The Shadow Throne: The Ascendance Trilogy, Book 3

Book review by
Sally Engelfried, Common Sense Media
The Shadow Throne: The Ascendance Trilogy, Book 3 Book Poster Image
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Boy king fights war in imperfect but satisfying conclusion.

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Kids say

age 10+
Based on 10 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The Shadow Throne is set in a medieval-like time period, so readers get a sense of life and war in that era.

Positive Messages

Love is worth more than glory. Be faithful to your friends and they will be loyal to you.

Positive Role Models & Representations

As in the previous books in The Ascendance Trilogy, Jaron frequently makes reckless decisions that endanger his own life, but he always has a higher ideal in mind such as protecting loved ones or the people of his kingdom. Jaron's friends are loyal to a fault; even when Jaron disregards his own safety and puts their kingdom at risk, they remain steadfast toward him and tolerate whatever wild plan he comes up with.


Although The Shadow Throne is all about war, it's actually less violent than The False Prince or The Runaway King. Jaron speaks frequently of the horror of war but mostly refers vaguely to wounds and men scattered on the battlefield rather than giving vivid descriptions. When Jaron is captured, he is starved and hurt by his captors. Some of his friends get severely wounded as a result of the war.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Shadow Throne is the final entry in the The Ascendance Trilogy, following The False Prince and The Runaway King. It opens at the beginning of a war and ends when it's over, but the horror of the many battles fought is generally summarized rather than described in detail. One character is captured and hurt by his captors, and several main characters are severely wounded as a result of the war.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byDuuuude77 June 13, 2020

Good Job Jennifer Nielsen

Great book but not as good as first two. Check the first two out please.
Kid, 12 years old May 15, 2020

I just love "The False Prince," series and I love this book even more!

I'm waiting for the 4th book to come out this October.
Romance: It has a little near the end. Jaron and Imogen are in love and talk about love in a prison... Continue reading

What's the story?

The boy king Jaron is finally ready to take his rightful throne as ruler of Carthya, but his enemies have other ideas. With invasions coming at him from both borders of his country, Jaron must use all his cunning to defeat his enemies and rely on his friends to help him carry out his tricky plans.

Is it any good?

All the loose ends of the previous books are tied up nicely in THE SHADOW THRONE​, but the plot seems forced and unrealistic. For example, during a time of war, King Jaron repeatedly wanders the countryside in enemy territory with no guard or accompaniment, despite the fact that every time he does this, he's captured and endangers himself, his friends, and his country. In addition, much of the action is summarized rather than shown, so it might be difficult for readers to feel involved in the suspense of the story.

However, The Shadow Throne does provide a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy in that it answers some of the burning questions raised in both The False Prince and The Runaway King: Will Jaron ever willingly accept the burden of ruling a country? Will he survive his own recklessness if he does? And will he ever resolve the problem of being betrothed to one girl while loving another? Readers who enjoyed the first two books will want to read this final entry.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about trilogies and how popular they are. Do you think it makes a story more or less powerful to be told over three books? 

  • Which is usually your favorite entry in a trilogy: the first, second, or final book?

  • How is the way war is fought in The Shadow Throne different from the way wars are fought today? How much do you think the ability to communicate digitally affects the outcome of modern wars?

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