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The Shadow Throne (The Ascendance Trilogy, Book 3): Book 3 of The Ascendance Trilogy Hardcover – February 25, 2014
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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Overall, I think this book just exhausted me. Perhaps the war was just too big of a plot element. For each of the previous books, the plot was heading towards a single location, a big event. Sure, there were complications and detours along the road, and, sure, Jaron had smaller sleights of hand beyond his big master plan, but you still knew where that final master plan would land him, if not the outcome or trick itself.
In TRK, I enjoyed watching Jaron's evolution into becoming the king. Although he spells it out here, it was shown so well. And of course, in TFP, it was all about Jaron's evolution to accepting himself as the prince. But what was his evolution in this book?
Then of course, there's the bigger "Gotcha" pulled on the readers AND Jaron, which I didn't appreciate so much. Sure, I like a HEA ending, but getting a romantic one out of this book seemed a little deus ex machina and questionable considering the Avenians' motivations. Some other characters' motives also seem a little murky. Particularly, I couldn't trace Conner's motives.
Still, it's always fun to follow Jaron around, and the relationships he has with the other characters are touching. Tobias and Amarinda was a nice touch, and it's kind of cute how clueless Jaron is about all things romantic. And reading along, it is kind of nice to trust in him, that there's some plan, something that will eventually get him out of this and anticipating what it will be.
Recommended for fans of: the trilogy who want to see how it will end, battles, never-ending sleights of hand, coincidences, Sage/Jaron's voice, clever MCs who can also be clueless
Starting where "The Runaway King" left off, I was surprised to see that the book would be fast paced and full of surprises.
At times, the book was somewhat predictable, and Jaron continued to put himself in unnecessary danger. My assessment of Jaron being a King who would never put his country truly first was misguided, and although I believe his penchant for the woman he loves could indeed have been dangerous, It wasn't as bad.
The book has tremendous growth for characters, good strategy on the part of Carthya, and reputable endings. However, I do feel that the climax was rushed, and left me wanting a little bit more, considering all we've been through. At least some land exchange so that Carthya would no longer be landlocked would have been good. Perhaps I read too much into political situations.
All in all, A sound book, a fitting ending, and a wonderful conclusion to King Jaron and his story.
This is not a fantasy story in that there are no supernatural, dragons and such. But it is a make believe land where it takes place with horses and knights and lots of swordplay. An amazing young prince who has made fast friends with some unlikely other boys – or young men by the time this part of the story is told. Is it a romance? It is to a degree from the serving girl who Jaron loves but dares not admit it to the princess he has been betrothed to since his brother was killed and he, as prince, stepped into the agreement. Both the serving girl and the princess are also strong and wonderful players in the story. Jaron’s relationship with his Captain is complicated and goes back to the first book. They have been bitter enemies and good friends. As Jaron loved them all, so did I as the reader.
The villain in this story weaves in and out of the turmoil as he is in prison for most of the second and third book. I always felt he would play a large part somewhere, and sure enough. But there are more evil men here including a king who is determined to take over not only Jaron’s people but all else too.
Some of this book was not as fun to read for me as the other two. I worried too much. There is cruelty and my hero who never runs and never gives up, appeared to have reached the end of his will to fight any more. But the very traits that made me love him in the first place were always there underneath. There were things going on in this battle to save his throne and his people that I wondered about. The author lets us into Jaron’s mind and thoughts, but just enough and not enough to see what he really intended to happen. Sometimes I guessed and sometimes I was totally surprised at the minor miracles he pulled out. But so was Jaron which made it even a better read. Really good writing.
This is YA and would be suitable to all ages. I expect a boy would enjoy this one more than a lot of the YA stories that are based around the girl being the main character that the reader follows. This book is told in the first person which works perfectly. Jaron is clever and has a sense of humor which definitely comes across.
Wonderful trilogy and I will re-read it. I think it will be a fun re-read because now I know some of the things Jaron was planning that he did not let me know when he was telling the story!