Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: The False Princess by Ellis O'Neal (ARC)

Title: The False Princess
Author: Ellis O'Neal
Published: 2011
Source: Star Book Tours

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. (taken from
I read a bunch of brilliant reviews for this novel, and while I enjoyed the book, it didn't meet my rather high expectations. Nothing about The False Princess really captivated me. Sure, the fairy-tale feel brought back memories of my middle school reading days, but overall, the book felt slow. 

The plot is certainly unpredictable. It moves in spurts- slow, fast, slow. At times it is a little cliche. The princess finds out she's not the true princess but is somehow responsible for saving the kingdom. I think I've heard it before. Still, Sinda's magical abilities and best friend, Kiernan, keep the story fairly original. 

Before reading the book, I was told to prepare myself for some "swoon-worthy romance." While I think Sinda and Kiernan's relationship is cute, it is nowhere near "swoon-worthy." Lighthearted and sweet, their love story is worth reading about, but it certainly didn't keep me reading late into the night. 

Sinda is an interesting character, but she sometimes struck me as unrealistic and presumptuous. Her stubborn refusal to ask for help got on my nerves often. Still, I couldn't help but feel sympathy for her. She did lose the only life she'd ever known. 

Honestly, I can't find much to say about The False Princess. It is a light, entertaining read. The plot is intriguing, and the characters are fun to read about. I'd recommend it to someone interested in fairy-tale type stories, but if you're looking for a deep read, then this isn't the book for you.