I liked Sinda not being a princess better than when she was one and the magic was cool.

- The first two times Kiernan sees Sinda after she's been gone, he hugs her. There was a gap of time between the two times, but he hugs her both times. And the way he hugs her is just... kind of really awesome.

That's about it!

Peace and cookies,

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