Okay, this series really turned me onto how cool first-person narration can be, so I kind of owe the final installment a proper book review. Here we go.
Shattered Castle: Book Review
King Jaron has outwitted the Prozarians and returned to his own kingdom with one secret in his pocket that not even his friends know about. He’s hoping that secret will help him finally bring stability to Carthya.
But a surprise attack on his own land — on the castle itself — reminds Jaron that nothing is easy. The Prozarian Monarch threatens to crumble Jaron’s entire kingdom. And that’s not the only thing in danger: With old enemies and new rumors circling around him, even Jaron’s relationship with Imogen is uncertain.
This former False Prince will need his best tricks and many allies at his side to hold Carthya together.
- Just fun
Honestly this book was just… a fun time. Back with the characters we love, back with Jaron narrating. A lot of hijinks and craziness. I have my nitpicks later on, but the whole adventurous, spunky tone really stuck around and I liked it a lot.
- New character development on characters who have been around for a while
Tobias and Imogen specifically! I don’t think either of them have been able to take center stage for most of the series, and they had a lot of agency in this book. It was nice to actually feel like I was getting to know them a lot better, and they were very interesting to follow through the book
- Interesting thematic contrast
I always love when there’s a unique angle they choose to contrast between the good guys and the bad guys, and I think that was pretty well done in this one. It was very evident especially near the end how it was really the morals of the good guys triumphing over the corruptness of the bad guys and I appreciated.
- Interesting arc wrap-up for Jaron
This seemed to be a continuation of questions and themes brought up in the last book, and while I’m not sure if it was brought to full fruition, I do like the exploration deeper into Jaron’s whole “cocky, go-it-alone main character” type.
There’s… a lot going on in this book, and it dives right into it. It was a ride, and as I said above, it was a fun one. But it really went every which way. Probably could have (and should have) been more streamlined.
- Is Jaron the right main character for this story?
Okay this point BOTHERS ME A LOT. Because Jaron’s narrative voice and crazy schemes are a huge part of the charm of the series, that’s why I keep coming back and enjoying them so much. But honestly, he was not the driving force in this book. He tried to be, and he did a lot of wacky stuff. But he didn’t feel like the central force.
I don’t know if I’m bold enough to actually say this book would have been better from Imogen’s point of view, but honestly she was more central and made more plot-effecting decisions, so from a purely technical standpoint… it probably should have been her? We just felt rather removed from effecting any outcome of the main plotline.
Which… honestly this is part of the theme. Jaron needs to learn he’s not carrying the whole kingdom on his back, his friends can help out too. He has to learn to trust other people’s plans, and we’re right there along with him. And the fact that he’s effecting so little kind of gets that point across as well, so I’m not sure. It’s tricky.
- Payoff for the treasure
No spoilers here so this point will be brief. But I really just think they could have been more creative with the treasure.
Maybe made it a little less… national. Shall we say.
I actually did like the ending, okay. It just… it felt like fanfiction.
In the best way possible! It was very sweet and dreamy and an extremely pleasant image to leave off on. But it didn’t seem to have the weight to it that I was expecting for the end of the series, it felt a little too sweet without any bitter.
Could have been worse, but I’m nitpicking here.
If you’ve read the rest of the series, definitely go for it. It’s a fun installment and would be a shame to miss it, but it doesn’t rank among my all time favorites.
Have you guys read the Ascendance Series? What did you think of the final book if you’ve read it?
Let me know in the comments!