‘The Runaway King’ Review

Title: The Runaway King

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Genre: YA fiction (Middle grade), Adventure, Fantasy, Romance (I don’t think there is much romance…)



Look at this cover. Why does the UK get better covers?!?!

Premise: This premise is picking up after the first book (It’s been too long, and I can’t do a review for it. Sorry.) Jaron, or Sage, is now on the throne. But the threat of Avenia coming to attack is looming overhead. And Jaron is still hung up over his family’s deaths. Which creates an interesting twist. He goes to the pirates after discovering that they are the ones who helped Connor kill his parents and brother. (Aka pretty boring premise.)

Plot: The plot. Well! Jaron is obviously not fit for a king. I mean…you are a rash, irresponsible little boy! You run around wildly. You do things only idiots do. I understand you did it for your kingdom, but there are better ways. Going to the pirates was total bull to begin with. Going to the pirates and trying to become one then go back to your kingdom which is the opposing kingdom to the pirates? Complete and utter foolishness. Then, Imogen shows up. Wow. Nice plot twist there. But but but! She is going to end up as his love interest? No. This book has too much confusion to add in Imogen and her little secrets. And Amarinda told her to? Nuh-uh. That is terrible.

Character Development: I don’t think really any characters change in this book. I see that Jaron does. He goes from idiot to an idiot who succeeded. I do think the best change is in Roden. He is by far one of my favorite characters in this book. He feels the sting of betrayal. He does rash things. He is good at sword fighting but not amazing good like Jaron is. Amarinda does have changes. She changes just a bit. Not too much. And not enough, if you ask me. I think Amarinda and Jaron have potential. They could change. Jaron could be less reckless, but recklessness seems to be part of his personality. I guess…that is understandable. He has weight on his shoulders he didn’t have before.


Is it bad to say he looks really cute in this picture?

Problems: Problems… Mmm. It’s labeled ‘romance’ on Goodreads, but the only romance is between Imogen and Jaron. Yet we see none of that. It is not romance. They have strong feelings. That is true. They might love each other. I see. But Imogen just isn’t…right. The story could have ended simply with Imogen and Jaron leaving each other for good.

But no.

It had to be a trilogy! I can’t believe it. Jaron has his kingdom. The trust in his people. Roden. Amarinda. But. He has to go and have problems with an invasion. YAY! I get to read another book in this series I don’t particularly like! –cheers- There is just something I can’t wrap my head around. Where in the good graciousness does Jaron learn these things? Lock picking. Fighting. Sword fighting. And how did Imogen learn that potato and burn trick? I mean…this seems a bit like god modding in the roleplay world. The author has given these characters such…amazing minds (to keep this all sweet and nice.) I’ll assume he learned them from his ‘orphan’ days. Yet…you wonder if he CARED to go back home. Wouldn’t you miss luxury? Wouldn’t you want to go back? I mean…dude! Seriously?

I honestly don’t think there is much good about this. I like how the character is young, but he seems a bit too young to take the throne. Why isn’t there a steward in place already? He’s like…fourteen for goodness sake! He can’t run a kingdom. He can barely comprehend his own self!

I do think that Mott should be there more. He really is a character just trying to look out for Jaron. But Jaron has to be an idiot and go trampling over Mott’s kindness. Gosh, Jaron! Get it under wraps!


Score: 5/10

Recommended: If you liked the first book. If you like a character who does idiotic and rash things. If you simply like kings doing un-kingly things.




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