Parents' Guide to

The False Prince: The Ascendance Trilogy, Book 1

By Sally Engelfried, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Page-turning adventure of false identity and intrigue.

The False Prince: The Ascendance Trilogy, Book 1 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 7 parent reviews

age 12+


As already mentioned, there is a murder in the beginning of the book. That stopped my son from wanting to read it and I took the book to see what it was about. There is a difference between action and danger for a teenage boy and the cold hearted cruelty of the murder of a child (a sick orphan, at that). Orphans are rounded up and one is shot to show the others what happens if they don't obey. I personally would not give this to my 10 year old to read on his own. Who likes to read that? I am not concerned with the sword fights and there are beatings that are part of the danger of the book, but the murder scene was very heavy and without knowing where the book leads from there, it can be enough to not want to keep reading the book. That said, my son asked me to look at the book for him because he was not comfortable reading it. I wanted to know if this kind of violence continued and whether the author would bring justice and not leave a hazy view of right and wrong. There is a later scene where someone is cut with a knife. And punches, kicks, and sword fights. There are several places that leave you wondering whether the villain is a true villain since he claims that his actions are necessary for the good of the country. He justifies himself. And his "servants" are also justified in carrying out his orders because they are loyal to him. One loyal enough to murder and the other stops just short of murder but still stands by his master's actions and will still beat kids up for him....hmmm... Toward the end there does become more of a distinction between who is right and who is not and the main character does begin to show more concern for doing what is right against his own wishes. Since you are wanting to know about the book, I will say there is justice in the end. After reading it myself I think I can return it to my son so he can compete the reading, if he chooses. Without the murder scene, or perhaps if was done differently, I wouldn't have a problem at all. But be aware of the age of your kids and what they are sensitive to. Adults and older, or less sensitive kids would enjoy very much as it is a kind of prince and pauper/man in the iron mask type story, but original enough that you don't feel bored and told in a way that makes you want to know if you are right about the characters or not. First person narrative also adds a lot of humor, and suspense.

This title has:

Too much violence
2 people found this helpful.
age 9+

Great young adult novel

Thrilling page turner, suitable for mature 9-year-olds and 10+. There is some violence, a boy getting shot with an arrow, injuries during sword fights, and a whipping scene, but not overly gory or graphic.

This title has:

Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (7):
Kids say (51):

The action in this page-turner doesn't let up from the moment Sage is caught running from pursuers on the first page after stealing a roast to feed his fellow orphans. His sarcastic humor and determination to stay true to himself, even at a risk to his own safety, make him a likable character whom readers will root for.

That said, there are some minor irritations for experienced fantasy readers. For example, Sage is a narrator who keeps things to himself -- he tells us he explores the castle at night, but he doesn't tell us what he finds until the big reveal at the end. And some language rather jarringly takes us out of the medieval setting (the repeated use of the 20th-century word "paranoid," for example). But these are minor quibbles in a complex and interesting story with well-developed characters.

Book Details

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