The Runaway King is the second book in The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielson. Following the ending of the first book, The False Prince, this book opens up with Jaron/Sage as King to the crown. Jaron is trying to navigate this new life, which indecently is as criminal as his old life. This time Jaron doesn’t have to prove he is the long lost prince, but he has to prove that he is a worthy King, one who can give compassion to his people and keep the corrupted at bay. The only problem is, Jaron, all the corrupted people throughout his kingdom and others are vying for a piece of Jaron, because with his fall comes the spoils of his country. This time Jaron must face the pirates to find out which of his allies are trying to kill him and take over his lands.
Okay, confession time, I so disliked the first book. Not because it was terrible or did not have ridiculous moments, but because the book did not really get interesting until the last third of the book. Apparently the audience was not part of the deep dark secrets of Sage/Jaron (Sage is Jaron’s street name) until two thirds into the story. So, for the last third of that book I loved it. This installment is not any different, except that we are privy to most knowledge and the reason behind my initial dislike is Jaron’s treatment of Imogen. We all know they might end up together, but it is more than that. Imogen is the only friend Sage/Jaron have both known. She understands the prince and the pauper. Jaron, however, decides to rudely turn her away from his castle only leading to more trouble ahead for Imogen.
The best parts of the book begin and end with the pirates. Nothing good happens to our characters in Jaron’s castle or after the pirates (by “good” I mean benign not exciting… they could probably use sometime without excitement. With the pirates we get to see Sage again, and frankly I love Sage. He is ridiculously great “street rat,” the kind that makes every other criminal mastermind in this book look like a complete fool. Jaron/Sage does do some growing up in this book and I think he is learning the lesson that he is not alone. For fans of the first book, you will not be disappointed in this one.
Thanks Net Galley! 3.5/5 stars!