Tag: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Sunday Series Review: The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Today Kim is reviewing The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen. She rated this series 4 stars.

Books in the Series:
The False Prince

The Runaway King
The Shadow Throne


The False Prince
Published: April 1, 2012
342 Pages

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.

The Runaway King
Published:
March 1, 2013

331 Pages

A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive?


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?


The stunning second installment of The Ascendance Trilogy takes readers on a roller coaster ride of treason and murder, thrills and peril, as they journey with the Runaway King.

The Shadow Throne
Published: February 25, 2014
336 Pages

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?


Kim’s Rating of the Series: 4 Stars

Kim’s Review:

I love Jennifer Nielsen. She’s a dependable writer with great imagination and a talent for storytelling. I haven’t read a book of hers that I haven’t liked. This series is no different. I’ll admit that by the last book I was ready for the story to resolve, but when it did, I was completely satisfied. I loved each character and I was surprised many times. Sage had a consistency about him that kept me from getting frustrated with the plot. I never doubted that he could think his way out of any problem. I was usually surprised by his cleverness and the details of his schemes. Y’all know that I dislike idiot teens, but thankfully, these teens are not idiots, they’re just young and they learn and grow throughout each of the books. I know this is another short review, but I can’t talk about much without giving things away. This is a great series for younger teens and an interesting and unique fantasy series.

Purchase Links for the Series:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Published: August 25, 2015
357 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

From NYT bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen comes a stunning thriller about a girl who must escape to freedom after the Berlin Wall divides her family between east and west.

With the rise of the Berlin Wall, twelve-year-old Gerta finds her family suddenly divided. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother, who had gone west in search of work, cannot return home. Gerta knows it is dangerous to watch the wall, to think forbidden thoughts of freedom, yet she can’t help herself. She sees the East German soldiers with their guns trained on their own citizens; she, her family, her neighbors and friends are prisoners in their own city.

But one day, while on her way to school, Gerta spots her father on a viewing platform on the western side, pantomiming a peculiar dance. Then, when she receives a mysterious drawing, Gerta puts two and two together and concludes that her father wants Gerta and Fritz to tunnel beneath the wall, out of East Berlin. However, if they are caught, the consequences will be deadly. No one can be trusted. Will Gerta and her family find their way to freedom?

Kim’s Review:

Jennifer Nielsen has joined the ranks of “authors Kim will read no matter what”. She hasn’t written a thing I don’t like. She writes with such emotion and I very rarely look at page numbers while reading her books. With all that established, I have to admit that this is her weakest work so far. That does not mean it is bad, it simply means that A Night Divided is not my favorite of her books. I enjoyed this book very much, the only issue is that sometimes, while the characters were dealing with their boring existence in Communist East Berlin, that monotony came out for me, the reader, as well. That is the only reason I’m giving it 4 stars instead of 5.

I love how Donnelly showed the practical side of life under Communism; the little things that we  Americans take for granted like the freedom to listen to music, or say the things we are thinking, no matter what we’re thinking. The scenes where Gerta goes to the market and the shelves being empty of most things except cabbage was especially potent.

I would suggest this book to most millennials, no matter their age. The suspense that Donnelly created, especially near the end, made me forget any boredom I was feeling near the beginning. This is another book that I would tell high school and middle school teachers to keep on their shelves. And the cover is amazing. And everyone should read it. And now I want to visit Germany. And I’m going to start writing all my reviews in this short sentence, list format. Ok, just kidding! ? I really liked this book and I think everyone else should read it as well!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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The Scourge


Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Published: August 30, 2016
368 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Book Description:

When a plague isn’t all that kills…

As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani Mells is shocked when she is unexpectedly captured by the governor’s wardens and forced to submit to a test for the deadly Scourge. She is even more surprised when the test results come back positive, and she is sent to Attic Island, a former prison turned refuge — and quarantine colony — for the ill. The Scourge’s victims, Ani now among them, can only expect to live out short, painful lives there. However, Ani quickly discovers that she doesn’t know the whole truth about the Scourge or the Colony. She’s been caught in a devious plot, and, with the help of her best friend, Weevil, Ani means to uncover just what is actually going on. But will she and Weevil survive long enough to do so?

Kim’s Review:

This book was awesome!! In a world of all the same stories being published over and over again, changed only with new character and setting names, I found a book that is unique! It’s a very simple story but it’s not like anything I’ve read before.

The world that Nielsen has created is a beautiful place with interesting people and fascinating dynamics. The River People, those who are believed to be ignorant and dirty, vs. the townsfolk, Grubs vs. Pinchworms. I identified very strongly with the misunderstood minority. Yeah ok, a little dramatic, I know, but as a Southerner, I completely understand being misunderstood and labeled as ignorant. Lies are told about my ancestors and my heritage and I know the frustration very well.

Ani is such a great heroine! She’s smart, she’s cunning and she’s not afraid to do whatever it takes to survive. Weevil is an awesome guy and I’m totally happy with him, wouldn’t change a thing! ? And of course, every story needs a character that you love to hate! So there’s Della! She’s snobby and bratty and spoiled, and I loved hating her! The government conspiracy is simple, yet genius and works really well until Ani shows up to throw a wrench in everything. This was a really easy read, yet kept my attention through the very end! I recommend this book to anyone looking for a unique read or to any tween or teen looking for an interesting book!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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