Monday, 30 May 2011

Book Review: The False Princess

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.

While both the plotline and gorgeous cover of Elis O'Neal's YA novel, The False Princess, first drew me to reading this book, I ultimately found myself disappointed by the overall story. Although I appreciated this reverse on the typical tale where a young girl discovers herself to be a long lost princess, the tedious dialogues and predictability of The False Princess often tested my patience as a reader. There were several times I considered simply returning this novel to the library, but my hope that the ending might surprise and astound me gave me the motivation to keep reading.

Now I probably sound like I'm tearing this poor book apart, and I'm sure there are many people out there who have read and enjoyed The False Princess, but in my own personal opinion there were simply too many things that annoyed me about this particular novel. The number one thing that got on my nerves as the story went on was Sinda's repetitious thoughts and conversations. She would often state the same thing over and over again in three different ways before finally allowing the plot to move forward a little bit. While I'm sure this repetition was meant to display Sinda's unease as a character, it happened in so many different occasions within the novel that I was tempted to skip whole pages in order to get to her final decision.

If there was one good thing that surprised me about this novel it was a slight twist in the plot about halfway through, which caught me slightly off guard. After this turn in the plot, however, I found the outcome of The False Princess pretty easy to predict, and discovered all of my assumptions to be true when I got to the end of the book. Unlike a lot of recent YA fiction, which has the tendency to appeal to adults and teens alike, I think that perhaps The False Princess would be much more enjoyed by readers solely between the ages of 12-16. In general, if The False Princess is a book that you have been thinking about reading, I would suggest picking up a copy from your local library rather than spending your hard earned cash at the bookstore.

Rating: 2.5 Stars


Shoshanah said...

This sounds like such a cute premise for a book. But it's too bad to hear it didn't quite live up to expectations for you.

kaye (paper reader) said...

As a person who personally loved this book it's interesting to see that the things I really enjoyed were things that stood in the way for you. That's what I like best about reading reviews, their diversity.

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