The Shadow Throne

The Shadow Throne - Jennifer A. Nielsen

Unfortunately, The Shadow Throne was incredibly disappointing for me. I thought it when I read the first book, and neither of the sequels changed my mind—I wish The False Prince had been a stand-alone.


In the final book of the trilogy, King Jaron finds his kingdom is now at war. With Imogen captured by the enemy, Jaron is desperate to save her. But Jaron can’t control all the variables in a war, and things start to look bleak. Jaron always has a plan up his sleeve, but will it be enough this time to save everyone?


About 25% of the way into the book, I made predictions about who would make it to the end, which characters would end up together, and how things would be resolved. I was right on every single prediction. I called every plot twist before it happened. How was I able to do it? The book basically hit a lot of the clichés of the genre.

Love interest seemingly killed, but the body is never shown? Obviously alive and will reappear near the end. Best friend is sent to escort the betrothed princess? Next time we see them, they’ll be in love. Advisor keeps going on about his lost son? Clearly the one character who is of the right age who has no clue who his parents are is his son. The traitor keeps insisting he’s a true patriot? He’s going to redeem himself in the final confrontation and then die because redemption equals death. A dam gets mentioned? Somebody’s going to get flooded. The main character has seemingly been defeated and is about to die? Come on, of course it’s all part of his plan.

(show spoiler)


It’s not that there’s anything inherently wrong with any of those things happening. I’ve enjoyed plenty of books that have used the same plots. And that’s the problem—I’ve just seen it too often. The book runs on the drama of these plot twists, but if I can see them coming from miles away, I don’t get that drama. And without that drama, the book’s just not that interesting for me. There are some clichés I don’t mind reading over again and again. Unfortunately, the clichés in this book were a lot of the ones I’m getting tired of reading.


If you haven’t read a lot of high fantasy, this series is a good one. If you have read a ton but don’t mind the predictability, this is a good series to read. But if you’re like me and have grown tired of being able to predict every single plot point just because it’s what every story does, this may not be what you’re looking for.