Review: THE FALSE PRINCESS by Eilis O’Neal

The False Princess 
Eilis O’Neal
319 pages
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release Date: January 25th, 2011
Source: ARC from Author
Rating:  LOVED

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.

The False Princess has made it onto my teensy-tiny list of favorite books. When I started it, I wasn’t sure what would happen. When I was nearly finished with it, I wasn’t sure what would happen. Nothing was predictable at all. It’s not one of those books with so many unpredictable turns, you just end up with a headache. No, this was perfectly planned and well-written, from start to finish. The False Princess is one debut you have to add to your list of books to read right away.

The story begins with Nalia, Princess of Thorvaldor, being summoned to a hall to meet her parents – the king and queen. They rarely call her to that particular hall, so Nalia is confused and very uncertain of what awaits. She stands before the throne and listens in horror as her life is thrown away. Nalia – or Sinda Azaway – is not the princess. Small bits of her appearance was altered by magic to make her look like the real princess, who the king and queen have hidden away because of a prophecy that claimed she would be murdered in court. Cast away with nothing but the clothes on her back and a small sack of money, Sinda has to live with an aunt who doesn’t even want her. She’s angry, distraught, and unsure of what her life means anymore. As a princess, she knew what her life meant, now, there isn’t any meaning.

Soon, her anger means more than just anger. She has magic. Inside her, bubbling uncontrollably, wanting to spew out whenever she throws a fit. The magic can be useful to her in many ways, if only she knew how to use it. Fate takes Sinda back to the city (close to the palace), where she learns a terrifying secret. One only she and her best friend knows, one that could change the fate of Thorvaldor forever.

The False Princess is full of suspense. The first fifty to sixty pages weren’t as gripping as the rest of the book, but as you will see, it was worth it. I love the setting – the land of Thorvaldor, the characters – Sinda, her best friend Kiernan, and the others, and the length of the book – it was just right. It never dragged on and on, nor did it just end abruptly. If you’re looking for a book that will send you off to a far away land and capture your heart, pick up The False Princess. Anyway, how can you not pick up a book with such a pretty cover?

Another awesome perk for those of you participating in challenges – The False Princess qualifies for the Debut Author Challenge and the YA Historical Fiction Challenge!



Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.



  1. Reply


    January 18, 2011

    Great review, thank you so much-I'll have to check it out now :)Also, the new look is beautiful!

    -Lulu the Bookworm

  2. Reply

    Sab H.

    January 19, 2011

    I cant wait to read this one! :) So glad you loved it.
    Can you send me the link to your post about the YA Historical Challenge? Thank you!
    I'm Including your entry in the Jan giveaway right now.
    Oh, and the link on the image in your sidebar isn't linking properly, just so you know.
    Thanks for participating!

  3. Reply


    January 19, 2011

    I read this over the weekend. Awesome book!

  4. Reply


    February 16, 2011

    I love books that aren't predictable. It just makes you keep on turning pages. =)

    Thank You for the review =)

    swttie at gmail dot com

  5. Reply


    January 22, 2013

    This sounds like it was a great and surprising read. I love those!! I'll have to check this one out.

  6. Reply

    Alyssa Susanna

    January 26, 2013

    I loved this book! I truly enjoyed it, but I read it a really long time ago! I have to re-read it. I am so glad that you like it! Great review!!!! :)