Monday, February 24, 2014

Review of THE SHADOW THRONE by Jennifer Nielsen

The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen is the third book in the Ascendance Trilogy about a mischievous boy named Jaron who becomes the reluctant king of Carthya after his parents and his brother are murdered. Jaron is a reckless boy who has caused his parents and his kingdom many problems, but the circumstances of his life force him to be more than just a boy who clowns around. The Runaway King, the second book in the series, shows Jaron giving much to prove that he’s capable of being a selfless and devoted leader of his people. The Shadow Throne forces Jaron to give much more to protect his people and especially those he loves from a war that surrounds his country from all sides. Betrayal that has been years in the making threatens to destroy Carthya and its new king.

I loved the first two books in the series. I tend to love the storytelling structure of trilogies, and I was highly looking forward to this book. Jennifer Nielsen has created a memorable character with Jaron. He’s reckless and immature, and yet he’s capable of being a great hero. I think the overall story was brilliantly set up in the other two books to lead us to this place of war where an arguably unqualified king must somehow figure out how to survive and keep the people of his kingdom safe. In a way, Jaron seems to be the only one who could possibly be he king Carthya needs because he’s the only person crazy enough to pull the kinds of stunts that somehow get him to where he needs to be. I was rooting for Jaron all the way through this last book, and Nielsen doesn’t make it easy on him. Death is a very real risk for him and his complete failure seems like an inevitability for much of the book.

I loved the exploration of the relationship between Jaron and Imogen because it shows us a side to Jaron that not even he realizes is there. The relationship that Jaron has with many of the other characters reveals Jaron to be a loyal friend and a trusted ally.

With The Ascendance Trilogy, Jennifer Nielsen has created both a memorable story and a memorable character. This is a great read, and I look forward to the stories Nielsen will write in the future.

Review copy provided by Scholastic Press

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Photo Credit: Scholastic Press

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