Review of The Shadow Throne, by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The Shadow Throne

by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Scholastic Press, New York, 2014. 317 pages.
Starred Review

This is Book Three of The Ascendance Trilogy, and brings events to a satisfying conclusion. Yes, you should read The False Prince and The Runaway King first to properly enjoy this book.

War has come to Carthya. And rather than only Avenia advancing against young King Jaron, they have persuaded Mendenwal and Gelyn to fight with them. Carthya is surrounded. Worse yet to Jaron, Imogen, whom he sent away for her own safety, has been kidnapped by Avenia.

Jaron has several goals, and many of them depend on misdirection. He hopes to fight the armies separately. Amarinda needs to get to her home country to ask for their help. And above all, he wants to rescue Imogen, though Mott persuades him that her kidnapping was a trap to capture Jaron. Jaron does have plans, which have repercussions all the way up to the end of the book, but the reader gets the impression that his plans, while good, depend much upon luck as well. Still, there are some nice twists and turns to the story. I confess, at one point I peeked at the end of the book to make sure about something that had apparently happened. I’ll simply say that things look terribly grim at several points, but there is a nicely satisfying ending. And how events get to that point makes an exciting story.

The book is a little episodic. Jaron deals with one threat, then another different threat, then another different threat, and so on. This meant I took a little longer to read it than most books I like this much, because it was possible to put the book down (until the last third or so).

However, this was a grand finish to an exciting and clever series. I didn’t reread Books One and Two before I started this one, but that’s all the more reason to reread the entire series, which I am absolutely sure I will want to do some day soon.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

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