The second book in one of my favorite trilogies last year :)
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Title: The Runaway King
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy #2
Release date: 1st of March 2013
Published by: Scholastic Ltd
Imprint: Scholastic Children’s Book
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Adventure, YA
Pages: 324 in Paperback
Source: Bought from the Bookdepository
He is king, but he has no power. He lives in a castle, but has no safe place. He’s won the throne – but keeping it will be the game of his life.
Jaron used to be a pauper. Then he was a prince. Now he is the prey. Jaron is finally in his rightful place as king. But with traitors in his castle and enemies at the borders, he is far from safe. Now he must go undercover on a dangerous quest to find the truth behind his family’s murder. Sometimes being first in line for the crown means being first in the line of fire. For Jaron to safeguard his crown and avenge his family, the hunted must become the hunter…
The first book in the series is one of my favorites from last year and the journey continues in the anticipated sequel for which I had impossibly high hopes for. And while it didn’t knock me over like the first one did – weep – this was still a highly entertaining adventure read with twists and turns galore.
I was prepared for the craziest directions for the story to take, but since one can never predict or even guess what goes on in our hero Jaron’s head, then that was the case with the whole story as well – the plot was a perfect reflection of the main character. What I thought would occur didn’t come even close to reality and what I couldn’t imagine possible happed like it was no biggie. How all the events were wrapped up and how impossibly difficult and inescapable situations found closure was awesomely unpredictable and exciting, but I have to admit that some solutions and actions came across slightly far fetched. But, I’ll turn a blind eye as long as Jaron manages to amaze me with his utter lack of self-care, fear and ridiculously crazy, not to mention dangerous with a small percentage of success, plans of his.
The plot itself takes off basically right after the first book and the atmosphere and state of Jaron’s kingdom is as unstable as ever with him having to make several scarifies and take on some daring and risky journeys to even attempt to patch things up. Of course, nothing and no one is as what they seem. The diverse intentions, hidden agendas and 180 degree turn overs with various characters constantly kept me on my toes. We are presented new settings and facets of this fantasy world each with their colorful people, rules and discoveries. And in the end, I didn’t even have time to let go of the breath I was holding since something, that will probably make up the major conflict of the third book, was introduced with a bang.
Other things I liked: The subject matter and situations were highly unsettling and dangerous, but I didn’t feel that I was reading a depressing middle age themed read. The pace was incredibly fast without leaving you considerable time to catch your breath so you just enjoy the ride without thinking too much into the setting. The action is nonstop.
I worship Jaron, he’s incredibly unpredictable and reckless while managing to be exciting and charming without any effort. He is a master at strategies that most of the time seem like utter nonsense to others, but Jaron sees the (possible) outcome without having to go through the actual journey first. Or it can actually be that he’s just crazy and has endless amounts of luck – not that he is always left without any damage however. Still, he’s the boss. BUT, he came across a little too noble and goody goody in this book compared to the last and, while it’s great and that’s how he should be most of the time, I wanted to see him be more of a sneak and seemingly egoistic as in the first. Nevertheless, he’s by far one of my favorite adventure heroes.
From other characters, we were reunited with old favorites and met a lot of new faces as well. The dynamics of the three original prince candidates from the first book was still very much alive and interesting in this book, and it was fun to see how some aspects were concluded.
Still, one of my favorite adventure YA series at the moment and I expect nothing less but dazzling awesomeness from the final book of the series. I’m waiting!