“If I had to do it all over again, I would not have chosen this life. Then again, I’m not sure I ever had a choice.”
With these words, we enter Sage’s world. The almost-15-year-old resident of Mrs. Turbeldy’s Orphanage for Disadvantaged Boys discovers that a nobleman named Bevin Conner is seeking boys for a mysterious purpose and has chosen Sage to be one of them.
By the time the orphans arrive at Conner’s estate, they are learning the reason for the nobleman’s search. The king, queen, and crown prince have been murdered; a younger prince disappeared several years ago and is presumed dead. To prevent a possible war, Conner plans to train his “recruits” in horsemanship, sword fighting, scholarship, and other royal skills. After three weeks, the boy who excels will play the role of the absent prince and ascend to the throne as a puppet ruler. As the candidates progress in their training, it becomes clear that those not chosen will become expendable–Conner’s way of ensuring that there will be no one in a position to betray him.
Sage, used to living by his wits, finds himself involved in a battle for his life and, as Conner’s true motives become clear and long-kept secrets are revealed, in a quest to save his country. It takes all of his ingenuity and powers of persuasion to avert disaster.
The inaugural volume in Jennifer A. Nielsen’s The Ascendance Trilogy is a roller-coaster ride of surprise discoveries, deception, camaraderie, unexpected developments, revealed loyalty, and nonstop action. By the time readers arrive at the end, they will be breathless and eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.
Jaron, the hero of the thrilling The False Prince, has been sitting on the throne for only a few weeks–and is already facing threats to his kingdom and his kingship from within and without. Not only is Carthya on the verge of a war that could mean its end as a sovereign nation, but the new monarch’s ability to rule is questioned by those with the authority to appoint a steward in his stead. When Jaron discovers who is behind the attempts to take over his kingdom, he comes to the painful realization that he must leave Carthya if he has any hopes of saving his homeland. So, leaving a trusted friend and his betrothed to cover for him, the young monarch departs in hopes of unearthing the treachery–and enters the lion’s den in order to achieve his goal. For it is only in domain of the pirate king who seeks his demise that Jaron can preserve his life and the sovereignty of Carthya.
It has been said that some sequels do not live up to the greatness of the first novel, and there is unfortunately some truth to this. However, this truism does not apply to the second novel in The Ascendance Trilogy. Jennifer A. Nielsen’s nonstop thriller contains everything that has made The False Prince such a winner: plot twists and turns, surprise developments, characters you either love or hate, the right touch of humor, and a magnificent conclusion.
King Jaron has returned home, victorious and jubilant, to his beloved Carthya. As he recovers from the leg injury he received in the pirates’ domain, the young monarch receives devastating news: King Vargan of Avenia has invaded, overrun the peaceful town of Libeth, and captured Imogen, the dear friend who has been by his side since the day they met, in hopes of using her as a tool to bring down Carthya. If that were not horrifying enough, the neighboring nations Gelyn and Mendenwal have also attacked—and Jaron’s kingdom is surrounded. Even though Carthya has been preparing for war, the triple invasion comes before the beleaguered nation can reach a state of readiness.
When all seems hopeless, and even Roden, the captain of Carthya’s armed forces, is not supportive of the king’s decisions or accepting of his authority, Jaron knows he must put aside his devastation at the destruction of Libeth and Imogen’s abduction (and his fear for her safety) and act. With the courage and pluck that characterized the boy king in The False Prince and The Runaway King, Jaron joins Mott (who has been a major source of support since the day he comprehended the then-prince’s true identity), his loyal friend and adviser Tobias, and Princess Amarinda, his betrothed, in a daring, against-all-odds attempt to save his beloved kingdom.
This third volume in Jennifer A Nielsen’s The Ascendance Trilogy is as mesmerizing as its predecessors. Readers will be firmly ensconced at the edge of their seats from the first page until the thrilling, surprise-filled conclusion. And when the last page is turned, fans of Jaron and his friends will delight in the satisfying ending to their tale and bid them a fond, reluctant farewell.