Reviews for Runaway King

Booklist Reviews 2013 April #1
Jaron, aka Sage, is new to his throne and surrounded by intrigue in this follow-up to The False Prince (2012). As jammed with action and violent swordplay as its predecessor, the plot takes the headstrong Jaron into a pirate stronghold where dangers increase steeply as the young king, in disguise, wrestles with saving his kingdom. Needless to say, he is always, almost fatally true to his character--stubborn and determined to do things on his own. The ending introduces a cliff-hanger of a new threat and will leave fans clutching their skulls. It's never an easy thing to wait out the writing of a multiple-volume series. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Jaron has been king of Carthya for a month when an attempted assassination forces him into hiding, running away to the borders of his kingdom where he hopes to infiltrate the pirate camp and get to the bottom of things. This solid middle volume has its own arc, but still ends with a cliffhanger, an important villain on the loose, and a potential love triangle.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #2
Jaron has only been king of Carthya for a month when an attempted assassination leads his advisors to consider a regency until the boy comes of age. Forced into hiding, Jaron takes the offensive, running away to the borders of his kingdom where he hopes, ultimately, to infiltrate the pirate camp and get to the bottom of things. Once there, he is surprised to find Imogen, the girl he turned away from the castle in The False Prince (rev. 3/12) so that she would not become a pawn because of his affection for her. He is less surprised when Roden, his erstwhile friend and rival, shows up. Through various machinations of the plot, Jaron challenges the pirate king to a duel, emerges victorious, wins back Roden's allegiance, and remains maddeningly uncertain about his feelings for Imogen. Jaron barely has time to race back to the capital and put the regency plan to rest before he is attacked by the neighboring kingdoms. This solid middle volume has its own arc, but still ends with a cliffhanger, an important villain on the loose, and a potential love triangle between Jaron; his betrothed princess, Amarinda; and Imogen, now behind enemy lines. Nielsen's mix of adventure and intrigue with the barest hint of romance once again recalls Megan Whalen Turner and Suzanne Collins but is a great read in its own right. jonathan hunt

Kirkus Reviews 2013 January #2
Acknowledged as Carthya's rightful king in The False Prince (2012), shrewd prince Jaron disappears in a desperate, foolhardy attempt to save his life, his crown and his country in this action-packed second installment of the Ascendance Trilogy. Barely a month into his reign, 15-year-old Jaron faces rival regents, threats of invasion from neighboring Avenia, a betrothal to a complete stranger and a power-hungry captain of the Carthyan guard who longs to replace him. When he's brutally attacked in the castle gardens, Jaron finds he's in a perilous predicament. He must surrender himself to the destructive Avenian pirates within 10 days or they and their ally, King Vargan of Avenia, will destroy Carthya to get him. Rather than comply, Jaron eschews his few trusted friends and disappears from Carthya, intent on infiltrating the pirates, settling a debt with their conniving leader Devlin and converting enemies into allies. Assuming his former identity as orphan thief Sage, Jaron covertly enters Avenia alone, where he's eventually captured, injured and seemingly doomed. Ever flippant, Jaron narrates his story with dark humor. Readers will continue to find this arrogant, fearless, utterly reckless hero intriguing, fascinating and complex as he battles the odds to protect the kingdom and people he now holds dear. High adventure abounds with nail-biting drama. (maps) (Adventure. 8-14) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 January #3

In this solid sequel to The False Prince (2012), newly crowned King Jaron of Carthya, once a poor orphan known as Sage, must flee the kingdom he has just inherited in order to escape both would-be assassins and the misguided control of his incompetent regents. Although older and supposedly wiser than him, they refuse to believe the evidence that Carthya is about to be attacked by the neighboring kingdom of Avenia, which has made an alliance with the deadly pirates of Tarblade Bay. Jaron, as headstrong and sure of himself as ever (not to mention a terminal smartass), concocts a wild plan to singlehandedly defeat the wicked pirate king Devlin. Unfortunately, by refusing to take advice from anyone, Jaron manages to insult most of the people who are actually loyal to him. As in the earlier book, Nielsen tells an exciting, breakneck tale, and Jaron remains an entertainingly surly antihero; however, while the villains are certainly evil enough, they are perhaps too easily manipulated by the young king. Ages 10-14. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Mar.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 April

Gr 5-8--Jaron, aka Sage, from the The False Prince (Scholastic, 2012), has been king of Carthya for a month. On the night of his family's funeral, he is attacked by Roden, his former friend. The assassination attempt fails, but Roden warns him that pirates will destroy Carthya if he does not surrender in nine days. Knowing that the people closest to him are in the most danger, he sends Imogen away by pretending he no longer cares for her. Gregor, the captain of the guards, wants him to go into hiding and have a steward installed until he is of age, but Jaron has a plan. He will once again become Sage and go to the pirates alone. Through Fink, a local boy, Jaron joins a band of thieves whose leader, Erick, escorts him to the pirates. Once Jaron is branded as a pirate he must decide the best way to challenge Devlin, the pirate king, and stop the impending war against Carthya. Complicating matters is Imogen's presence as a serving girl, her attempts to save Jaron from himself, and the arrival of Gregor. The truth emerges after Roden returns from sea and paves the way for a resolution that satisfies everyone. Despite the intricate and often convoluted plot, this is a fast-paced and thrilling read with twists and turns that never let up. Students will likely devour it and eagerly anticipate the conclusion to the trilogy.--Kefira Phillipe, Nichols Middle School, Evanston, IL

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VOYA Reviews 2013 June
The saga of Jaron, who is also known as Sage, continues in Nielsen's sequel to The False Prince (Scholastic, 2012/VOYA February 2012). Jaron has ruled the medieval kingdom of Carthya for a very short time when he manages to foil an attempt on his life by his onetime friend, Roden, who has now teamed up with a ruthless group of pirates. Jaron realizes that an attack by the pirates is imminent and that the only way to save Carthya is for him to do away with them singlehandedly. Posing as a common thief, Jaron manages to infiltrate the band of pirates led by Devlin, the pirate king. After numerous twists of fate, he manages to defeat Devlin and his henchmen and return victoriously to Carthya as king This second book in The Ascendance Trilogy has no shortage of deception and intrigue, and even offers a touch of romance. Jaron is an ethical, mischievous character with a wry sense of humor, and the story is told in first-person from his perspective. Unfortunately, the other characters in the novel are rather flat, and it is difficult to feel any real empathy for or interest in the majority of them. While much of the action is lively, the plot tends to be convoluted and hard to follow in places. In spite of its shortcomings, however, this novel has plenty of heart. Readers who relish adventure stories and fiction about kings, queens, and their kingdoms will most likely enjoy this trilogy.--Dotsy Harland 3Q 3P M J Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.