by Jennifer A. Nielsen The Shattered Castle (The Ascendance Series, Book 5) Series: Ascendence #5 Published by Scholastic Inc.
on October 19, 2021 Source: Review copy Genres: Juvenile Fiction / Action & Adventure / General
, Juvenile Fiction / Fantasy & Magic
, Juvenile Fiction / Social Themes / Friendship Pages:
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Acclaimed author Jennifer A. Nielsen brings her signature twists and high-stakes action to the fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling Ascendance Series!
King Jaron has outwitted the Prozarians and returned to his own kingdom with one secret in his pocket that not even his friends know about. He's hoping that secret will help him finally bring stability to Carthya.
But a surprise attack on his own land -- on the castle itself -- reminds Jaron that nothing is easy. The Prozarian Monarch threatens to crumble Jaron's entire kingdom. And that's not the only thing in danger: With old enemies and new rumors circling around him, even Jaron's relationship with Imogen is uncertain.
This former False Prince will need his best tricks and many allies at his side to hold Carthya together.
The Ascendence series holds a place near and dear to my book-loving heart. It was one of the first book series that my family listened to on a trip as an audiobook. Jaron entranced us, sometimes called sage, who had a fascinated opportunity to become a false prince but then again, was he a false prince. We are endeared to these characters, and when they expanded beyond the original three books, I could not wait to find out where we would be adventuring and what would happen as Jaron and his love grew up and ruled their kingdom. This series is perfect for middle-grade readers who enjoy books where they get to grow with the characters. As each book moves along, much like harry potter, they get darker and more heavy in some of the political strife of ruling a country and being married. They’re a ton of excitement and cringe-worthy moments as Jaron bumbles his way through a very tough battle not only for his castle but for his marriage and the struggles of truly stepping into his life as king. Shattered Castle did not disappoint, and I am not sure if this is finally the end or if they’re more on the horizon. We have to wait and see.
About Jennifer A. Nielsen
For as far back as Jennifer can remember, she has shared her brain with imaginary characters. She figures it’s okay if she talks to them as she’s working on her stories, as long as they don’t start talking back.
Jennifer began writing in elementary school. Her first attempt at a full-length story was in 6th grade when she wrote about a girl who becomes trapped in her daydreams and that world becomes real. Not a bad idea, you say? Wrong. It was pretty awful, but Jennifer liked it at the time. She even called a locksmith to do research on how to pick locks. When he found out she was only 11, he ended the call and the story got set aside, unfinished.
But she began other stories, writing in spiral notebooks or plucking out keys on an electric typewriter (yep, she’s that old). Stories of a boy who tries to sell his annoying sister, of a celebrity who gets stuck in a small town (think Disney’s Cars, only with humans), and several other stories that all eventually wound up in a box in the back of her closet. She also drew cartoons and made up poems about the people in them. Jennifer has taken steps to ensure the cartoons never see the light of day again.
Jennifer has always loved reading and for most of her childhood, kept a tall stack of books at the side of her bed. She loved the Hardy Boys and Encyclopedia Brown series’, but her favorite childhood book was The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. Her favorite book in junior high was The Outsiders. That book’s author, S.E. Hinton, published The Outsiders at the age of 17. Jennifer set a goal to be published sooner.
Jennifer didn’t make her goal, not even close. She got heavily involved in local theater and in school speech and debate competitions. The theater entertained the characters in her head, and the speech and debate filled her desire to never stop talking.
Jennifer completed her first book in her early 20’s. She told a neighbor she planned to be published one day. The neighbor smiled back like Jennifer had a greater chance of landing on the moon one day. That was understandable. The first book was pretty bad.
So was her second. And third. The fourth wasn’t terrible, but by then Jennifer had decided she was writing in the wrong genre. The characters in her head had changed from adult romantic suspense to young adult and children’s fantasy characters. Jennifer had to change her writing too.
Jennifer’s debut book was ELLIOT AND THE GOBLIN WAR (Sourcebooks, Oct 2010). That series became known as The Underworld Chronicles. The next series she released was The Ascendance trilogy, beginning with THE FALSE PRINCE (Scholastic, Apr 2012), followed by the MARK OF THE THIEF series (Scholastic Feb 2015), and the TRAITOR’S GAME series (Scholastic, Feb 2018). She also wrote the sixth book of the Infinity Ring series, BEHIND ENEMY LINES (Scholastic, Nov 2013), and the second book of the HORIZON series (Scholastic, Sept 2017), and a standalone fantasy adventure, THE SCOURGE (Scholastic, Aug 2016). She has released four historical novels, A NIGHT DIVIDED (Scholastic, Aug 2015), RESISTANCE (Sept 2018), WORDS ON FIRE (Scholastic, Oct 2019), and RESCUE (April 2021). She will release her fifth historical, LINES OF COURAGE, in spring 2022.
Jennifer has won multiple awards including the Sydney Taylor Notable Book Award (RESISTANCE, 2019), multiple Whitney Awards, and several state book awards. Also, she once won a garden rototiller, though that’s probably not relevant here.
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