Monday, February 5, 2018

The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen | Book Review

The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen
The Ascendance Trilogy #2
Date Read: Jan 13 to 15, 2018
First Published: 2013
Paperback
Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating:
Re-Readability:
The thrilling sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen's blockbuster NEW YORK TIMES bestseller THE FALSE PRINCE -- now in paperback!
A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive?
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.
It's been a long time coming, but I finally set down and read the book. I've explained what happened with this series and me in my The False Prince review so I won't go into details again, but short recap; IT'S TOTALLY MY FAULT I DIDN'T READ IT SOONER, AND I REGRET IT, OKAY?

Phew, now that we've gotten the deep, shameful regret out of the way, let's talk The Runaway King.

So... the titular king. That's Jaron. I love Jaron. Did I mention before that I love Jaron? I feel like I did, once or twice. But just in case I didn't... I love Jaron. Like, so freaking much. This boy gives me life, okay?

I want to punch all those dumb people who deem him unfit to be king solely based on his actions as a young prince. They think him to be wild and reckless. And, granted, they're not wrong, but that's not all he is. Because all those wild and reckless actions are taken for other people's sakes. Jaron doesn't have a selfish, self-interested bone in his body. Have you ever met a selfless prideful man? It's very rare. All he does... he does for his country. That's his top--and almost only--priority. He has practically erased the word "self-preservation" from his vocabulary, or at the very least made it into a curse, in order to always put his country first.

HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE IT? HOW CAN YOU FAULT HIM FOR THAT? HOW CAN YOU DO ANYTHING BUT FOLLOW HIM!? I'm really unclear on all these.

Except... I'm not. Because this book is all about how Jaron wins over his people and assembles his court. How he changes their perception of him not by using words, but by using actions. And it is so extremely satisfying. My favorite book in The Queen's Thief series (I haven't read the latest yet) is The King of Attolia for exactly that reason.

There is something so gratifying about seeing this smart, precious, clever boy surprise, overpower and generally prove people wrong about him. It's incredibly inspiring to watch all these men and women, young or old, who have sneered in his face before, come to respect, follow and swear their loyalty to him.

Jaron really is a wonderful character. He makes this series, and he makes it great. Nielsen manages to make him a person you, as the reader, would like to follow. You are awed at his smartness. You are shocked by his bravery. You are wowed by his wit and humor, especially in the face of danger. And most of all, you are heartened by all he is willing to do for his people.

He proves himself to be the great leader no one ever thought he could be.

Now, there is only one thing I would like to request. For god's sake, PLEASE STOP HURTING MY BABY!! Just... just let some good things happen to him once in a while, okay?? why is that so much to ask??

For some reason, I have a feeling things are going to get worse before they get better. Which is going to be painful to read of. So... wish me luck. I'm going to need it if I want to finish this series without killing some of the bad guys myself for hurting my precious child, you monsters! 

Speaking of, the villain really sucked in this one. Which, I guess, makes sense. This book really wasn't about that, after all. Still, he kind of felt disposable. And he was. Oh well.

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