Backlist Review: “The False Prince; The Runaway King; The Shadow Throne”

This isn’t my first attempt at book blogging. I ran The Cheap Reader for a number of years before burning out. I’m dusting off some of my reviews and giving them new life over here.

The False Prince

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point—he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats. .

Summary from Goodreads


  • Sage was a difficult character to like. He definitely followed the beat of his own drum. He was  incredibly stubborn and reckless but I also liked him for that. There were so many times I wish he’d give in and do what was asked of him because I hated to see him punished. I really admired him for sticking to his morals though.
  • Nielsen did a great job with Sage (and his story). You believed everything coming from him.  Nothing about him felt faked.
  • Even the side characters were nicely developed!
  • I know false royal story line is common but I love it. Treason, lies, secrets! So many things to love in a story.
  • There was a perfect dose of politics in this story. You got small hints of it everywhere. You know that war has been brewing for a while. The royal family is all dead and under suspicious circumstances. Far too many people want to take over. It will be interesting to see how things continue for the rest of the series.
  • I did like the twist towards the end. Sure things were a bit too perfect but that’s okay.
  • I love that it’s great for all ages. It doesn’t feel overly juvenile and there isn’t a lot of language or violence. On top of all that, it’s not a simple story. There’s a good amount of depth to the story and the characters.
The Runaway King

Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?

Summary from Goodreads


Ahhhh, Sage/Jaron got on my nerves (again) in this book with his recklessness.  If there was a stupid and/or foolish decision to any choice he had to make, you know which one he made. To me, that’s just infuriating. I like him and I don’t want him to put himself in danger. I did really appreciate the fact that he was a good king. He literally was going to do anything for his people. That’s pretty impressive. I don’t know how many people would be willing do that for their people.

I was a little thrown off by Jaron’s ridiculousness. I completely understand how people can push themselves to extremes in certain circumstances. But I have a really hard time believing that a teen with a broken leg is able to climb up a cliff and then is able to challenge someone to a sword fight. That is way too out there for me.

Despite those annoyances I did enjoy this story. The story picks up not too long after the first book ended. You can feel the tension building. Jaron is having to deal with people outside of his kingdom not being happy with him a king as well as his own people not quite trusting him.

The story was well paced and easy to get lost in. It didn’t feel too much like a second story. It wasn’t just a rehashing of book one. There was substance to this story. That was appreciated.

The bottom line? I had a few annoyances with the story but I still enjoyed it

The Shadow Throne

One war.

Too many deadly battles.

Can a king save his kingdom, when his own survival seems unlikely?

War has come to Carthya. It knocks at every door and window in the land. And when Jaron learns that King Vargan of Avenia has kidnapped Imogen in a plot to bring Carthya to its knees, Jaron knows it is up to him to embark on a daring rescue mission. But everything that can go wrong does.

His friends are flung far and wide across Carthya and its neighbouring lands. In a last-ditch effort to stave off what looks to be a devastating loss for the kingdom, Jaron undertakes what may be his last journey to save everything and everyone he loves. But even with his lightning-quick wit, Jaron cannot forestall the terrible danger that descends on him and his country. Along the way, will he lose what matters most? And in the end, who will sit on Carthya’s throne?

Summary from Goodreads


Wow, this story was action packed. I do love action but it was almost too action heavy in this book. One of the reasons I liked the other books so much was there was a good balance of action with the politics/drama. To me it felt like there wasn’t enough explanation for why the countries were fighting each other. I really wish the author did some quick recapping of who everyone was because I had a hard time remembering what had happened in previous books. It wasn’t too bad once I got into the groove of the book but I know I had a hard time getting going because I had forgotten what happened in the last book.

I’m still undecided on Jaron’s character growth. He’s definitely one of my favorite royal figures in literature because he’s willing to do anything for his country and people. He’s not risking his life selfishly. He doesn’t particularly even want the crown. He just wants his people, his country, and his friends safe. That’s the kind of king I want. I think his recklessness is toned down a bit which is good. [That really annoyed me in the previous book.] I just wish he would become a bit more levelheaded. Luck and tricks aren’t what you should be relying on to save you. It does make for a good show but it’s not something to always count on.

The characters got a bit sappy but in the end I didn’t mind because they ended up happy which is what I really wanted. We knew Amarinda wasn’t in love with Jaron but was still planning on marrying him because it was what the countries required so it’s not a terrible surprise that she falls for one of Jaron’s friends. We also knew that Jaron wasn’t in love with Amarinda but loves Imogen. It wasn’t a big surprise for them to end up together. There were some other pleasant surprises for the other characters in the end.

The bottom line? It was a good end to a good series. I definitely recommend the Ascendance Trilogy for those looking for a good adventure and a good story.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s