[Review] The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal

Publisher: EgmontUSA

Pages: 319 (Hardcover)

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.


Let me tell you what makes The False Princess great. 

Number one, it’s the concept – a mixture of both fairy tale and historical fiction. The book is about Nalia who is told that she is actually not a princess. She’s a decoy to protect the real princess. Nalia’s original name is revealed to be Sinda. She’s kicked out of the castle on the same day the real princess comes back, goes to live with her bitter, scornful, newfound aunt and lives a simple life full of hard work. On the bright side, there she discovers that she has magic. Then she goes to Vivaskari – I think it’s a big city near the castle. I don’t really understand – to train her magic and BOOM. More dark secrets are revealed. Journey awaits her. You can say that Sinda’s is the kingdom last hope against evil.

As for number two is the plot. It’s fast-paced, full of mysteries and secrets secrets secrets. Number three, the romance is nicely done. I thought there was a love triangle between Sinda, Kiernan and Tyr, but I was wrong. I loved how Sinda reacts after she knows the truth behind Tyr’s kindness.

There are also things that I didn’t like in The False Princess. The main character, though mostly likeable, she could be annoying too. Sometimes she is too selfish and self-centered that she doesn’t care for the other’s safety. She actually has a point for doing that but I just didn’t think it’s the right action. While for Kiernan, I liked the way he becomes Sinda’s pillar of support even though they occasionally fights. And while reading this, somehow I got confused and had to re-read a few pages just to get a better grasp of the story.

Lately, I’ve been reading more English books and I usually don’t mind reading translation books. Probably the reason behind my confusion is because I read the book in Indonesian translation. Well, maybe I already got accustomed to reading English. Since I read the translation, there’s no way I could comment the author’s writing properly.

Overall, The False Princess is a good read with fairy-tale-ish and historical-fiction-ish elements. If you’re a fan of YA historical fiction, then maybe you’ll like it better than I did.

3 Chocolate Cakes!

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