Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen [Review]

The Shadow Throne (The Ascendance Trilogy, #3)4.5 out of 5 Robots!
  


The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy #3
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release: February 25, 2014
Hardcover: 336 Pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press
My Copy: Purchased
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:

One war.
Too many deadly battles.
Can a king save his kingdom, when his own survival seems unlikely?


War has come to Carthya. It knocks at every door and window in the land. And when Jaron learns that King Vargan of Avenia has kidnapped Imogen in a plot to bring Carthya to its knees, Jaron knows it is up to him to embark on a daring rescue mission. But everything that can go wrong does.

His friends are flung far and wide across Carthya and its neighbouring lands. In a last-ditch effort to stave off what looks to be a devastating loss for the kingdom, Jaron undertakes what may be his last journey to save everything and everyone he loves. But even with his lightning-quick wit, Jaron cannot forestall the terrible danger that descends on him and his country. Along the way, will he lose what matters most? And in the end, who will sit on Carthya's throne?

Rousing and affecting, Jaron's adventures have thrilled and moved readers in The False Prince and The Runaway King. Journey once again with the Ascendant King of Carthya, as New York Times bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen brings his story to a stunning conclusion with The Shadow Throne
(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
The False Prince was one of my favorite books I've read in the last couple years.  It really reminded me of another favorite, The Thief.  Both star a sarcastic, yet extremely clever protagonist who is a lot more than they seem at first.  Jaron, the Ascendance Trilogy narrator, is really what brings me back to this series.

Now the King of Carthya, Jaron has the weight of the world on his shoulders.  He has lost his family and is now sitting on a throne he never thought he'd have.  He is very young and untested.  His enemies are growing in numbers and his own people don't trust him.  But he is still clever, quick-witted, calculating, impulsive and rash.  He is a really fun character and narrator. This last book really stacks the odds against Jaron to the point where I was could not believe he would ever get out of it.  But Jaron is always one step ahead of everyone and a lot of the fun of this series is how he gets himself out of sticky situations.

If I am to be honest, my love for the first book has carried me through this series.  Unfortunately, neither the second or third book can really capture the same wonder of the first.  But I would have to give out some major spoilers to explain why that is.  But I will liken it to knowing how a magic trick is done.  It is still fascinating to know how the illusion takes place, but it loses some of its enchantment.  By now we know not to trust what Jaron is telling us because he is a liar and a master of redirection and manipulation.  And Nielsen knows we know and starts to let us in to some of Jaron's thoughts.  But at the same time, the events also seem redundant.  Jaron deals with his new problems much the same way he dealt with his past problems.  It usually involves trickery and Jaron be held captive.  I know this seems like I didn't like The Shadow Throne and that's not the case at all.  Really, these are small complaints.  Nielsen still has a great easy writing style that pulls the reader in. I ripped through this book in no time at all.

Overall, I think this is a great series.  It does read a little younger than most YA, but I don't think that should deter anyone.  

Other books in this series in the order that they should be read:
1. The False Prince
2. The Runaway King
3. The Shadow Throne

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