Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Teen Fiction Tuesday: The False Princess

The False Princess, by Eilis O'Neal

Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pages: 336
Reading Level: 12 and up
Enjoyment Level: Very high

It’s books like The False Princess that help me remember how much I love a straight fantasy story. I’ve seen so many urban and realistic fantasy recently that sometimes I forget that high, epic, and classic fantasy were all favorites of mine in junior high and high school.

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.

I loved the characters in this. Sinda is likeable, and I found it very easy to empathize with her. She made sense to me, and her reactions to her situation felt natural and very understandable. I felt awful when she was ejected from the life she’d always known, and I cheered when she finally realized what she was meant to do.

The other characters were fun, and they complemented her well. I love Keirnan! What a great, heroic, sweet, but still somewhat frustrating guy. He made it easy to like him and made it easy to root for him with Sinda.

I found the plot a lot less predictable than I thought, which is always a good thing. I thought I had it pretty much figured out until the author threw in the kicker… I won’t tell you what it is, since this is recently published – just don’t get too caught up in thinking you know what’s going on.

This is a great book to read when you need something light, but it’s also deep enough to give you something to sink your reading teeth into. I love the fantasy elements, as well as the mystery and the adventure. And the romance doesn’t hurt, either.

Until next time, go read something!

~ Vilate

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