Thursday, March 25, 2021

The Captive Kingdom by Jennifer A. Nielsen - OPTIONAL

The Captive Kingdom (Ascendance # 4) by Jennifer A. Nielsen
, 384 pages. Scholastic, 2020, $18. 

Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content PG; Violence: PG-13 



Jaron is back as the Ascendant King. Jaron is 16 years old and King Eckbert has claimed victory in a war launched against Carthya. This book covers the missing year of Jaron’s life between books two and three. Jaron and Imogen are returning from a routine trading mission to Bymar as guests of Avenian pirates when their ship is brutally attacked by Prozarians. Jaron is taken hostage. Roden, Jaron’s captain of the guard, is coerced into serving the dangerous Captain Jane Strick. As Jaron tries to escape and save those close to him, he discovers that he is accused of terrible things in his past and that it could be possible that his older brother, Darius, is alive. Jaron must use all of his skill, planning, and cunning to save his friends and his kingdom. 

 Though I loved The False Prince, and Jaron’s character, there is a lot going on. Jaron is like a master chess player and it almost seems implausible that he could figure out how all the moving pieces of intrigue and people would work out, especially since he has a hard time sharing his ideas. Jaron’s strengths become the book’s weakness. By the fourth book, readers will be expecting plot twists and Jaron’s cleverness, and the constant action and power struggles become almost tiresome, especially with the brutality involved. How many times can someone be betrayed and still want a throne? But die-hard fans will probably enjoy the nonstop action and twists. 

Michelle in the Middle 

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