Book Review: The Captive Kingdom

by Jennifer A. Nielsen

It’s been six months since Jaron saved his kingdom and won the war with Avenia.

And he’s bored. But life won’t stay calm for long.

During a sea voyage, Jaron’s ship is attacked. He and the other’s are taken captive by the Prozarians, a group of people thought to be extinct. The leader, Jane Strick, wants only one thing: Jaron himself.

Jaron doesn’t know for certain why Strick wants him. But she is asking questions about his family. And Jaron hears rumors that his brother Darius may somehow be alive.

Whether he wants to or not, Jaron has to unravel the truth and once more fight for his throne.


In Carthya, it may have only been six months between The Shadow Throne and The Captive Kingdom, but it was six years on earth. However, Nielsen easily picks up the story once more, showing her skill as a writer. Normally, I’m very scared to read sequels written long after the original books, but not this time. Nielsen is a talented writer and knows her characters and her story world.

Because The Shadow Throne originally concluded the series, there is an epilogue that ties up some of the strings of the plot, while leaving a few open. Those opens parts of the story are what allows us to have The Captive Kingdom. There is one tiny part of the epilogue that Nielsen actually changed in The Captive Kingdom, but she needed to for the plot, and it didn’t bother me.

Because there are certain things that we are are going to, or not going to happen happen because of the epilogue of The Shadow Throne, Nielsen carefully uses other things that we aren’t guaranteed to build up the stakes of the story. And even though some things are guaranteed, I was still left wondering how it would be able to be that way!

Once more, Jaron’s voice is fabulous. I really liked the growth and change that occurred in several characters over the course of the novel. Some of the new characters in The Captive Kingdom are great! I loved Jaron and Teagut’s bartering and deals. They were hilarious.

Because The Captive Kingdom takes places at sea and on an island, it does have a little bit of a different feel than the original three books taking place in Carthya. It feels a little bit less medieval and more adventure-like, if that makes sense. But it was fun to see Jaron and the rest of the characters in a new setting!

The Captive Kingdom is a great continuation to The Ascendance Series, and it ends nicely while leaving the reader wondering what’s going to happen in book 5.

Cautions: light romance; one kiss; brief, non-graphic violence

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