Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review of The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

The False Princess
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.

I read parts of The False Princess with fear in my heart. During the first 100 pages, it felt like I had a problem with a lot of different aspects of this book. Thankfully, this debut quickly turned around turned out to be a great fantasy read.

I think this book could have easily used about another 50 pages. The novel kicks off with Sinda finding out that she is the false princess and her leaving the palace, and the political intrigue drew me in right away. The first 100 pages flew by, but to be honest, a slower pacing would have felt more natural to me. A lot of the plot points seemed rushed, and I could imagine O’Neal at her computer thinking, “Let’s get this over so I can get to the good stuff.” A good writer will give you the exposition you need, but a great writer will do so in an engaging and expertly plotted fashion. In this respect, I found that O’Neal was only a good writer. However, after those first 100 pages this problem seemed to dissipate.

I also found that O’Neal was only a good writer in terms of the romance. It was sweet, but some of the lines the characters spouted seemed over the top and cliched at times. I still enjoyed it overall, though, it just had its iffy moments. I felt the same way about Sinda and her narration. Sinda starts off as a stubborn character, which initially frustrated. By the end of the novel I liked her a bit better, but she won’t stand out as beloved female protagonist.

My favorite part of this novel? Most definitely the magic. I enjoyed O’Neal’s descriptions of it, the magic itself and the entire world that encompassed it all. Well played. I also really liked Keirnan, because he was witty and sweet. I would mention another character I loved, but we’d be approaching spoiler territory.

I wanted to fall in love with The False Princess, and that didn’t quite happen. However, I definitely had fun reading it and getting to know O’Neal’s quirky but lovable characters. Lovers of magic and fantasy should definitely get a hold of this book.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Star Book Tours.


  1. Great Review! I haven't heard of this book, but it definitely sounds intriguing!!! Glad to hear that you enjoyed it.

  2. Oh, I really, really want to read this. But after reading your review...not so sure. I'll still read it, but whenever I can find one. Thanks for your honest review, Liz.

    Happy reading!
    Tina @ Book Couture

  3. It is interesting how you described the different aspects of this book. I have been wanting to read this one too as I love reading books that have interesting premises and I think False Princess qualifies. Thanks for the review I will be checking this one out too.



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