It is not often I read a series. This one is well worth it! It is full of all sorts of twists and turns. I waited to really get into it for when I could spend a bunch of hours just reading. This is not one of those books you keep on your bedside table and read a chapter each night. That is impossible!! You will end up staying up way too late.
One of the big themes in this book is duty. Jaron puts his duty as King before his life. Princess Amarinda is not one wit behind him in bravery and fulfilling her duty.
Warning: there is a bit of love in this book. However, it is mixed with all sorts of hand to hand war combat, so it doesn't get too mushy.
Many of the characters struggle and show tremendous growth in their leadership skills. They doubt themselves but continue on and their growth is something to be proud of.
I loved the characters in this book. At the end, the author says that Jaron is based on two students she taught in school. One was a shister who could steal your watch and get it back to you without you even noticing.....just to see if he could do it. The other was a student with a number of talents, not the least of which was his ability to roll a coin over his knuckles. The author's comments about her students warmed my heart. Jaron was a character I really grew to love. I loved that she said she was able to create such an authentic character because of students she had known.
This is definitely a book to read with my students!! it would be fun to do it as a 3-part series over the summer!
Note: I listened to part of this book on CD. The CDs have a bonus chapter that explain Connor and his apparent role as a traitor. This isn't explained in the book. I thought the section on the CD was fabulous. I wondered why it wasn't included in the book. I just might have to tweet Jennifer Nielsen and ask!