Thursday, August 11, 2011

The False Princess

I have been waiting to read this book since it came out, but I was waiting on my library.  I grew tired of that and went ahead and ordered it so I could read it this weekend.  I'm glad I did.  I enjoyed even it more than I thought I was going to.
Synopsis (from Goodreads): 
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.

From first reading the premise of this book I wanted to read it.  It is an interesting concept, having a character go through finding out their life is a lie.  Even though there is nothing new about it, it is a fascinating idea.  I began reading expecting to get an interesting story about a girl having to cope and change after learning a devastating truth.  I had no idea I was in for a story with so much political intrigue and mystery.  Imagine my delight to discover that I was.  I love stories like this, that require unraveling, characters looking for clues, fitting  pieces of a puzzle together to see the whole picture.  Add in convoluted court politics and magic and I'm a happy girl.  The final third of the book is action packed with many tense moments.

It is still a character story as well.  The first part of the book is about a girl devastated, discovering herself, finding where she belongs, struggling with who she might be.

I liked Sinda from the beginning.  Her world is decimated by the news of her birth.  Her emotions are in turmoil, but she still thinks. And chooses her reactions after she thinks.  She is sensible.  There are times when this trait abandons her.  There are a couple of times when she really should have listened to Kiernan (her best friend).  But overall, I liked how she wasn't a battering ram, no matter how many times others accused her of being so.  She simply chose her battles.

I would have liked Kiernan's character to have been fleshed out more.  He is a good partner and foil for Sind as he is.  He's the quintessential boy next door/good guy character.  I feel there was a depth to him though that was almost there but not quite.

If you enjoy fantasies that involve politics, magic, mystery and adventure this is very enjoyable.  It is YA but is one that I could definitely see anyone with the ability to read it, no matter the age, enjoying.  

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