(Like I said for the first two books, I really like the simple and effective covers on the books in this trilogy.)
My feelings: meh, bordering on blech. I gave Book 2 of the trilogy 4 of 5 stars for having pirates. I'm tempted to go back and lower it to 3 stars to discourage people from reading it. (Because we all know how that works with trilogies. If you read the first and second ones you always figure that you might as well read the third one and see how it wraps up.) Read the first one, definitely. The False Prince totes rocks my boat. But it's a steep ride downhill after that.
There was almost no action in this book. The first book is full of swordplay and hijinks as the boys are trained to become possible puppet princes. It's fun and it works for the intended audience. Lots of middle grade boys would love to get their hands on swords and bows & arrows and horses and knives. The second book literally has swashbuckling* pirates. This one? Jaron participates in only one freaking battle and one fight the entire book. And he doesn't even play a very active role in either. And the whole book is about a war. Hmm.
*swashbuckling: engage in daring and romantic adventures with ostentatious bravado or flamboyance.
There was a lot of self-righteous self-sacrifice from Jaron in this book. He's constantly trying to sacrifice himself for others or "for the cause" in this book and it just gets aggravating. He whines about it. A lot. And he's self-righteous about it. And ok, yeah, save your friends. I get that. But he's THE KING. He needs to lead his people, not try to get himself killed! I think my eyeroll count topped two dozen with all the stupid self-righteous decisions Jaron made.
Jaron is sitting in jail pining and wasting away for the first third of the book. I'm not kidding. He goes on a self-imposed hunger strike, which he ends at the drop of a hat for a not good enough reason. Idiot. So that's a lot of audiobook time stuck in a jail cell with Jaron who is just not holding it together emotionally, mentally, or physically.
There is a lot of conversation in this book. It's a middle-grades boy book? We need more action! Less talk! More swords! Less feelings!
The ending wraps up entirely too neatly. I won't give spoilers in case you decide to actually read this book, but the ending is unbelievably fast and neat and tidy and happy.
If you read and enjoyed the first two books you might consider reading this in order to wrap up the trilogy. But I think at this point I recommend reading The False Prince and not continuing on to the second and third books.