Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Book Review: The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen

A satisfying ending to a well-written middle grade trilogy, I fully expect to see The Shadow Throne nominated for a Whitney Award for 2014.

This will be a short review simply because I want to avoid any spoilers that would lessen your enjoyment of the trilogy, but once again, Nielsen has admirably woven a suspenseful plot with interesting characters to create an engaging read.

Perhaps a touch more didactic than the previous books, The Shadow Throne sees Jaron at the absolute limit of his abilities and wits.  Imogen has been captured by Avenian forces as the ultimate bargaining chip to force Jaron's surrender, and Mendenwal, another neighboring kingdom, has joined forces with Avenia against Carthya. Just when the odds seem completely insurmountable, seeds planted in The False Prince and The Runaway King come to fruition and a particle of hope appears, but not before Jaron suffers an excruciating loss.

Jaron has definitely grown up.  More nuggets of wisdom are shared by him to others than by others to him this time around:
Nobody gives you respect in this life. You must take it, you must earn it, and then you must hold it sacred, because no matter how hard respect is to attain, it can be lost in an instant. (43)
Villains and plots and enemies are simple things to me. But friendships are complicated, and love is harder still. (165)
Over the past several months I have come to understand that love can only expand and allow any number into its circle. (316)
Non-stop action from the first page to the last, but with a strong moral underpinning, The Shadow Throne is a worthy ending to a worthy trilogy.  And definitely a candidate for reading aloud to my boys when we're through Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series.

The Shadow Throne
by Jennifer A. Nielsen
ISBN: 9780545284172
Buy it from Amazon here: (hardcoverebookaudiobook)
Find it at a local independent bookseller.
Look it up on Goodreads.
Check it out at your local library (find the nearest one here).

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