Genre: adventure fiction, fantasy fiction
Age range: 12 and up
Rating: five out of five stars
Reviewed by Maggie
Hello, Readers!!!!! Man, I was just realizing it has been AGES since TWN has done a review on a book. So, I’m here today with a review. Before continuing please note there will be some spoilers, but I have it marked off in a specific section. The book I’m reviewing today is the fourth book in the Ascendance Series by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Never heard/read of this series before? Not a problem. Check out Katherine’s spoiler-free review on the first three books of the Ascendance Series here.
Aaaannnndddd onto the REVIEW!!!!!!
“The answer rarely includes the word ‘great,’ unless the word to follow is ‘fool,’ though I have also heard ‘disappointment,’ ‘frustration,’ and ‘chance that he’ll get us all killed.'”
Okay, where to begin? May I just add I felt like doing a happy dance after finishing the book. I felt like we got to understand more about the character, Sage, and got to see a side of him we rarely do. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t have his sass. Let me tell you, he really is worse than ever!!! The book drew us right back into Sage’s world and we got to see many familiar faces. It takes place in the year gap at the end of the Shadow Throne. Everything we’ve wanted to know is FINALLY told!!! *eekk* Also, I feel like we should totally admire how, though it’d been years after The Shadow Throne’s release, it didn’t feel like it one bit. Nielsen picks up right where she left off, not letting fans of Carthya and the amazing Sage down. And the prologue, this one started us off with, was just PERFECT for our return to Carthya.
Read the summary from Goodreads here. (If you haven’t read THE SHADOW THRONE do not read the summary for spoilers.)
There was a lot of things I liked and appreciated in this book. I loved how the characters remained as their amazing selves. Another cool thing in this book was that we got to see some of the countries on the other side of the Eranbole Sea. (Well, it was more like one and a mention of another…)
Nielsen has filled her thrilling return with action, suspense, twists you never see coming, and all topped with Sage’s unforgettable sassy nature. He never fails to let us down, throwing himself into more trouble and situations with higher stakes. Nielsen is able to keep raising that bar. And then there is Sage’s plans that he never even lets the readers in on. You’ve gotta love him sometimes. Okay, actually, ALL THE TIME, but that’s probably the fangirl in me talking. 😉
********note the following paragraphs contains spoilers from The Captive Kingdom if you haven’t read it yet, just scroll to the bottom of this post***********
Okay, I don’t normally add this section in, but I wanted to share more thoughts on the book. If you haven’t read it, continue scrolling down until we leave the spoiler zone.
So, I have some mixed feelings. I am a die-hard Ascendance Series fan and this one didn’t disappoint me in what I expected, but let’s just say, I might’ve wanted more?
First off I NEEDED more Mott. Seriously, he’s like one of my favorite characters, and I wanted to see more of him. It was JUST NOT ENOUGH. (Does anyone understand my dilemma?)
And I needed way more Amarinda than we got. She’s always been one of my favorite female characters. I mean we only saw her a couple of times at the end and a few times in the beginning. Most of the time everyone’s just concerned for her life.
Plus we didn’t get to see Harlowe AT ALL!!!! :,( That was a hard fact to accept. There was just so many new characters (which I am NOT complaining about because they were very interesting) and I guess they shoved some of the old cast a little out of the way. (Yeah, most of the things I didn’t like was just not seeing my peeps more, if you know what I mean.)
The whole twist with Darius being an adopted brother was really hard to choke down. Especially that his dad is the one who tried to kill Jaron (in the spoiler zone, we call him Jaron) all those years ago. Yeah, that’s right Bevin Connor. Okay did not see that one coming. Which, I’m glad Darius was the adopted one and not Jaron, because that would’ve just ruined everything. Though, I will say, though I was VERY surprised, it was actually really cool. I mean a little sad, ’cause of his dad being Connor and all, but still a GREAT TWIST!
I really like the brother-relationship between Darius/Jaron/Fink. I liked how Jaron decided that Darius was his brother regardless of what their blood states. It was just sooooo sweet. I’m gonna cry, I mean listen to this:
“‘He is my brother, Imogen.’ … This was not a decision I had come to lightly, but I had made my decision. … ‘It doesn’t matter! If his adoption means he is not my brother, then Fink is not my brother, and I am once again without a family!’”
Also, I really enjoyed the scene with Tobias and Darius when they both wanted Amarinda and neither would back down. It was just kind of sweet to see how much they loved her. (Though it was good that Tobias won her in the end. ‘Cause, guys, THIS IS TOBIAS WE’RE TALKING ABOUT.)
Darius being alive was just an all-around surprise, especially with the explanation, but honestly, we should’ve seen it coming. This is Jennifer Nielsen we’re talking about.
Also, at first I was like c’mon Roden! Not again! It was like he was doomed to destroy Jaron. Until….it comes out THAT WE WERE WRONG ABOUT RODEN ALL ALONG AS ALWAYS. *slaps forehead* Man, we shoulda seen it coming.
Let’s talk about Tobais . *shrieks* I love Tobias, he is so loyal to Jaron, even when he doesn’t want to do what Jaron asks. Tobias is just one of those characters you have to love, because of how hard he tries to be strong and brave.
“‘He probably wasn’t as strong as you.’
“‘I’m not strong, Jaron, not the way I wish I was. But I am clever, so I have a plan.’“
Tobias really needs that talk with Mott that Jaron had in The False Prince where Mott says “A strong heart will always overcome a strong body.” In my opinion, Tobias is one of the strongest characters there is. He has a really strong heart. (Anyone agree with me?)
Also I like the strong female character we got to see in Imogen. It seems like in every book she becomes more and more stronger and sure of herself. I like the relationship between her and Jaron and the uncertainty that she might walk away from him because he’s so flawed. Of course, she always looks past that and, thankfully, doesn’t dump him. *whew*
Speaking of romances, can I just say that it was super interesting. I mean Mott, of all people, actually had a woman he loved. That was a shocker. And Rodon finds a girl he really likes but she ends up being the Monarch. (Sadly, I did not see that coming.) But hey, he tried. And Imogen and Jaron’s relationship showed that even with the one you are meant to be with, you still have arguments or face conflict. But they work through them together.
*sorry if most of this rambling is so jumbled up you can’t understand it. I literally wrote this up the night I finished the book to dump all of my thoughts down. Rereading it, I can see that there might be some areas that don’t make sense*
*************************END OF SPOILER ZONE*************************
-*me still screaming about how amazing this book was*
-If you haven’t already that is. 😉
Sooooo, have you read the fourth book? If you haven’t read any of this series, are you REALLY wanting to? How’s everyone’s NaNo/writing in general going? Don’t forget if you have any writing questions/want some tips or advice/or just need some encouragement, totally let me know!!!!!
Questions specifically for those who read the fourth book: Were you surprised with all the twists? Didn’t you just want to see more of the cast I’d mentioned?
ANSWER IN THE COMMENTS!!!!!!
Oh, and don’t forget about my super secret post, it’s coming sometime this upcoming week!!! And we’re still in the middle of our series on character development. I hope to get back to it very soon. Part 4 is coming up on understanding your character’s reactions and why this is important.
Also AN IMPORTANT NOTE FOR SUBSCRIBERS TO TWN’S EMAIL LIST: In the email you received today, there is some exciting news concerning my top secret post. Make sure you don’t miss that. Aaaaannnnddddd, for those of you who haven’t heard. WE HAVE AN EMAIL LIST!!!!!!!! So, if you wanna subscribe, go ahead. (Wow, that sounded waaaay better in my head.)