Monday, March 14, 2011
Review: The False Princess
Author: Eilis O'Neal
Publisher: EgmontUSA (January 25, 2011)
Summary: 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 was not at all sure I would like this book for about the first 80 pages. While the story of Sinda's fall from Princess to village girl was unfortunate, it wasn't very compelling, somehow, and her attitude during and after the reveal didn't sit well with me. That changed once she went to the city to gain control of her magic. I suppose it was her decision to take control of her life that allowed me to slip into the story more fully and really enjoy the rest of the book.
Once things get going, it is a fun ride. The plot and intrigue are full of clever twists and challenges. While Sinda definitely makes mistakes along the way she is definitely thinking for herself and doing her best to make something of her life which I really enjoyed.
When it comes to characters, though, all I can say is KIERNAN! Such a sweet, loyal, awesome character. Man. I love his ability to make friends with everyone, and to stand by Sinda no matter what her circumstances. There are not enough male characters like him. He was charming but not vapid, and he truly cared about Sinda and also the girl who took her place. His good heart was just clear throughout the book, which is all too rare in love interests in YA.
A fun read despite the slow start, I definitely think this is a book that will appeal to fantasy readers!