Sunday, June 3, 2012

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

Title: The False Princess
Author: Eilis O'Neal
Publisher: Egmont USA
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Pages: 319 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: Borrowed it from my best friend.
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: audiobook clip | author website

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.

A dazzling first novel, The False Princess is an engrossing fantasy full of mystery, action, and romance.


Imagine living for sixteen years thinking you're one person and then discovering that you're not. You were just their stand-in to make sure they stayed alive, and then you were cast out into the world with little help from the people who raised you. This is the scenario of The False Princess, a novel I've had my eye on for well over a year. It took snagging my best friend's copy for me to finally read it and I'm glad I did. The only thing that kept me from finishing this novel faster was real life concerns and some trouble that started last Wednesday night.

Thrown from her former life as quickly as she was, I felt so sad for Sinda. It often bugged me that she was so passive and hung up on her old life, but those flaws made her the believable character I wanted to see and greatly enjoyed reading about. The struggle she had with her newfound magical powers worked well and I loved reading about it. I'd rather read about a passive girl struggling to get a hold on her powers and working hard for what she got than someone who got everything handed to her and never had any truly pressing problems.

It often frustrated me that Sinda wouldn't tell anyone anything about what she suspects is a plot against the crown and even potentially alienated her best friend so she could keep what was going on a secret (how he forgave her so easily got to me a bit), but I did understand why she did it: because she was the false princess. She received so little gold because the royals didn't want to give her the opportunity to fund a rebellion in case Sinda were bitter about losing the throne and decided she wanted it back. Almost anyone she told about such a plot would dismiss it as the former princess's attempt to get back to her old life.

The mystery element of the novel is very straightforward but not overtly obvious. I love being able to figure out something before someone else can, whether it's what someone is going to say or whodunnit. I blame that on how I was raised on the utterly fantastic Detective Conan/Case Closed, but that's not the point. As hard as I tried to come to the conclusion of who did it before Sinda and Kiernan could, I was often as clueless as they were and got it only shortly (like, a page or two) before they did. Bravo, novel! You have bested me.

And the romance. Aw, Kiernan and Sinda were so sweet that I could have cuddled them like stuffed animals! I loved each and everyone one of their scenes, even when their scenes had them hurting one another. With the kind of dynamic and chemistry they had, it was hard not to coo at them out loud (and I'm kind of glad I didn't; I don't like it when people look at me like "WTF are you doing?" while I'm reading. It's too distracting.)

O'Neal seems like she's got it going on and I'll be keeping an eye out for her next novel. I'm sure it will be just as thoroughly thought out and difficult to put down as The False Princess proved to be.

4 stars!

What am I reading next?: Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

1 comment:

  1. I liked this book so much and I'm sad it's on the radars of so few people. I'm glad you enjoyed it, too! *coos with you*


I love hearing what others have to say about books and it makes me feel less like I'm talking to an empty auditorium, so comment away. Thank you for reading my blog post!