The Runaway King:Book 2 of the Ascendance Trilogy
In the first volume of the Ascendance Trilogy, THE FALSE PRINCE, Jennifer A. Nielsen tells the tale of her orphaned hero, Jaron, becoming king of Carthya. He survived pirates and evil kidnappers in order to make it home. What could go wrong now? Not long after, though, Jaron is in trouble --- big trouble --- in the second book in the series, THE RUNAWAY KING. Apparently, being a king isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially the part where you get all of those nasty enemies.
"Nielsen brings full-fledged epic fantasy to a younger demographic. She perfectly depicts a frustrated teen thrust into extraordinary circumstances that are seemingly beyond his means."
As the book opens, the kingdom of Carthya is grieving the loss of Jaron’s family. A funeral for them is about to take place, but Jaron decides not to attend. He doesn’t want to be bothered by the fake grief of the various court flunkies that would merely feign pain at the loss of their monarchs. Instead, Jaron decides to take a leisurely stroll into his favorite garden. Of course, that doesn’t go so well. While there, Jaron spots a black-clothed assassin and jumps him. Another killer makes his appearance and, lo and behold, it’s Roden --- Jaron’s former friend.
Along with Jaron, Roden had been kidnapped from a series of orphanages around the country and held by a malicious man named Bevin Conner. At that time, Roden only knew Jaron as the orphan Sage. Since Jaron reclaimed his ancestral throne, though, Roden’s gone into business with the menacing pirates of the nearby kingdom of Avenia. Roden demands that Jaron abdicate the throne --- as far as Roden knows, Jaron’s just another usurper, not the true-blooded heir he actually is --- and abandon his country. Otherwise, the pirates will decimate Carthya --- and will destroy Jaron’s loved ones.
Already in a pickle with his numerous regents, Jaron doesn’t know what to do. He spurns his only friend, Imogen, because he’s afraid that she’ll get hurt. His betrothed, Princess Amarinda, won’t miss him at all. His mortal enemy, the king of Avenia, is conveniently visiting Carthya at this very time. And his regents want to place a steward, or royal guardian, on the throne, until Jaron fully comes of age. It seems like no one will miss the young king as he disappears to save his country, but nothing could be farther from the truth. As Jaron ventures farther from the capital and into more distant territory, his throne --- and his very life --- might be in mortal danger.
Nielsen brings full-fledged epic fantasy to a younger demographic. She perfectly depicts a frustrated teen thrust into extraordinary circumstances that are seemingly beyond his means. What’s Jaron to do when he’s basically kicked out of his own kingdom? Get into trouble, of course, and avoid it at the same time --- just like any kid. How well will His Majesty be able to survive in a world where it seems like everyone’s out to get him? Read on to find out.
Reviewed by Carly Silver on April 3, 2013