Friday, March 14, 2014

|ARC REVIEW| The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Review by: Kaede
Release Date: March 1st, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 331

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!

*An advance copy of this book was provided for review purposes. However, all opinions remain honest and my own.* 

Warning: Spoilers for The Runaway King will be properly marked, but I would not recommend reading on if you have not read The False Prince for reasons you will understand if you read the fabulous first book. But if you are curious what I thought, if you were within distance from me I would force you to sit down and love this series because it is wonderful. 

I am quite fortunately not literally drowning in a puddle of feels (because that would be embarrassing since puddles don't reach very high), but I certainly feel like I am. I wish I could write my entire review in fangirly .gifs because it would be so much easier, but alas, it is impossible and not the reason you might think. So I shall have to go the old-fashion way with words. And I don't think my reading experience was fair. I was not mentally prepared for The Runaway King and nobody thought that warning me would be nice. Sure, go ahead and tell me how good the next book in this series is and how if I loved The False Prince, I'll love the rest of them but coincidentally leave out the mess I'll be in when I finish it and realize the next book is the last. There will be no more Jaron. No more. No more. No more. No more. I can't believe there's no more. I am obviously not handling this well. 

From the day I finished The False Prince, I knew that I was going to love this series. I didn't quite dawn on my how much I would love this series though, and if you haven't guessed, I love it a lot. I really enjoy reading middle grade books, but a lot of the times you can tell that the novel is written in a particular style because of it's targeted audience. There are a few select middle grade series that I do feel are written so well they can appeal to a wide audience of all age and The Ascendance trilogy is one of them. 
"I know you've got some heavy concerns," Mott said. "But we are friends. You can tell me everything."

I shook my head. "No, Mott. Not everything, because you are my friend."
I think we'll just get started on how much I love Jaron. I loved all of the characters in this book, the familiar faces and the new ones - except for the people we're supposed to hate. But I have a particular, special place for Jaron and his hilarious sarcasm in the worst situations. Jaron reminds me a bit of Ciel Phantomhive, in that he has seen a lot and knows perhaps a bit too much of how cruel the world can be. Jaron is very cleverly witty, so much so that the things he can't help but say end up getting him in bad situations. But then you realize that some of the things he says are very deep and can make you think. For me, the particular quote above actually made me put this book down - it was upsetting to do so, I promise - and think a little about how sometimes you don't share everything with a friend you value. And it's because you value you them that you don't want them to share the burden you have, or sometimes you just can't bring yourself to let them feel what you are feeling. For Jaron, who cannot call many people true friends, he'll do anything he can to protect the ones he has. 

I DO NOT CARE. I am adding him to my list of fictional boyfriends, and I would've done it just because he's damn awesome with a sword but of course I have other reasons too, because obviously my list isn't that easy to get into....

You know what they say: Honesty is the best policy.

Spoiler: [Mild]
When Jaron defects Devlin's knife with the flat side of his sword so easily, OH MY GOD MY FANGIRL FEELS. Nothing says boyfriend material like easily defecting incoming dangerous knives from a pirate king, right? 

Mott was my second favorite character because he has all of the wonderful traits. A certain protectiveness, an invaluable loyalty to his king and country, and a willingness to sacrifice himself for Jaron that I hope we will never need. I have a hard time picturing Mott as anything but a mid-20 year old man though, and when Erick mentioned that he was bald, I went

For a second I didn't believe he was talking about Mott, even though it made no sense for him to be referring to Harlowe. I knew that Mott wasn't in his 20s, but for some reason I was really surprised to hear that he was bald. 

I'm considering every character that isn't Jaron a secondary character, and the ones we were meant to like, I loved. In the beginning, I even liked one of the characters that didn't turn out to be very likable in end. I was a little hesitant to like Fink and Erick in the beginning, but I ended up really liking them. They were great characters who just needed the chance to do the right thing. I definitely wasn't much of a fan of Rowan at first, for obvious reasons, but when he makes a re-appearance I started liking him towards the end. And you know, he was pretty badass too so it didn't hurt. 

Because this is a middle-grade novel, the romance doesn't dominate as you would expect in young adult. The romantic aspects are there, but it's far from the main focus. I'm not in love with the romance, but I do like to see our main couple together because I think they complement each other well. 
"If he's the boy I knew at Farthenwood, then his people will follow him to the devil's lair and back."
In the beginning of The Runaway King, Jaron is no longer that boy who didn't have much of anything. He's a king with people who serve him, and he definitely doesn't hesitant when ordering people around, and I can definitely see how it might come off the wrong way to some people. For some reason, I personally wasn't very bothered by it. But even if you didn't like Jaron in the beginning, he goes through so much that by the latter half that I think most people will at least start really liking his character again. I definitely respected Jaron as well, for his extreme loyalty to his country, that in turn inspires loyalty from the people around him.

You know how much I seem to love drawing manga references these days, so I'll make another one. Whenever pirates come into play, the first thing that naturally comes to my mind is One Piece. And if you remind me of One Piece, then I automatically like you. And these pirates in The Runaway King aren't all show and no game, but I liked that they drew the line at women and children because it was interesting that even people like the pirates have a system of moral codes. 

There was a point where I felt like the way something was done was a bit strange, but Jennifer A. Nielsen definitely didn't let me down. There was a reason I had some of the minor problems I had, and that was surprising, but satisfying. 

 Spoiler: [Mild]
When Jaron's attacked in the beginning of the novel and his Captain of the Guard sees his injury, his lack of much concern threw me off. I thought it was strange, but I certainly didn't attribute that to him being disloyal, because I'm picturing in my head this character that reminds me of Chaol from the Throne of Glass series that everybody loves. And if you're loved, you usually aren't evil, right? It was a bit sad at first to see his betrayal, but pfft, we all know Rowan will be a better Captain then you in time. :P I also really liked that Jaron becomes "Sage" again in this book too.

“You wouldn't want to be king of my country," I said.

"Why is that?"

"Well, you're rather fat. I doubt you'd fit onto my throne."
There's great sarcastic humor in The Runaway King, and action to match. There are also fun characters to guide you on this journey filled with lies, pirates, and enemies to face. I definitely questioned some of the choices Jaron made, but Jaron is a very calculating and smart character, and some of the obvious mistakes I thought he made were planned from the start, which left me a bit impressed. If you are a fantasy, I'd definitely recommend this series for all ages. I'm not sure if I liked the first book more, or this one, but I think we all know the important thing here is that war is coming

5 coffee cups!




Contact Kaede: 
Goodreads: Kaede
Twitter: Kami178xx

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This sounds like an AWESOME read Keade! It's always great when you're able to connect to characters in the way you did; it makes reading so much more fun! And the characters certainly seem really well-developed and interesting! And I love the fact that there's romance, but it kind of stays in the background! That's always awesome!

    Anyways, thanks so much for sharing Kaede, and, as always, brilliant review!