Thursday, April 25, 2013
The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Release Date: March 1, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Just weeks after Sage 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 Sage 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 Sage 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? (courtesy of Goodreads with name changes by me.)
The Runaway King is the follow-up to The False Prince. The False Prince was my favorite book of 2012. I've already read it 3 times! The Runaway King is just as good as its predecessor, although in a different way.
Sage has ascended to the Carthyan throne. But of course his problems don't end there. To thwart a planned assassination and threat of war, Sage goes on the run. But Sage isn't running from anyone. Instead, he's running to the culprits to beat them at their own game.
I often felt like I was reading a book featuring a brand new character in The Runaway King. Sage was so different than in The False Prince. He was more doubtful, scared, and prone to do stupid things. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized Sage was exactly the same. Due to the nature of The False Prince, Sage hid most of his inner thoughts and emotions from the other characters but also from the reader. He came off as cocky and supremely capable when in reality he was probably just as nervous as he is in The Runaway King. Not to worry, Sage is incapable of being a withering daisy. He still has a smart-aleck comment for every situation. He still manages to get himself into and out of impossible difficulties.
Nearly all our favorite characters from The False Prince play a role in The Runaway King as well as a few new people. Sage is reluctant to trust anyone or accept help. This is the book where Sage realizes that he is stronger when he has the support of his friends. Mott and Imogen serve as Sage's closest friends and advisers - the ones who will tell him when he's being an idiot, but do their best help him anyway. I loved seeing how Sage's relationship with Roden evolved.
The Runaway King is just as full of action as The False Prince. In fact I think there's more. It took a few chapters to get going, but once it did, I was glued to my iPhone/Kindle. The False Prince was predictable in many ways - well, to pretty much everyone except for me...I was completely surprised. The plot in The Runaway King shifted again and again in directions that few readers would expect as Sage ingratiates himself with the pirates.
As in The False Prince, romance is deemphasized. There's a hint of a love triangle, but it's so subtle that even the most fervent love triangle hater won't be bothered. It's rather refreshing to read an adventure novel that values action above romance.
The Runaway King is a must read for anyone who loved The False Prince. And if you haven't read The False Prince yet, shut your computer down and pick it up! With both books, you'll laugh at Sage's sarcasm, gasp at the surprising plot turns, and smile as you go for an amazing ride.