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Title: The Runaway King (Ascendance Trilogy #2)
Author: Jennifer Nielsen
Year Published: 2013
My The Runaway King Pre-Reading
My The False Prince Review
My The False Prince Pre-Reading
Paul's The False Prince Review
Synopsis: 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!
Review: I didn't think it would be possible, but The Runaway King is even better than its predecessor! I found myself immediately drawn into Jaron's story and his world, and was so surprised when everything just.. ended. I was definitely not ready for this book to be over, and I'm so glad that Scholastic gave me an eARC of The Shadow Throne so that I don't have to wait to finish Jaron's story!
I really loved how calculating and smart and witty Jaron is. Yes, he does make really bad decisions sometimes and he gets himself into a lot of trouble, but he is always able to come up with a plan to get him out of those bad situations. And sometimes things don't go according to plan (things pretty much never go according to his plans, actually), but he still manages to figure something out. He never runs away from his problems, even if it seems like he is, and he uses his past experiences to help him get ahead. There's just so much I admire about him and I think he's an excellent role model for younger boys. Except the getting himself into trouble parts, don't do that.
It was also pretty interesting to watch him grow as a character. He learns more about friendships and the people in his life, and he learns that everything is not always what it seems. There's so many great lessons in this book! And all of the minor characters are just as great as Jaron. They're all multi-faceted and developed and it's so neat to see Jaron discover sides of them that he didn't know before.
The world building is also pretty phenomenal. We know quite a bit about Carthya from The False Prince, but now we get to learn more about Avenia and the borderlands between Carthya and Avenia and the land of the pirates. I love that this series has elements of high fantasy in it, but that it's written at a level that's appropriate for a younger audience that might not be familiar with or capable of reading high fantasy yet. It's like the perfect gateway drug!
Really, all of this book was just fantastic. If you've read The False Prince, you don't want to miss this book. I'm a little upset with myself for waiting so long to read it, but at least now I have no wait for The Shadow Throne! The ending will definitely leave you wanting more. I would recommend this to any fans of high fantasy, and to younger audiences looking for a thrilling ride full of mystery, secrets, pirates, fantasy, betrayal, and friendship! I did not want to put this book down, and devoured it all in one sitting. 5/5!