The Ascendance Trilogy

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Genre: Fantasy 
Age: MG, Teen
POV: 1st person

Note: I’ll be writing a review for all three books. Each book will be divided into mini reviews coving the basic and then and they will be put into one rating. 

There will also be spoilers, read at your own risk. 

 The False Prince:

Non-spoiler review for The False Prince

Summary: Sage is taken out of the orphanages by a man name Conner. Force to compete against two other boys to play the role of the long-lost prince. Rumor has it that the royal family is dead.

“.....Just because it's possible doesn't mean its wise” 

Jennifer A. NielsenThe False Prince

Review: By the plot, you can properly tell that the story will be predictable. Don’t let that discouraged you. The unreliable narrator is done nicely leading through twists and turns. There were some twists I completely forgot about when rereading.

From other reviews, I have read a few of them state that Sage is a combination of Roden and Tobias. I don’t think Sage is like either of them.

Tobias is book smart, well Sage is street smart. Sage runs his mouth and shouts insults at almost everyone. Which are hilarious at times.

Roden is strong and willing to bet anyone in a sword fight, well Sage will manipulate his opponent making them look the other way before stabbing them.

Imogen is not a petty face servant. Sage does have a sweet and caring spot for her. Out of all the other characters in the False Prince, the way Imogen thinks, and her cleverness is similar to Sage. This is revealed later in the series. 

The Runaway King
Non-spoiler review for the Runaway King:

From here on out There Are Spoilers processes with caution. By doing this I’m going to assume you had read the whole series.

Summary: The Avenia King Vargon threaded war on Carthya. Jaron (Sage) find out more information from Conner on his family assassination and that the pirates have join forces with the Vargan. 

“The pirates wanted my life, Vargen wanted my country, and my regents wanted to paint rainbows over reality and claim all was well.” 

― Jennifer A. NielsenThe Runaway King

With a story that has pirates in it, I expected they will be out on the high seas. Instead all the action is on land. Not much of a disappointment; during the golden age of piracy, pirate will hideouts and sometime whole towns were run by pirates. There is a small slices of history aspect. I will stop right there with the history because, I will talk all day about pirates. 


Roden struggles with accepting that Sage is the lost Prince Jaron. There is more character depth to Roden and Tobias. Although Tobias does have a small part. There is more of him in the third book.
New characters:

Erick who is Joran tickets into the pirate camp and Fink has seen to be the annoying little kid but, does prove to be useful.

Princess Amaira was in the first book for a few pages. Her role is now enlarged. Between Imogen and Amaira it looks like at first that there a “love triangle” but that soon crumbles away. Jardon and Amaira both see their marriages as a duty for their kingdoms to have an alliance. They are not in love with each other and do become just friends.

“No, my lady. If I cannot look at you as an equal, I will not look at you at all” 
― Jennifer A. NielsenThe False Prince   

The Shadow Throne

Goodreads review for Shadow Throne:

Summary: Mandenwal and Gelyn have alliance with Avenia and declare war on Carthya. With little hope and aghast all odds, Jardon must lead his country to victory.

“Avenia thinks they're battling a king. I doubt they're prepared to fight a boy who thinks childish pranks are practical strategies for war."

"Aren't they?”

Jennifer A. Nielsen, The Shadow Throne

Jaron has changed from a dirty theft to a humble king and there more of Roden and Tobias. The battles are not grand scale Lord of the Rings but, they are not any less enjoyable to read. The battle at Falston was clever in every way.
Jaron's soft side shows more in The Shadow Throne than in the other books, I thought it was sweet what he said to Amaira in the beginning. (not going to say much there)

In the end, Connor's morals were questionable whether he bad or not. I was quite satisfied with the way everything ended. Afore going through two or three books with these characters I didn't want to be like the ending to Divergent (the first book was good, and the rest was meh).

Thoughts on the whole series:

The weakness throughout The Ascendance Trilogy is the world building. I get that each book has at least one setting which is fine. Each county doesn’t seem to have any culture or anything to make them stand out, besides there being lines to separate them on the map and their names.

Another thing about these books is they don’t have magic in them. There is nothing wrong with that. The Ranger’s Apprentice from what I read so far in the series (only on book one) it only hinted that there little to no magic use. What I’m saying is it will be a long stretch if there ever another book set in the Ascendance Trilogy world. I would like to see another book set in the world but, I contain with it for now. There doesn't need to be any more books added. If there is, I will be open to it.

If this book suddenly rises in popularity, I honestly don’t believe it will survive the hype. People have different tastes and I say that fine. I kind of want it to remind of the radar for the right type of people to found and enjoy.

Putting that aside; Jennifer A. Nielsen has woven a good story all good steering away from tropes and doom love triangles. There are both strong male and female characters all complex and believable.

Recommended for middle grade and young teens. The series does not shy away from blood and death. I will say this for about every book, I sure older readers looking for a fast read will enjoy this as well.

Points: The system is a working progress. 

Characters: 4/5 –  Not all of the minor characters were developed in the first book. It was soon fix and done well.  

Plot/writing: 8/10 - lots of twist and turn are well place.

+5 (I know I’m cheating my point system) I read The False Prince back in middle school and loved it then and reading it again I still enjoy it. To my exception the series holds up well. 

Grand total: 17/20   

Reason why I reread The Ascendance Trilogy: When I read The Six of Crows duology the main character Kaz reminded me of Jaron. Their way of thinking is similar. They are both clever and are always ten steps ahead of their opponents. The similarity ends there, Kaz is an anti-hero and Jaron is an averages hero. Ani-hero is more complex but, that can be debatable.

Let me know what you think down in the comments did you agree or disagree with what I said or drop by and say hi. As always thank you for reading. There will be more reviews coming soon to a device near you.

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