Read: April 10, 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. From the first sentence, I fell in love with Sage. It’s unusual to have a strong male lead that has spunk in young adult literature, and Sage is definitely it. I was immediately drawn to him like a magnet and he held me captivated the entire story. He is strong, cunning, stubborn, and honorable to a fault (all on his own terms, of course).
The entire book was enjoyable to read in every aspect I could have hoped for. There are plenty of books that I like well enough, mostly for a certain background character or for superior writing. To be honest, sometimes it’s a struggle to continue reading, as opposed to voraciously devouring it and willingly sacrificing sleepless nights as you are craving more. Unfortunately, I valued my grades more than sating my curiosity, so I did not stay up nights, but did find myself reading more than one chapter whilst waiting for, say, my computer to load and looking up forty-five minutes later to find that I had no memory of what I had meant to do.
Nielsen incorporated everything I love about medieval times: no useless technology complicating a good story, chivalry, and the will to survive. I suppose not all of those are exclusive to the medieval period, but that is of little concern. The plot didn’t drag too much, mostly due to Sage and his incorrigible personality, and there was such a stark realness to every character that captivated me (though not too real as to remind me of the world I am currently occupying by no choice of my own). I was, however, a bit baffled with the plot twist. I’m sure other readers caught on quicker than I did, but it slapped me in the face and knocked me for a bit before I could follow the story again. This wasn’t a huge detraction and I might just have horrible reading comprehension skills, but I didn’t see it coming.
After that point, the story felt ever so slightly forced. That might be because, as I already mentioned, I am apparently not the most observant reader in the world, but I felt like Nielsen ran out of things to say in the allotted pages that wouldn’t leave a huge cliff hanger. Possibly my mind was still reeling, but I felt the transition could have been a little smoother.
Overall, if you liked GRACELING or FIRE by Kristin Cashore, I highly suggest you read this book. There aren’t huge similarities other than superficial plot comparisons and characters that are, well, characters, but I got the same vibe from that series as I do from THE FALSE PRINCE. I cannot wait for the next one!