Review: The Runaway King
Title: The Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy #2)
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Published: 1 March 2013
Format: Hardback, Library book.
Favorite Character: Imogen
Memorable Quote: “Everyone gets scared at times. It’s only the fools who won’t admit it.”
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Synopsis: Jaron has taken back his rightful place as king, or he’s trying to at least. As a young, outspoken king, he is not taken seriously by those around him. However after an assassination attempt, Jaron must flee the throne and his kingdom of Carthya and head into a much more deadly situation. With rumors of war surrounding him, Jaron must make difficult choices to save his kingdom. Treason, pirates, and murder, are just the beginning of the young king’s worries
Review: *Heads up…. This book is the second in a series. I never reviewed the first book, The False Prince, since I read it before my blog was a thing. I hope this review makes sense, but if you haven’t read the first book…. THIS IS YOUR SPOILER WARNING**
As an adult (sort of), reading this book, I find Jaron to be a bit of a pain and definitely annoying. But I can definitely see how younger teen readers would really enjoy his character, especially his quick wit and ability to get out of just about any situation. If anything, this book was like a younger Name of the Wind to me.
I appreciate that Jaron was pretty much age-appropriate. He acted like a young teenage boy, or at least, I assume he acts how one in charge of an entire kingdom that’s on the brink of war might act…. or might want to act. Some of the stunts he pulls off are difficult to believe, but I think that’s what makes this book so appealing to younger readers. The impossibleness of it all.
In terms of the story itself, there were a few things that bothered me that I can’t quite go into because, spoilers. Mostly, I just felt that Roden fell flat and that there was some major plot holes in how his scenes and actions as a character were written. Things wrapped up a bit too nicely.
The pirate aspect of the story was cool, but underwhelming. The pirates that were presented were not quite what I expected, so I guess I wish they had been more pirate-like? Their code was never fully explained and they didn’t seem to do much, which made the story drag a bit.
The pacing of The Runaway King was solid, but it just felt like it was lacking something overall. I think this book hit a little bit of a second book slump, although I think it did it’s job of setting of the third book, which I have high hopes for.
As a librarian, I would still suggest this book series to reluctant readers. It’s labeled as a teen book, but the writing could work for younger teens and upper middle grade. The pacing and storyline move along nicely, and I do think younger readers will be fascinated by Jaron’s determination and outspoken-nature.
Did you read The Runaway King? What did you think?