Book Review: The Shadow Throne
By Jennifer A. Nielsen
War has come to Carthya. It knocks at every door and window in the land. And when Jaron learns that King Vargan 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 neighbouring lands. In a last-ditch effort to stave off what looks to be a devastating loss for the kingdom, Jaron undertakes what may be his last journey to save everything and 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 he lose what matters most? And in the end, who will sit on Carthya’s throne?
Rousing and affecting, Jaron’s adventures have thrilled and moved readers in The False Prince and The Runaway King. Journey once again with the Ascendant King of Carthya, as New York Times bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen brings his story to a stunning conclusion with The Shadow Throne.
(Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
The Shadow Throne was my least favorite in the series, but I believe most people in the reading audience will want to finish the series. The action is fast paced and will keep most readers turning pages quickly. There will be an audible gasp from readers at Imogen’s dilemma.
The main problems include, the romance, Jaron’s level of maturity and the implausibility of the mechanics of war. I was initially quite shocked that Imogene would face such a predicament in a tween series, but it was resolved as I expected. In ways, I would have preferred a complication to the romance. (Note: I’m trying not to spoil Imogene’s fate, but it will make sense when you read the book.) Imogene is a lackluster character and I have never felt a connection between her and Jaron. I didn’t connect with the other romance either between Jaron’s friend and the future queen. I guess we can be grateful that it isn’t a love triangle!
Jaron makes complicated plans, has to make heart-breaking decisions and has to manage (manipulate) his peers and elders. The positions Jaron is put in seem impossible for a 15 year old to navigate. I would have found it more believable if he had been at least 18. I still like Jaron and found moments when I would chuckle over the crazy things he says. His snark is one of the big pluses in the series.
The plans to circumvent war were convoluted and implausible. I’m not an expert in the logistics of conducting a battle, which is why I’m emphasizing that the plans should make sense to a novice. Some of the fun in an adventure story is overcoming impossible odds, but it still needs to be logical. Partly, the implausibility in plot came from every loose end being tied up. I like a satisfying conclusion, but with a little ambiguity like real life.
My favorite book in the series was the first, The False Prince. This is a perfect series for children from about age 11-14 because Jaron is snarky, the excitement and clean content.
- the Mother
If you liked this series try The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner and A Cast of Stones by Patrick W Carr.