The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal
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, Kiernan, 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 Amazon.ca)
I’m so glad I read this book. It got me back into reading the Fantasy genre which was certainly lacking. What can I say, but that I really enjoyed reading this book. The fantasy isn’t heavy handed, it’s light, and the magic system is simple and easy to understand. The background history and information of the setting is mentioned throughout the book so the reader isn’t left confused but with a general understand on the layout of the land.
I was upset when Sinda learns of her origins and is sent away. What in the world was that about??? it’s like they just casted her out like an overused toy. That got to me! and what’s even worse is Sinda just walks along with it. I realize she’s really powerless to do anything, but she could have at least put up a fight. The main issue I had with her as a character was her tendency to hesitate, at the wrong times. She was just wishy-washy at times and it got frustrating. Keep in mind, I did like her though, it was just this part of her character that just did not go well with me. Throughout the book she did develop into a stronger person and I enjoyed reading her relationship with Philantha. Philantha is an interesting teacher, although the way she teaches is different than what you might expect from other magic users. I certainly took a liking to her the moment she decided to take Sinda under her wing, Philantha wasn’t afraid of what others thought of her. That was admirable, but in a sense I think that gave Sinda a bit of a backbone to grow.
I fell in love with Kiernan. I absolutely loved him as a character. Some characters you just fall for. This is one of them. Not only was he such a great friend, but even after arguing horribly with Sinda, he still managed to forgive her. I fell for him when he came to find her. That just hit me and I thought to myself this guy has just become awesome in an instant. Kiernan and Sinda did make such great friends, of course naturally as the story progresses, you can feel the chemistry between the two of them grow and although obvious of the outcome, it’s still nice to see the two of them together.
The plot of the book was good although the mystery and intrigue did not happen until you read further into the story. It wasn’t bad as you’re literally set up with a good slap in the face in the first chapter. The pace of the book was steady although you do experience a bit of a lull when Sinda is with her Aunt. Yet it’s a welcome lull to what’s in store for the reader throughout the later half of the novel. The ending was also really good yet I can’t help but wonder if there is going to be a sequel with this one. If there is, I would not hesitate to pick it up. I would love to read more about Sinda, and about Kiernan of course!
This book was a decent read with a simple and easy to understand magic system, a nice well written fantasy world with characters that aren’t overly complex but not the most simple either. Perfect for YA readers who want a decent story, with subtle fantasy that isn’t over done.
I give it a 7/10.