Book Review: The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielson
A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Find out in the highly anticipated sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen’s blockbuster THE FALSE PRINCE!
Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?
The stunning second installment of The Ascendance Trilogy takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of treason and murder, thrills and peril, as they journey with the Runaway King!
I’m really trying to keep up with my series reading. I had trouble getting into The False Prince, the predecessor to this book. I was kind of neutral on the character until the end when we realized how amazing Sage/Joran really was. I was excited for The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielson because clever, almost genius characters give me tingles and I really wanted to see what Sage/Joran would do in this book. I was not disappointed.
There is some debate on whether The Runaway King is better categorized as Middle Grade rather than Young Adult. I say it can be either way. This book has a lot of action, indicative of Middle Grade books, and lacks the nauseating romance that has infected the Young Adult genre. (I’m about one more teenage suck-face fest from rabid insanity. We’re talking clock tower and rifle level of nuts. I’m quickly becoming the blogger that hates Young Adult romance with the fire of a thousand suns.) At the same time, The Runaway King is a little violent for younger readers. I’d probably let a preteen, about 12 years of age or older, read this book but not anyone younger. (Unless they were well-read and mature for their age.)
The Runaway King got a rare rating of 5 stars from me. I felt more comfortable with the book now that I knew what to expect with Sage/Jaron. I could see how he manipulated the situation when he could and could appreciate the parts that were just dumb luck. I feel like not all the secrets were revealed in this book and we will have to wait until the next installment to find out all of Sage/Jaron’s plans. For instance, I’m certain that it was Sage/Jaron that sent the message to Roden to return early and that Sage/Jaron sending the army off to move rocks in the north is really secret training but we’re not expressly told in the novel. I think Sage/Jaron is collecting a chessboard of pieces to fight the war coming in the next book.
What romance there is, is not heavy handed or thrown in our face. Imogen herself is an independent, interesting character. A couple of the secondary characters are a bit cliché, like Fink, and the pirates are a little less deadly and more honorable than one would think from their description. I can’t remember if Gregor was in the first book and his sudden appearance as villain and mastermind evil doer is a bit sudden and confusing. By the end of The Runaway King, Sage/Jaron has gained the love of his people and now his kingdom is tumbling headlong into war. Frankly, I can’t wait for book number three of The Ascendance Trilogy, which we don’t know the publication date or even the name of yet! The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielson is a runaway hit.