Gwen & Kate's Library

Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.

Gwen’s Thoughts on The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal

I love this book. It is such a fun story, with sweet romance, conspiracies, magic, mysteries, royalty and clever Cinderella aspects.


Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Mystery

Rating: 4.5


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 love this book. It is such a fun story, with sweet romance, conspiracies, magic, mysteries, royalty and clever Cinderella aspects. The plot is never boring because Sinda is constantly thrown new surprises and changes to her life that she must learn to cope with. It all begins with her being kicked out of the royal palace she has considered home for all of her sixteen years to make way for the real princess, Nalia. She is shocked, but acts surprisingly well for someone whose life was just ruined, and goes to live with her only relative in a remote village where she doesn’t fit in. Then her magical powers reveal themselves and she moves back to the royal city to find a magical education, which proves harder to find for a poor ex-princess than she expected. However, while dealing with her own problems, she discovers that all is not well at the palace, and she decides saving the kingdom from a threatening conspiracy could prove once and for all that she is worth something other than being a disposable replacement princess.

What I didn’t like so much about this book is how unlikely it is that one sixteen-year-old girl could live through everything Sinda suffers through and not have a tantrum or two. She acted so calm and levelheaded sometimes I found it hard to connect with her and believe her feelings were real. In addition, the language was very simple and easy for a typical young adult book, but too old for a typical middle grade book. I’d recommend it for ages 10-14, or young adult readers looking for a quick, easy, action and adventure filled fantasy novel.

One of my favorite parts of this book was a wonderful anti-cliché:

“I awoke the next morning knowing exactly where I was. No moment of confusion, no thought that I was still in my bed in the palace. Even before I opened my eyes, I knew what had happened and where I was.”

I would recommend this book for lovers of fantasy, medieval royalty, and fairy tale retellings such as The Goose Girl, Ella Enchanted, and Princess of the Midnight Ball, and the writing style of Julie Berry, author of The Amaranth Enchantment and Secondhand Charm.


2 comments on “Gwen’s Thoughts on The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal

  1. Pingback: Gwen’s Resources: Royalty Explained | Gwen & Kate's Library

  2. Pingback: Book Review: “The False Princess” | The Cheap Reader

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This entry was posted on November 3, 2013 by in Author: Gwen, Review, Young Adult and tagged , .
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