Review Blog

Oct 09 2013

The runaway king by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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The Ascendance trilogy, 2. Scholastic, 2013. ISBN: 9781407136752.
(Age: 12+) Recommended. In the second in The Ascendance trilogy, following The false prince,  (ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults 2013), Jaron is now acknowledged as the rightful king but all is not safe in his kingdom. There is danger on all sides: an attempted assassination, a traitor in the castle and regents who want him gone and a steward in his place. The king of Avenia, allied with the pirates, threatens his borders but his advisors don't believe there is a threat. Jaron, as gung-ho as ever, decides to go on a journey to the pirates to try and stop the war that he believes is coming.
In this rumbustious adventure Jaron sets out alone on a seemingly impossible quest. After some encounters with pirates who are raiding his people, he makes contacts and eventually reaches the pirates' stronghold. As you would expect from a book that is set mainly in a pirates' hide-out, fights, sneers, torture and imprisonment dominate, with Jarod's smart one-liners easing the tension.
Jarod's personality is what makes this series stand out. He is witty, often making wry comments that bring a smile to the face. His audacious nature leads him to surge forward on wild plans that leave the reader breathless and wondering what he will do next. His relationships with Imogen and Amarinda develop but romance is not the focus of this action packed book, rather it is the character development of Jarod and the fast paced action.
Readers who enjoyed The Ranger's Apprentice series will delight in finding another teen hero. Other similar books include the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan and Megan Whalen Turner's series, The Queen's thief about Eugenedes (The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, A Conspiracy of Kings), as well as The girl of fire and thorns by Rae Carson.
Pat Pledger

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