By Jennifer A. Nielsen
Source: Bought from B&N
In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.
As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.
This book came highly recommended from a fellow blogger and believe me when I say I was not disappointed!
Sage. Oh, Sage. How I love you. Yes, I will totally fight you Small for Sage :P Sage completely made this book for me. His voice instantly gripped me. He’s strong-headed, defiant, sarcastic, snarky, roguish and clever. Oh, sure, he’d pretend to go along with Conner’s plans all the while making his own. You sneaky little devil you ; ). Everything he did was for a reason. He was observant and cunning and always had a plan. Even when he was down at his lowest, he didn’t give up unless it benefited him in some way. He didn’t take crap sitting down and always had a ready retort waiting for the next unlucky victim. But he also had a heart. He stuck up for those who couldn't always stick up for themselves and was always fair and just in his actions. Yes, Sage. You are indeed awesome.
And the plot was brilliantly written. I was never 100% sure about anything. Sure, I guessed the gist of it, but how the answers came about and the reasons behind them was so completely ingenious and shocking that I was still surprised! There were times that I trusted the characters, and then they’d go do something sketchy and I’d mistrust them and then I’d start trusting them again. It was confusing and mixed up and I loved it. I liked that it kept me guessing and I loved where the author took the plot. I can't wait to learn more about Sage and his world in the next book.
And no insta-love!!!!! *happy dance* In fact, romance was put on the back burner. What was there however was sweet and soft. Sure, a bit argumentative, but that made it all the better! It was slow and I loved it.
This book is fantastic. If you read this book for no other reason, read it for Sage's voice. Even if the synopsis doesn't grip you, his voice will. He's roughish and strong-headed and clever, but has a kind heart worthy of swoon. I can't recommend this book enough and I'm eagerly anticipating the rest of this series.