Sunday, 23 January 2011

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

The False Princess
Eilis O'Neal
Egmont USA
[January 25, 2011]

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.

I totally loved this book. 
Really good fantasy isn't common in YA, so this was already refreshing. Then you add in the whole royal drama that I love in historical fiction, and it's just this perfect combination for a good novel.

Sinda was very much a teenage girl, despite all the world differences. She made mistakes and acted before she should've. But she was still a really good, independent character. Sinda was determined and intelligent, which I definitely respect. I really liked Kiernan, too. He wasn't the totally perfect crush or anything. He kind of reminded me of Gordo from Lizzie McGuire (Oh that adorkable Gordo) in his relationship with Sinda.

The world building was really good. I would've loved to have a map or just some more things explained, but there was always enough that I could picture exactly where everything was.

This was definitely a big mystery, which was great. There were a lot of plot twists I didn't see coming and it's always nice to have that surprise. And the romance wasn't overpowering or anything, another bonus.

I think my only fault is that the beginning was very sudden. I would've liked more building up to when Sinda finds out she's not the real princess.

But this was just a really good story and I highly recommend it to fantasy, mystery, historical, and romance lovers!

--Julie

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