by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Amazon / Goodreads
Plot Summary: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?
Review:After two books of pretty daunting odds against our protagonist, this last book throws the worst at King Jaron. It's absolutely heart-breaking what he has to go through to struggle to survive and save his kingdom. Even though I am used to Jaron getting away with everything, I was on the edge of my seat reading this, because I couldn't imagine how Jaron could surmount the insurmountable. But wow, does he throw everything he has at it.
While reading these books, I think there isn't a strong sense of character development with Jaron - he definitely grows a bit, but he remains very true to who he is since the start of the series. But this book does peel away many of his layers, because we see and understand what really motivates him. It's also so tear-jerking to read how much he cares for his friends and how much they care for him. Everyone is so willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for each other that it emphasizes why Carthya must win over their neighboring lands - because they are such a force of good and Jaron is a truly good and compassionate ruler. There were many times when things got so dark for Jaron that I wondered if it was really so bad to let King Vargan take over as long as it meant peace. But everything about Carthya is so different from King Vargan's Avenia, and it is because of the rulers.
Vargan is such a dastardly villain - he functioned very well in the story, because I was just itching for him to be defeated. The secondary characters - mostly Jaron's friends and found family were just as wonderful as in the last books. They are a solid cast of characters and I was happy to see them develop individually as they each reached their potential. What was, at the end of the first book, a potential love triangle was resolved very well in this book - I think everything that happened was understandable and the author pulled off what was a difficult situation.
There are lots of surprises in this book, as well as tear-jerking and poignant moments that really do justice to the appealing sincerity of all the characters. Jaron's journey has been pretty rough, but I was deeply satisfied by this adventurous, exciting series.
(I received this book from the publisher or author for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review.)