It is a well-regarded fact that sequels usually fall short of their predecessor’s glory. Whether it be a TV show reboot, new movie, or book series installment, there is some expectation that it will never reach the same level of success, and most likely fall into mediocrity. I am happy to say, however, that Jennifer A. Nielsen’s The Captive Kingdom was not affected by this curse and delivered the greatness expected of this most exciting YA Fantasy series.
Being the fourth book in what was originally only a trilogy, The Captive Kingdom came as a pleasant surprise and thrilling new addition to the Ascendance Trilogy. After a complete set of adventures in the kingdom of Carthya, Nielsen promised dedicated readers that if her characters ever spoke to her again, she would invite everyone back onto the page and into their lives. I am incredibly grateful they decided to whisper in her ear because this new book is everything a long time fan of her work could hope for! While bringing fresh new life into familiar scenes, the signature snarky narration reminded me why I fell in love with these books in the first place. It takes real talent to combine old strengths with the new stories, so thank goodness Nielsen is overflowing with it!
For those who haven’t been so lucky as to become friends with Sage and his band of friends, take this as a personal endorsement from me and a sign that it’s time for you to get to know them. I guarantee that once you begin the first book, The False Prince, you will find it impossible to put down! Filled with royalty, evil plots, sarcasm, and secrets, Sage’s story keeps you on the edge of your seat and clamoring for answers until the very last page. And just when you think you understand him and his witty sense of rebellion- surprise! You thought wrong. Before you know it, this trickery is what will keep you coming back and clamoring for more of Sage’s cleverness, loyalty, and relentless energy. Thankfully, there are four books (and a promised fifth!) waiting for you to pick them up and be swept up in Nielsen’s genius.
So what are you waiting for? Fans and soon-to-be fans alike, locate your local bookstore and find escape in Jennifer A. Nielsen’s Ascendance Trilogy and its new friend, The Captive Kingdom. I promise that you won’t regret it!