Eilis O’Neal: The False Princess

The False Princess
by Eilis O’Neal
(fantasy, YA)

This YA fantasy is a really enjoyable book. I don’t remember how I heard about it (probably Tez Miller, who is my biggest source for new authors), but I am so glad my library had it and I could pick it up and read it. I’ll probably be buying at least one copy of this book for a gift, that’s how much I liked it.

I can’t go into too much detail about the plot without giving away spoilers, but I can discuss the basic beginning part. (It’s on the back cover to start with.) The main character starts the book thinking she is the princess and heir to the throne. Within the first few pages of the book, she finds out that she is NOT the princess, but instead a commoner who was taken from her family to be a stand-in for the princess. There was a prophecy which said the princess had a high chance of being murdered before her 16th birthday, and the real princess was hidden away for her own safety. Well. Now the princess (both real and fake) is over 16, and the fake-princess-commoner is sent off to live with an aunt she doesn’t know, and who thought she was dead.

Now, I really enjoy fairy tale retellings, and at first glance this looked like it was a story similar to “Sleeping Beauty”, since the true princess was hidden to protect her from harm. However, while I could easily believe that it was inspired by the classic fairy tale, that’s where the similarity ends. Once our false princess arrives at her new home, the real fun begins.

I believe this was a first novel for Ms. O’Neal, and I hope it’s not her last. I really enjoyed the read, and the writing style was good quality as well. In some respects (such as age of protagonist) this was a definite YA book, but it managed to cross over and be enjoyable for me (aka NOT a young adult) as well.


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