Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Published: April 1st 2012 by Scholastic
Description: 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.
I Give This ...
The minute I saw this one, it went on my to-read list. I was shocked to see it at my library (my library never gets things that quick after release date). I immediately picked it up and took it home! It was just as good as all the reviews say it is!
Sage is an interesting narrative. While all the boys are picked from the orphanages, there's something different about Sage right from the start. He knows what the world is like because he's seen it. He's not one to settle in and barely get by. He's had to fight for every little thing he has. I was also impressed that despite his hard life, he has a sense of humor and quite a lot of sarcasm. From the start I wondered what he might have been compensating for. I enjoyed him, but felt there was way more to the story.
I loved learning about the country along with the boys. The way the kingdom is(was) run is interesting. The royal family must have been highly despised to have created so many enemies. Enemies that are very patient in waiting for just the right time to strike. I was amazed at just how deep the treachery went. I often wondered who was a faithful follower and who wasn't. I also really enjoyed the training the boys went through. I think it really helped shine a light on each of their strength and weaknesses. I debated to myself and who would make the better prince. I also think it brought forth their true colors. It's amazing who will snap under the pressure.
I have to be honest and say I completely expected the twist in the story. Although, I loved how they explained it all. I really couldn't figure out the how's. The ending really left me wanting the next book. Such a long wait ....