Sunday, April 13, 2014

"The False Prince" by Jennifer A. Nielsen

(image borrowed from

5/5 stars

Oh this was another fun one!  I've wanted to read this book for some time now, and I was finally able to!  Totally worth the wait!

The kingdom of Carthya is on the brink of civil war after the murder of its entire royal family.  But there is still one hope left.  Prince Jaron, who was lost at sea four years ago, could still be alive.  A nobleman named Conner has chosen four orphan boys (well, really three) with physical similarities to the lost prince, in the hopes that after two weeks, one can be presented to the court as Jaron.  Sage is one of the boys picked.  He definitely doesn’t trust Conner, but also realizes that for the good of the kingdom, he must be chosen as the false prince.

I loved the character of Sage.  He was such a smart alec, defiant boy, but you could tell that underneath, he was really very clever and would always pick the right path when it mattered.  He is kind to many, but also just and fair.  Many of the other characters tend to underestimate him, but he ends up surprising them all, including the reader!   

So, I’m one of those horrible people that looks at the end of a book to see the outcome, so I kind of knew how the story was going to end, but I loved seeing how the author took the audience from point A to point B.  It was brilliant!   I wish I could say more about this, but I don’t want to give everything away.  But Nielsen does an excellent job steering the reader in one direction, and then, at the last minute, pulling them into a different one.

This is a book that I have in my school library for my older kids to read.  I will definitely be book talking this one the next chance I get!  I loved it and am really looking forward to reading the rest of the series!

"Deep Blue" by Jennifer Donnelly

(photo borrowed from

3/5 stars

I was really looking forward to reading this book.  I loved Jennifer Donnelly’s A Northern Light and Revolution.  But there was just something about this book that wasn’t at the same level of Donnelly’s other works. 

The idea behind the story is actually really good and solid.  Serafina is a mermaid princess who is about to complete an important ceremony, when her kingdom is attacked.  She escapes with her friend to find the Iele, a group of river witches thought to be a myth.  Only with their help, and the help of five other mermaids, will Serafina be able to save her world.

Sounds great, right?  The problem with this book is the little things.  It’s very juvenile.  Some of the characters were a bit superficial at times, and the lingo they used often got annoying.  The character of Neela was particularly irritating and often whiny.  I also felt a bit confused by the ending.  I received an eARC from the publisher and I’m wondering if my ending may have gotten cut off.  I know that there are three more books planned for this series, but this just did not end in a good place.

There are plenty of good moments though and I have definitely been hooked by the story line.  Seraphina is a strong character and I could see young adults sympathizing with her insecurities and cheering for her as she discovers her role in this entire problem.  I do plan on following this series as the books are released.  I’m hoping that some of the little annoying bits will eventually go away and this will turn into a truly unique and epic story.