Double Monster Review: The Runaway King

Double Monster Review: The Runaway KingThe Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy #2
Published by Scholastic Press on March 1st 2013
Pages: 352
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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: The False Prince

 

 

Ever since I finished the last page, I have been digesting The Runaway King. Sifting through my feelings. Thinking about the turn of events. How this installment was different from The False Prince. To be honest, processing my feeling is not going to be an easy thing to do.

Let's start with why I wanted to read The Runaway King so much. The False Prince is hands down one of the best debuts I have ever read. Beautifully written. Amazing characters. I love that book so very much. And deep down inside, going into this second installment, I had a feeling that this series could not and would not let me down. But the problem with hyping a book up in your mind is that sometimes things just don't come together like you hoped.

I knew going into The Runaway King that the formula / format this time around would be different. Sage is now Jaron, and has been accepted as King. But due to his age, Jaron transitioning into being King is not as easy as it first appeared. As events begin to unfold, Jaron knows that the best solution for himself and for his kingdom is to stake it out on his own.

Jaron, who probably will forever be just Sage, to me, was exactly the same character I fell in love with in The False Prince. He is not the easiest character to get along with, but I just love him to pieces. The Runaway King also gives us glimpses of who Jaron can become. No longer is he some street rat to be overlooked. He really grew up in this installment. And I loved every minute of his growth.

Jennifer A. Nielsen brings the magic back in this second installment. But I will admit that something felt lacking. For me, everything felt easier this time around. In The False Prince, there was a grittiness to the read. And sometimes it wasn't pretty. But with The Runaway King, the grittiness is gone, and is replaced by certain pieces of plot falling easily into place. I don't mind how all the pieces fell, I just wish that certain aspects had been a little more difficult to attain or drawn out.

Final Verdict:

I went into the The Runaway King expecting it to be exactly like The False Prince. It wasn't. But that's okay. In the end, I didn't want to read The False Prince version 2.0. But I did want the magic to be the same. Was it? Yes and No. The characters, the writing, all of the major components sparkle. I just wish that the resolution of the major issues had not come together as they had. It felt too easy, and cheapened the overall experience.

Will I read the next installment?

Duh. Although, at this moment, the set up, based on the ending of The Runaway King, for book three seems weak, in my humble opinion, I will most definitely be on board for the next installment. There is very little that will keep me away from finding out what happens to Sage… I mean Jaron.

 

There are books that you just have to read in one sitting, and this is one of them. I found that with the first book, The False Prince, it was hard to put down for long as well. I really was a bit nervous about the second book because Jaron was now King and I hoped it would not be lacking in excitement. I love political intrigue, but I need action as well. My thoughts were quickly put at ease, as we find Jaron fleeing from the castle to keep himself safe from assassination.

Of course, nothing is simple with Jaron and we find him quickly diverting back to his Sage character, deciding that he needs to solve his problems at the source. Why wait for the pirates to come kill him, when he can go to them and hopefully things will turn out for the best. And to do that, he must ditch his company and travel on his own, so that he can single-handedly squelch the problem.

I really love Jaron, especially when he reverts back to a more Sage-like character. It truly is a part of him and I love his brash attitude and no holds barred mannerisms. What else do I love about these books? Strong female characters! We have Imogen, the one who Jaron truly cares for and ends up saving his butt even after Jaron cruelly makes her leave (for her own safety, of course…).

Fink was my newest favorite character, a young boy who joins with the pirates with Jaron who was part of the group of thieves. He just reacts in such a funny way to all the things "Sage" is doing and he really grew on me to the point I was really hoping nothing bad would happen to him.

The real charm of these books is the humor written within. I just love the characters in these books and cannot wait to find out what will happen next. If I'm going to be honest, the only flaw was some of the fighting was a bit.. over the top and exaggerated. There's a part also where Sage has a broken leg and still picks a fight – which sort of works with his personality, but he should have been in a LOT more pain.

Final Verdict:

A fairly solid middle novel with a couple of flaws, but overall, great characters and a nicely paced plot.

Will I read the next installment? 

Definitely! I'm not sure where the last book will take us and I'm looking forward to seeing how Jaron fares during his next adventure.

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