Monday, February 1, 2016

Book Review: The Shadow Throne

The Shadow Throne
Jennifer Nielsen
Scholastic Press, 2014
Source: purchased for my classroom library
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Jennifer Nielsen doesn't waste much time in the final installment of the Ascendance Trilogy.  The Shadow Throne begins not long after King Jaron has returned from the pirates and he is weakened, with a leg that hasn't quite healed.  War is coming at him and Carthya and it's coming now--from all directions. So in an attempt to get a hold of this war and bring it to end as swiftly as possible, Jaron asks his friends to spread out in different directions to help him halt the three countries closing in on Carthya.  And of course, despite his healing injuries, Jaron also goes off in search of Imogen who has been taken by King Vargan and the Avenian army.  This is just the start of Jaron's bad decisions.

Jennifer Nielsen gives little time for the reader to feel comfortable and hopeful for Jaron in this third book.  By now we're familiar with Jaron's impulsiveness and often poor decision making.  It's not long before you're groaning and hoping that at some point he will learn something--but also hoping that he won't because then we'd miss our Jaron.  The pace with which The Shadow Throne begins, continues throughout most of the book.  It does slow down for a significant amount of time when he captured (once again he finds himself in enemy hands).  This time, though, you're not quite sure if he'll make it out.

All of Jaron's friends have their shining moments and we even get to know a few of them better. Despite the war they are in, there are quite a few relaxed moments when the characters get the chance to make jokes and laugh with one another briefly.  It breaks up the intensity of the other parts when King Jaron is leading a war that doesn't look very hopeful for Carthya.

You also start to see how Jaron's understanding of his role as king evolves.  He's still coming up with ingenious ideas that should never work, but do.  He's still not allowing anyone to talk him out of rash decisions, but he's also taking his people into consideration more so than he has in the past.  Jaron sees what war really is and how it could affect his people and will do whatever he can to keep them safe and free.

I enjoyed the fast pace, the humor, and, of course, Jaron's character.  If you've read The False Prince and The Runaway King you definitely need to round it out with The Shadow Throne.  If you haven't read them, what are you waiting for?  Get on it!

The False Prince review
The Runaway King review

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  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this book! I haven't read any books in this series - but it's on my TBR! It's been on my TBR for agesss I really should get around to it soon... xD

    1. They were a lot of fun and they move really fast too. There's a lot of action and the main character is really likeable. I'd love to hear what you think when you read them.