Book ReviewThe Shadow Throne

Reviewer's Rating: 
I truly enjoyed this book...and yet, it failed to rock my world because (see explanation in review).
Scholastic Press, 2014

BOOK THREE: ASCENDANCE TRILOGY.  War has come to Carthya.  It knocks at every door and window in teh land.  And when Jaron learns that King Bargan of Avenia has kidnapped Imogen in a plot to bring Carthya to its knees, Jaron knows it is up to him to embark on a daring rescue mission.  But everything that can go wrong does.

His friends are flung far and wide across Carthya and its neighboring lands.  In a last-ditch effort to stave off what looks to be a devastating loss for the kingdom, Jaron undertakes what make be his last journey to save everyone he loves.  But even with his lightning-quick wit, Jaron cannot forestall the terrible danger that descends on him and his country.  Along the way, will be lose what matters most?  And in the end, who will sit on Carthya's throne?

Sometimes in a book you will have a mixed cast of characters that you love, or a certain relationship is written so well you read to see where they go and what happens with the people you hope always stay friends.  The Shadow Throne is neither of these things to me.  It is all Jaron.  This one, singular character has pulled me through the entire trilogy.  Though there is a whole stage of players, the spotlight is firmly hooked to our one main guy who entertains, perseveres and as usual, triumphs.

I loved the intensity of this book and the gripping, non-stop action.  Jaron, as I mentioned above, is a star player who captivates us with his smarmy wit, his bravado in the face of certain failure and his daring escapades.  It's fun to read and see what crazy scheme Jaron will think of next and how the pieces of his plans are slowly revealed to us until we see the complete picture of his strategies.

Where this book fails to achieve a perfect rating is a combination of minor issues.  Number one - repetition.  The beautiful thing about book one, The False Prince, was the surprise ending.  In book two, The Runaway King, Jennifer uses the tense situation to let Jaron's plans become...a surprise ending.  Now in the final installment, The Shadow Throne, Jennifer repeats that pattern to "surprise" readers again.  After using this technique so well in book one, it's a very hard thing to surprise readers again quite so cleverly.  This book tried but failed to fool me on a few tricks and that made the premise feel tired to me.  The second issue I had with The Shadow Throne is my own pet peeve.  I'm not big on war books and this was all about war.  If not for Jaron I wouldn't have even tried to read this novel based on the synopsis.  Jennifer does a good job writing mid-grade level war without any graphic descriptions but it's not my cup of tea any day of the week.

As much as I enjoyed Jaron, I am glad this series is done so Jennifer can branch out in a fresh way.  I very much look forward to who and where her pen takes us next!

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