Accustomed to a life in which he must steal to survive, orphan, Sage, is surprised when a mysterious nobleman, Conner, buys him from his orphanage. Even more surprising is that Conner bought three other orphans, all of whom must compete for the prize of a lifetime – the crown of the kingdom of Carthya. Conner’s plan is to use one of his orphans to pose as the believed dead son of Carthya’s king – a son who would inherit the throne. Now Sage finds himself pitted against three other boys, playing a deadly game that ends either on the throne, or in the grave.
I picked this one up because of how well this series has taken off. As popular as it is, though, I was disappointed. I liked the setting (a medieval fantasy without magic), the characters, and the plot set up, but the plot “twist” was a major letdown. I was not surprised at all, and was a little upset that the twist event was what the whole book built up to. That said, once I got over my twist hate, the ending was entertaining and well done. It certainly made me curious as to what happened next. In fact, the ending is what pushed this book to three stars instead of two and a half (which is what I was leaning towards). Pick it up and see if you agree!
Oh! And this one is in development to become a movie! Keep an eye out for it!
**YALSA Best Books for Teens, 2013
For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.