The Shadow Throne (The Ascendance Trilogy #3)

by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Conditional Recommendation: The boy king must, against all odds, use all his cleverness and ability to save his kingdom from the three nations who wage war against him.

Age: Young Adult
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy, Book Three
Pages: 317
Published: 2014

Genre: Adventure

*This review may contain spoilers if you haven’t read the previous books in the series:

Book Two: The Runaway King

What can I say that I haven’t said already? This whole series has been a wild ride! It has the pleasure of a roller coaster and this last installment is no exception. None of the books in this series can compete with the big plot twist in the first book, The False Prince, but they have some satisfying plot twists of their own and the ones in this last book make it another page-turner and a satisfactory conclusion to the trilogy.


King Jaron faces war with three nations and the odds that Carthya will prevail are slim to impossible. But those are the odds the reckless and clever king does best with and he faces the challenge head on. The casualties increase, the enemies are invading his land, and he is captured by the Avenian king and forced to divulge secrets of his nation. Jaron’s plans and games are barely in place and yet the stakes are very high: if he dies, his country will fall to a cruel king.

Well-Conceived Plot

I listened to this whole series on audio book and, again, I could not listen to it fast enough. This book has so many twists that I was on the edge of my seat anticipating the next twist that would get Jaron out of one impossible situation after another. Roller. Coaster. Nielsen continues to do a great job of keeping the reader hooked and grasping for more information, yet never revealing exactly how it will work out until the best possible moment. She has mastered suspense!

Memorable Characters

I loved Nielsen’s consistency throughout the series as all of the characters remain true to their personalities as you came to know them in the very first book. King Jaron’s character is entirely captivating—he is the most action-driven character I may have ever read. I haven’t read another character (not counting Dumbledore) who devises plans and sets them into motion with such foresight. In this book, each of the characters come into their own—Tobias and Roden grow into the roles Jaron picked out for them, and Jaron ascends once more to his throne with even more loyalty and security than he ever has before.

A Satisfying Ending

True to form, the ending was highly suspenseful and all you could hope for in an adventure tale.

Recommendation Note

This book is conditional for scenes of violence and war, same as the first two books in the trilogy.

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