Jaron is just a boy. His parents and brother are dead as the result of an assassination, and he must assume his rightful place as the new king of Carthya. Only a few weeks ago Jaron himself was thought to have been killed years ago by pirates, until it was discovered that his dad hid him away in a life on his own. Jaron has been a survivor, and he'll need the skills he learned all those years on his own now more than ever because many people want him dead, including the pirates he escaped years before. Jaron is forced to flea the castle and his homeland to keep Carthya from going to war. Jaron is unpredictible and irresponsible, and no one believes he has what it takes to be king. On the run, he makes what most will believe to be some of the most reckless actions of his life. Will he survive? Will he rise to the challenge of being king?
THE RUNAWAY KING by Jennifer Nielsen is the second book in her Ascendance Trilogy. I loved the first book for the incredible twist at the end. I loved this book even more because it delves so much deeper into the character of Jaron. He's had a rough life, and much of his life he's had to be unquestionably selfish in order to survive. Now he is Carthya's king, and a former friend is trying to kill him. His arrogance shines through on almost every page of the story, and you wonder if he'll ever get past this major flaw in his character. You even wonder if he even cares about the people of Carthya. But as the story goes along, and Jaron does things that seem really stupid and counterproductive, you begin to see a different side of him. It's the reason why he does what he does in this story that blew me away in the end.
THE RUNAWAY KING is a uniquely told hero's journey about a boy who seems destined to be a rescuer, even though everything about him would say otherwise. Nielsen kept me turning pages all the way to the end. It's action-packed, emotionally-stirring, and the end made me really wish I could go ahead and dive into the third book. I was quickly recommending this book to friends even as I read it, and Nielsen will be an author whose work I will continue to look forward to with an expectation that I'm about to read another great story.
Review copy provided by Scholastic
Photo Credit: Scholastic