The False Prince
by Jennifer Nielsen
The Ascendance Trilogy, book one
In this first book in a remarkable trilogy, an orphan is forced into a twisted game with deadly stakes.
Choose to lie...or choose to die.
In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.
As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together. (description from Amazon.com)
Danger, political intrigue, secrets, lies... Sage's story is full of suspense and moments that may shock readers. While I thoroughly enjoyed this book...and really loved the way the story was presented, when the "big reveal" came, I wasn't that surprised. I was actually a little shocked at how easily I deduced what was going on.
Despite that, I really enjoyed Sage's character, thought the premise was excellent, and was left clamboring for the next book. All in all, a winner, despite the lack of surprise.
Full disclosure: Borrowed from my library