The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The Runaway KingInformation

Goodreads: The Runaway King
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy #2
Source: Purchased
Published: March 1, 2013

Official Summary

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!


With The Runaway King, Nielsen writes a magnificent follow-up to bestseller The False Prince, reintroducing readers to all their favorite characters and intrigues.  Sage passes through an initial period of anger, but once he gets a grip on his emotions, he is as clever as ever—something many writers find difficult to maintain over a series.  He is joined by gutsy Imogen, old enemy Roden, and a few unexpected new friends.

In addition to creating an evolving cast, Nielsen keeps the story fresh by moving the plot out of Carthya—straight into a pirate camp.  Sage and his friends have two new cultures to learn, that of rival kingdom Avenia and that of the pirates’ of Tarblade Bay.  How well they can adapt and blend in will determine how long they can keep their lives.  One suspects they must succeed (That’s what happens in modern children’s books, right?  The good guys win?), but Nielsen still keeps readers on the edges of their seats, introducing plot twist as plot twist.

Sage’s exploits in The Runaway King are as physically demanding as they are mentally.  Outwitting pirates often means backing them into a duel.  Sage exhibits remarkable strength and endurance through his ordeals, demonstrating his mind and body are as quick as his tongue—characteristics that will serve him well as the king he is meant to become.

Through all the action, The Runaway King promotes some great moral messages about doing what is right, maintaining loyalty, and sacrificing oneself when necessary.  The book is not preachy, however; ethical actions are simply something that permeate Sage’s worldview and thus the story.  The Runaway King tells readers that doing the right thing is tough, but it is worthwhile.

The Runaway King is a fast-paced middle grade adventure that will please fans of The False Prince with its wit, charm, and thoughtfulness.

Teaser Quote: “Afraid didn’t even begin to describe the terror I felt.  Pinched behind me, my hands still shook.  But I was angry with myself too.  Because for all my good intentions, it was obvious that I had been wrong to come here.  There were so many who would pay for my mistakes” (250-251).

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Screaming Staircase   Steelheart   The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

2 thoughts on “The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

    • Briana says:

      It’s fantastic! I would highly recommend it to anyone (well, people who like fantasy, at least). It has such a great mix of cleverness, action, and heart.


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