Book review: The Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy #2), by Jennifer A. Nielsen

**mild spoiler alert**

I am totally in too deep with this book. It took me only two days to finished this book; I can actually finished it in one single sitting, but with other responsibilities nagging for my attention, I had to divide my time equally. This book was definitely still as action-packed like the first one, although to be perfectly honest, the first one was still the best because it literally kept me on the edge of my seat, while the second one had its fair share of predictable moments and storyline.

We are back with Jaron’s adventure (and I use this word lightly) towards being the King that Carthya needs, while making sure Carthya is safe from its hostile neighbours. Knowing how lies and treasons are being weaved by the people around the throne from the the first book, surely one is to expect that the same thing were to happened in the second book; what I didn’t expect is that it happened between the first few pages of the first chapter. This book really does not like wasting time (and pages), it just goes straight into business (and I like it that way). To be honest, I kind of got bored already with the whole treason and betrayal plot, but what do you expect from a story set in the medieval era? Of course that should be the basic premise, right? Thankfully we are given Sage (at this point, I’m just going to refer Jaron as Sage, simply because I hate the name Jaron) as the main character; his wit and sassiness just saved me from all the boring betrayal plots in a medieval story.

What’s amazing from this book is how the author channels Sage’s frustration at trying to run the kingdom, knowing that he doesn’t have that many people he can trust and not to mention he might not have the people’s favour on his side (and let’s not forget the fact that he is just a fourteen year old boy, this will come handy on the later part of my review). I can almost scream and pull on my hair out of frustration at how hard it must be to be Sage at that moment; he just suddenly got crowned as a king of a kingdom that he thought he would not return to, he lost his entire family, he doesn’t know who to trust, most of the regents he knew are vying for his position, and yadda yadda. I couldn’t even think what I would have done if I were him.

Remember when I complained about how the author didn’t give that much explanation as to what Carthya and its neighbouring countries are like? Yeah, well, thankfully the author gave us a better look into what Carthya and its neighbouring countries this time, albeit only so far as to Tarblade Bay near Avenia. But, so far it’s good enough for me. Now, a little bit of complaint in regards of the characters that Sage encounter in the second book. Erick and Devlin are the characters that I find troubling the most, simply because they were suppose to be a bad guy, right? Like, really bad and evil and what have you. But, turns out it was like a simple magic wand was waved in front of Erick for him to turn all nice and gooey and supportive of Sage. Yeah, it seems to be too good to be true. Then there’s Devlin who supposedly is the King of Pirates (ooohh, scary.. except that, it’s NOT). Sure, he’s mean and had no soul (according to Sage’s observation) apart from wanting wealth and death, but to actually got beaten by Roden that easily? True, he was already wounded when he was fighting Sage the first time, but…. really? Yeah, I don’t buy it. I know that the author really doesn’t like wasting time for unnecessary things, but I think the sudden change of Erick and the defeat of Devlin is a bit too quick and convenient for Sage, right?

Well, enough about complaining for now. As I’ve mentioned before, the story was a little bit predictable this time around, but even so there are still some things that you don’t guess at all so you’ll get nervous a bit when it did happened. The ending was very climatic but a bit predictable, in the sense that I can already imagine what the main premise would be for the third book, and I don’t know if I am happy with my guess or not. Okay, now back to a bit of complaining again. I liked to think that the stakes are higher in this book than the first one, but the thing is, the turn of events that were happening in the book felt illogical to me, mostly those affecting some of the characters that were deemed evil and had the upper hand in the beginning of the book (again, I will mention Erick and Devlin, and Gregor also).

Did I enjoy it?

Are you kidding me? Of course I did. Even with those complaints, I still enjoy this book and if it weren’t for my thesis deadline, I would have read the third book since yesterday. The characters are definitely enjoyable, just like in the first book, although I am not of a fan at how Imogen is being portrayed in the second book; it’s as if she lost her spark and now she is no more than an additional condiment to Sage and the whole story (bad move, Jen). Looking at the bigger map of the world in this book, I liked the fact that Carthya was a landlocked country; it made the fact that Carthya is vulnerable to the incoming attack by its neighbour brings about the epic battle that is (hopefully) to come in the third book.

Favourite Character

Still Sage obviously, but here I will complaint something about Sage. What does a fourteen year old knows about love? I don’t mean to be condescending or anything, but, seriously, what does a fourteen year old knows about love? And I mean, love for your opposite sex (or same sex) and not love to your family. Put it this way, when I was fourteen I was still in junior high school, and not only that I was not yet familiar with the concept of love (it was not nine years later that I got around into what love is; okay, that might have something to do with me being a late bloomer), I didn’t even have the brain capacity to comprehend teenagers’ life much less about love. But then again, this was supposed to be a fourteen year old in medieval time, so maybe they are much more grown up than fourteen year olds in my time.

I also found a liking in Tobias, because he was one of the very few people who holds his promise dear. He promised that he would be loyal to Sage, and he proved it so. I have a huge appreciation for Tobias, although I think he deserves a much more significant role in the third book. We need more of a wise person like Tobias; he proved his worth by writing that lengthy essay while he was posing as King Jaron that eventually saved and secured Jaron’s position as the legit King of Carthya. That deserves a credit, right?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Runaway King

Series: The Ascendance Trilogy

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Goodreads link

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, Children’s, Adventure




4 thoughts on “Book review: The Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy #2), by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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