The False Prince, the first book in the Ascension Trilogy, is the story of Sage, a fourteen year old orphan who suddenly finds himself caught up in a clandestine plot of such magnitude, that to fail, will certainly cost him his life. Sage, along with three other boys, has been purchased from an orphanage by Bevin Conner, a nobleman of Carthya. Unfortunately for the boys, Conner is no wealthy benefactor. In fact, for his diabolical plan, he needs only one boy – the one who can pass himself off as the long-lost (and presumed dead) Prince Jaron – the only surviving member of the Carthyan royal family.
Sage has perfected life as a loner and a survivor. Now he is being forced into “prince lessons” with two rival boys. On Conner’s luxurious estate, Sage and his rivals undergo reading, sword fighting, horseback riding, and manners lessons. In the end, only one boy will be chosen to be presented at court as Prince Jaron. To succeed and be chosen as the False Prince will mean a life Sage has never wanted and possibly one as Conner’s puppet. To fail will certainly mean death.
The False Prince is an exciting novel with twists and turns I did not see coming. I chose it because, unlike all the paranormal romance novels lining bookstore and library shelves, I thought this book might appeal to boys. I was not wrong. I’m thrilled to have a book I can recommend to the guys in my English class.
Yes, some mild. But nothing too disturbing. I think kids from upper elementary age through high school would enjoy this book.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
~ What is true freedom?
~ Sage prefers life as an orphan – a life that is sometimes very very difficult. Why do you think this is?
~ Which of Sage’s rival do you like best the most? The honest but brutally ambitious Roden or the submissive and sneaky Tobias?
~ Does life as a royal sound like fun, or do you think the cost (high expectations, scheming noblemen, enemy nations, etc.) is too high a price to pay for that level of fame, wealth and power?
Cryptid Hunters is another great read by author Roland Smith. Since being a school teacher tires me out by the end of the day, I tend to choose some books for easy reading. This book is full of action and adventure, much like Smiths’ other books.
Grace and Marty, thirteen-year-old twins are sent away to live with their uncle Wolfe when their parents are not found after their airplane crashes. Besides getting to know their uncle, the twins find out that he is very interested in cryptozoology, the study of animals, such as the Sasquatch, the Loch Ness monster, and the Mokelembembe, whose existence have not yet been proven scientifically. Wolfe sets up an expedition to the Congo in central Africa to find what is believed to be the last remaining Mokelembembe, a small dinosaur slightly larger than an elephant. He is in a race against time since his enemy in the scientific field, Dr. Noah Blackwood, is also setting up an expedition.
Grace and Marty try to convince Uncle Wolfe to take them on the expedition, but he refuses. Grace really wants to go on the expedition since she experiences nightmares and thinks they are connected to somewhere in the Congo. The twins end up in the Congo, but the way they get there is quite “air”xilirating. Along the way, Marty and Grace find out the truth about their family and Uncle Wolfe.
There was no inappropriate language in this book.
The most violence that occurs is some tranquilizer darts being shot at some of the villains and a fire being set to destroy the carcass of a dinosaur.
The most supernatural thing in this book is the mentions of the cryptids and the hunt for the Mokelembembe. In my opinion, these are more mythical, but possibly real creatures truly not yet discovered.
MORE GREAT READS FROM ROLAND SMITH (these books are wonderful for upper elementary and middle school students who like fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat adventure)
Elephant Run Peak I.Q. Book One: Independence Hall Storm Runners
Storm Runners: The Surge
Review by John McClellan (Middle school science teacher, father of three boys)