A Hate-to-Love Relationship with the Ascendance Trilogy

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Do you know those books that you hate to love? I’m not sure why, but that is how I feel about the Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen. And yet, I can’t bring myself to put down each book until I’ve finished reading it.

My urge to dislike them might have to do with a plot twist in the first book, The False Prince, that was so predictable I was disappointed by it, but even so, I really enjoyed reading these books. They tell the story of a teenage boy, Sage, who is recruited to impersonate the long-lost Prince Jaron of Carthya after the rest of the royal family is murdered. Sage must compete with a few other boys for the position, and if he isn’t chosen, it would mean his death.

The books are full of twists and turns—some more predictable than others—and never fail to keep my attention. Each is the type of book to ensnare me so well that I yell in outrage with each tragedy and wish that the characters would listen to my advice, knowing full well that it is futile. With compelling characters, hilarious wit, clever schemes, and high stakes, any fan of medieval fantasy will enjoy the Ascendance Trilogy. Fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows will especially enjoy it, as Sage reminds me a lot of Kaz Brekker. If you’re searching for a new YA fantasy series, look no further.