The Captive Kingdom

by Jennifer A. Nielsen

“For the past several months, my country of Carthya had been at peace. Imogen and I were happier than ever, our enemies were at bay, and the closest thing I had to a mortal wound was a bruise on my thigh from when I’d bumped into my own throne last month.

In other words, I was bored.”

Ratings & Reviews

Book Grade: A

The Captive Kingdom gives fans of Jennifer A. Nielsen more of what they wanted: King Jaron and his escapades as a young king on Carthya’s throne. I so appreciated that Jaron is up to his old hi jinks yet again, even though he has become the rightful (and mostly respected) ruler of Carthya. Adventure and trouble follow him wherever he goes, though, so it is no surprise that on a brief mission for his kingdom he would end up kidnapped and battling against a group of rebels trying to dethrone him.

I love that while this book is intended for a young adult audience, it is an addictive read for all ages. The characters are likeable, the plot is filled with surprises, and the story is wholly unique. I loved the clever plotline and a thrilled to have another book in the rotation for students who may think that they don’t like reading (but really just haven’t found the right fit yet).

The Captive Kingdom deals with morals, justice, responsibility, and duty in a very thoughtful and mature manner, but through Nielsen’s artful writing style, these come across as pithy comments, not distracting lectures. I cannot recommend this book highly enough – it is addictive and quick and will leave you praying that Nielsen has another book about Jaron up her sleeve.

Movie Rating: G

The Captive Kingdom is packed with adventure and fun, but free of swearing or inappropriate scenes. Nielsen has done a marvelous job of crafting a compelling story with twists and turns, but without any questionable material. While Jaron and Imogen are still together, a chaste kiss is all they share making it wholly appropriate (and appealing) for younger readers. Additionally, the action scenes are furiously intense, but not gory or grotesque. The Captive Kingdom (alongside the rest of the series) is a wonderful addition to any bookshelf.

Would I Buy This for My Library: Yes

The entire Ascendance trilogy is a treat, and the fourth book in the series is no exception. The books are addictive and often appeal to reluctant readers; The Captive Kingdom is a wonderful book to add to the shelves and I can’t wait to get this in the hands of my students.


Many wonder what happened to Jaron between the time that he ascended the throne of Carthya and the time that he and Imogen were wed. This book tells the story – and boy is it a fun ride! The Captive Kingdom is a thrilling book that picks up shortly after the third book in the series left off, and is every bit as thrilling as the other books in the series.

When Jaron leads the kingdom to secure a trade with a neighboring kingdom, he has no idea that he will be putting his life – and kingdom – on the line and can’t even begin to imagine who will show up to threaten his throne. Jaron is captured by Prozarian pirates and the rest of his crew is taken hostage as well. They are determined to keep him a prisoner until he helps them with their unsavory mission – part of which includes removing him from the throne and taking over a helpless community.

With endless action, clever quips, and loads of twists and turns, The Captive Kingdom is a must read for fans of adventure fiction or anyone missing King Jaron and his escapades!

Book Talk Questions:

  1. Why do the Prozarians kidnap Jaron? How does he react to their demands?
  2. How does Jaron instill fear among the pirates and crew of the Prozarian ship?
  3. Who do the Prozarians claim to have on shore? When Jaron sees this person, what does he realize?
  4. Why are the lenses so important to the Prozarians? How do they use Jaron to try to obtain the lenses?
  5. Who is Wilta really? Why did she conceal her identity?
  6. Summarize the ending of the story. What questions still remain based on the way that the book ends?

A Perfect Read for Fans Of…

  • The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  • The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
  • The Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost

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