Review: The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Title: The Shadow Throne
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy
Rating: ★★★★★

The Shadow Throne is the conclusion to a fantastic series. Jaron has spent the last two novels growing from the orphan thief Sage into the king his country needs. Everything about it was wonderful. My heart was in knots the entire book, and after I finished, I had to take a few moments to catch my breath. That’s the best feeling to have after finishing a book.

War has come to Carthya. From every direction, they are under attack. If that wasn’t bad enough, Avenia has kidnapped Imogen, the girl Jaron loves. They know she is his weakness and plan on using her to bring Jaron down. Jaron knows there is no easy path to take. Every choice he makes puts him in danger, but he makes the best choices he can. His wit and quick thinking have been able to save him in the past, but he’s not sure they will be enough to save his kingdom.

I have loved Jaron’s growth across all three novels. To see him come from the hurting, combative, angry boy he was in The False Prince to the boy trying to fill a role he was never meant to play in The Runaway King and now the king trying to save his country and the people he loves. He has grown in so many ways, maturing and finding out who he is as a ruler. He learns to accept friendship and love, something he struggled with before. He sacrifices his strongest desires in order to keep his country safe. He still has his flaws, but he learns how to make them work for the greater good.

The Shadow Throne was the most heart wrenching novel for me to read. I was on the edge of my seat, chewing my fingernails. I couldn’t see how things were going to work out and I couldn’t stop reading until I knew. Nielsen always seems to write only as much as needed before surprising the characters and the readers a few paragraphs or pages later. I love this and all the little surprises I had while reading. Jaron remains a thief, even as king, in how cunning he is. His personality and wits are written on every page.

The Shadow Throne is the perfect ending to this series. It took my emotions on a roller coaster ride. I felt everything while reading this book and wasn’t prepared for it to end. But it did and I couldn’t be happier with it. This is the ending Jaron deserved and I’m so happy he got it. The Shadow Throne is a must read book of a must read series.

If you’d like to purchase The Shadow Throne, you can do so here:
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Thank you to NetGalley and Scholastic for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Title: The Runaway King
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy
Rating: ★★★★

I have been anxious to read this book from the second I finished The False Prince. After the amazing story told in the first novel, I couldn’t wait to see what happens next for Jaron. Nielsen did not disappoint.

Jaron has just taken the throne, but his regents only know him as the reckless child always causing problems. They aren’t sure if he can lead a country. After an assassination attempt, the regents are even more convinced that the best way to keep the country safe is to appoint a steward until Jaron can lead. Jaron has a different idea about how he can save his country, one that takes him right into danger.

I’m not sure word I’d use to describe Jaron. He’s clever and smart, but not always in the perfect moment. He’s sarcastic and likes to act as though nothing gets to him. In reality, he uses his humor to keep people at a safe distance. He’s still hurt by what his family did to him, and if his only family could do that, what reason does he have to trust everyone else? He is a fascinating character and I’m so glad we have another book to spend with him.

The secondary characters are just as fantastic in this novel. They play major roles, even if they aren’t the main character. Jaron needs them; he wouldn’t be able to find success without them. Jaron might take the lead, but he’s nothing without his help.

The plot of this novel was perfect. It didn’t feel like one of those, “I have to sacrifice myself for the greater good” plots. Jaron is throwing himself to the wolves, but he’s doing it with the intention of fighting until he can’t fight anymore. And even at that point, the lowest of low, he will find a way to keep going, There’s eve a little romance thrown in there for good measure.

The Runaway King is a superb sequel that does not disappoint. It’s just as wonderful as the first. The action is there and now the stakes are even bigger. It was only Jaron’s life on the line in the first book, now the lives of those he cares about and his country are at risk. He knows what happens if he fails. Nielsen has another amazing novel and I can’t wait to see what she does in the last installment.

If you’d like to read The Runaway King, you can purchase it here:
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Review: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Title: The False Prince
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy
Rating: ★★★★★

In all honesty, I was fully prepared to be underwhelmed by this story. It seemed a little too good to be true, with an amazing sounding plot and good reviews. Sometimes I get a little cynical and don’t trust what I see. For The False Prince, I think this was a good thing. It let me be wowed and amazing with how quickly I fell in love with Sage and the story.

Sage is an orphan when he is bought and dropped into the middle of a plot to place an impostor prince on the throne. Four years after the death of Prince Jaron, Connor selects four boys he plans on training to be the prince, then selecting one to be the prince. Sage wants nothing to do with this, preferring his life on the streets to being a pawn in someone else’s game.

There is a touch of romance in this story, however it’s more of a promise of more. The main focus on this story is setting Sage up for the future events and demonstrating how quick and clever he his after his life on the streets and in orphanages. That said I’m very interested in seeing how things play out in Sage’s love life after reading just the little pieces in this novel.

I don’t think I realized how much I was enjoying this book until it seemingly hit me in the face. I was going along, having a nice time reading when it suddenly dawned on me just how much I was loving it. I didn’t want to read another word because that was one word closer to the end. Of course, by that time I couldn’t stop reading. I’m pretty sure I had a semi-permanent cheesy grin on my face for the last fourth of the novel.

I will say I guessed the surprise, but even so, it was wonderful to see how things actually played out. It is obvious Nielsen spent time fleshing this story out and making sure each little detail fell perfectly into place. I liked that she didn’t describe each little thing Sage did, because when Sage whipped out a coin he had stolen or revealed the other mischief he had been up to I was entertained, happy, and wowed.

The False Prince lived up to every expectation I had going in and continuously surpassed any ideas I had about the novel. It has drama and family and a bit of romance. Every little piece of the story was wonderful and I can’t think of anything I’d want different. I can’t wait to get through what’s left of my to-be-read pile and read what comes next.

If The False Prince sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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