Prompt: Read one of the books listed below for your upcoming grade level and tell us how the adventures of the main character helped them grow as a person, and how it influenced the reader to grow as well.
How would a defiant, sarcastic troublemaker fare as King? In The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen, readers explore this idea.
When the royal court is in turmoil, one of the regents proposes a brave plan to stop the kingship from falling into the wrong hands. To do so, he wants to replace the lost prince.
A number of years ago, in the midst of several nations threatening hostile takeover, King Eckbert sent his younger son to study away from Carthya. However, pirates destroyed the ship, and presumably the prince, too. With no physical evidence of Prince Jaron’s death, the kingdom was left to speculate his whereabouts. Eventually, the kingdom Conner, one of nearly twenty regents hopes to fool the Royal Court with an imitation prince, and this is where Sage comes in.
Sage, along with his fellow orphans Tobias, Latamer, and Roden, are bought by Conner and taken to his estate. Conner informs that what they are doing is dangerous and could be considered mutiny. He allows them to back out, and offers them a ride back to their orphanage. Latamer opts to leave, and Conner orders his vigil to kill Latamer in front of the kids. They watch in horror, and Sage is too late to realize. The kids all learn a grave lesson: there’s no backing out. This lesson was far overdue for Sage, who had evaded responsibility many times in his life.
Over dinner, Conner laid out his treacherous plan, and Sage can only imagine the danger they will be facing down the road. Conner explains that over the next two weeks, he will provide them with classes where they will learn to be a prince.
Readers discover how much each of the characters has changed over the span of just two weeks. The orphans who scrounged for food and had little to no manners whatsoever transformed into passable gentlemen. Sage became less defiant, and started to conform to Conner’s wishes, something that would have been unimaginable just a few days earlier. His appearance changes as well, in order for him to look more like Prince Jaron, and less like Sage. He cuts and dyes his hair. After finding that Sage and Jaron have some uncanny similarities, he chooses Sage to be his prince.
As Sage is pushed closer to the position of King, readers notice his natural abilities to be a leader, as he is made the de facto leader of their own little group. He goes from the kid who only looked out for his own neck to putting others’ lives before his.
When Conner presents Sage, he reveals that he is, in fact, the true crown prince. He also reveals Conner to be a traitor, since he was the one who had nearly killed all of the Royal family. Sage, or King Jaron, takes his rightful place at the throne. Sage’s extreme development reaches from lost prince to starving orphan, and, finally, to King.