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The Runaway King

(The Ascendance Trilogy #2)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  30,514 ratings  ·  3,260 reviews
The thrilling sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen's blockbuster NEW YORK TIMES bestseller THE FALSE PRINCE -- now in paperback!

A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive?
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 cas
Hardcover, 331 pages
Published March 1st 2013 by Scholastic Press
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Kyla The next book after The Runaway King is #3, The Shadow Throne

Community Reviews

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Jennifer Nielsen
Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I admit it. I'm biased. This was a lot of fun to write, and I hope you have fun reading it!

Mostly I wanted to thank those of you who have read this book and been so enthusiastic about this series. Every one of you who has picked up the book has my gratitude.
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-fantasy
I have so many feelings about this right now.
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Just... Imogen and Jaron.

..Why this star-crossed lovers situation?! Why Jennifer Nielsen?!?!?!?!

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As if I haven't suffered enough from Percy and Annabeth at the end of The Mark of Athena. Sheesh.

Princess Amarinda is a nice young lady and all, I mean we simply cannot hate her. But come on... we all know Jaron and Imogen are MEANT to be together.

They are the couple right next to Percy and Annabeth. That's right, PERCABETH.

Now, I think Jennifer Nielsen did a wonderful job at recapturing Jaron's stu
Feb 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Right in front of you is a mouth-watering pudding which whispers promises of a guaranteed time in heaven with each bite but just as you've your first bite, you realize something is missing. You're sure tour taste buds made a mistake because looks can't be that deceiving, right? So you take another bite. This time toy realize something is definitely missing, maybe low sugar content. But you still eat because the same chef just yesterday made the best chocolate pie in the world and it's pudding af ...more
Experiment BL626
After the awesomeness that was book 1 — read my review for book here, I held high expectation for book 2. Woah did I regret doing that. Book 2 exercised my suspension of disbelief hard. Immediately, there were signs portending disappointment. Towards the ending, they bloomed like prickly weeds, and I was left with a rather bitter taste as if I literally ate a weed.

+ the protagonist
Jaron bugged me. He was rude to the people who didn’t deserve it. No, I did not care it was intended to distance and
Simona Bartolotta
Very entertaining and never boring, but I preferred the first one.

RTC (perhaps)
Rachel Maniacup
I've never been so happy after reading a second book in a trilogy! This series changed everything I've dreaded when reading a 2nd book because it is often times the downer,do you agree?

And now,I am telling you that this is the perfect sequel to the first book,that I found myself instantly drawn into the story as it picks up where the first one ended. And again,I loved everything in this book as the story and the adventures of the MC resumed to amaze me. If you loved SAGE in The False Prince,you'
Madison ♡
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: proreview
Curse you Jennifer A. Nielsen. Curse you for ripping out my heart and stepping on it and making me die a sad, bookless death. Ugh.
Like, seriously.
Okay, let's start with characters. Roden actually showed dimension! We didn't see much of Tobias, but I liked him when I read about him. Let's just say this: WHY DO ALL MY FAVORITE CHARACTERS BECOME EVIL OR DIE? Good thing my favorite character decided to be awesome in the end.
Now, in my review for The
Cait • A Page with a View
This one kind of dragged at times and the plot wasn't as twisty and fun as the first book. I wasn't really laughing quite as much here, either, but it was still fine overall. I finished the book... but I'm not really in a rush to get the third one now.

And I know this series is listed as middle grade, but it feels more like YA at times. If you like medieval settings or snarky/witty main characters (like Artemis Fowl), then I'd recommend this!
Feb 08, 2016 rated it liked it
P a t h e t i c.

Guys, I have a white flying unicorn. A flying unicorn that vomits ice-cream and is glittery. When it farts a genie appears that grants wishes.
Do you believe me? Prolly not. I don't believe me either. But nice thought, eh? Exactly like this book. All sorts of unrealistic things happened in this book but somehow I liked it enough to give it three stars.

In this second instalment King Jaron is attacked. Not with affectionate hugs or something like that (pun intended) but an attempt
Robin (Bridge Four)
The False prince was a fast and fun tale that had a nice twist at the end that made the book all the more enjoyable. While I liked the Runaway King it didn’t quite capture the same feel as the first book. Sage now Jaron is King of a land on the brink of war. But he isn’t quite the same boy, he is a little bit snarky with everyone around him to the point that it is almost annoying and slightly whiney. But I guess I might be a little hostile is someone tried to assassinate me in the very first cha ...more
Flashback to 2012: The False Prince was coming out, and I really, really wanted to read it.  It had been a long time since I'd been so excited for the release of a non-sequel book.  And when I finally read it, it was awesome.  Not five-stars awesome, but pretty close. 

And then this book happened.  It's rare for a sequel to improve on its predecessor, but Jennifer Nielson pulled it off.  I applaud her for that.  At this rate, the finale of this series will be utterly fabulous.

This book is just
Aug 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-books
This was of a similar quality to the first book in the series. It was a fast paced and fun read even if it does not have the most complex of plots. This is a book aimed at younger readers so the heroes a heroes and the villains are villains! Despite that the characters are a likeable and interesting bunch and the plot held my attention.

The story picks up where things ended in The False Prince with Jaron now being crowned King. Unfortunately for Jaron this is just the start of his problems as ne
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
3.5-4 stars. It was a slow read for awhile, the first half of the book seemed to drag on a bit. However it's a quick read and the last 100 pages or so definitely make up for the previous 200. I really think this is another example of second book syndrome, it just didn't come close to being as good as the false prince, and kind of left me feeling like I wanted more. (which is a good thing in a trilogy I guess?) I mean it's still a really good book and I'm super excited for the third, so it succee ...more
Alice Cai
Sep 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: dnf, 3-star
3* dnf: 228/331 (Just read the first book which is amazing.)

I quit in the middle of this a few months ago. I thought I was being unfair so I got it again from the library a few days ago. Turns out past me was right. This does suck ass. The first book is amazing read that instead.

Edit to this review a few months later:
The main character Sage is annoying in this one. He just seems reckless and arrogant and not so awesome anymore. There was a point where I literally could not push myself to read an
May 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
That was incredible! Truly. The beginning was a little slow, but once it got going, I was so hooked. This book has such a mixed bag for what my friends on goodreads end up rating it, but I thought it was amazing. I loved the additional characters. I loved the old characters. I loved the plot and the direction the story is going. I just loved it.
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
This was a really good second book!!! I love listening to this on audio! It's so good. Overall rating is a: 4.5 stars!(:
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
Buddyread with the lovely Melissa starting on the 14th :)

Tried but this one, for me anyway.... failed to live up to the charm of the first book. It started off okay but I got frustrated with some of the writing and decisions Jaron made. It did start to get more interesting once Jaron's plan came into being but by then I just couldn't anymore.

Aah well, on to the next
Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My reaction when I was accepted by Netgalley:

 photo tumblr_mh3m8c7JlD1rn7wkmo1_400_zpsc9a57973.gif

The first novel in the Ascendance Trilogy, The False Prince, literally changed my life forever. Every time I was caught in a sticky situation, I immediately asked myself, "What would Sage do?" In fact, I was surprised that I even had the ability to talk coherently or function like a normal human being after I finished it. Jennifer Nielsen is that good! So when I saw that the sequel already had a epic name and donned a simple yet intriguing cover, I w
Apr 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

I listened to this on audio with my kids, who remain very engaged with the series, and want to start the last book immediately! That definitely makes it worth rounding up.

I thought this was a good follow up to the first book, The False Prince. The plot and the characters aren't overly complex, but the story continues to be told in an entertaining and engaging way that makes it interesting for all of us. I do like the fact that now everything is out in the open, we get to see a bit mor
R.F. Gammon
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun and emotional, basically. I need the third one pronto. *weeps* *laughs* *dies*
Nicay │The Nerdy side of a Queen

After Jaron, the new King took his throne in Carthya, it didn’t end well as I think. Everyone except the one he knows didn’t agree with his control over the country. Many of them gave their opinions that he was reckless in terms of decision making and he was too young to be a King. And the regents decided that he must replace by a steward or a representative in the throne until he is ready to take it. The regents especially the captain didn’t believe there would be an attack in Carthya by the
Lindsey Rey
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, fantasy
[4.5 Stars]
Colleen Houck
I am amazed at Sage's level of endurance. He puts up with way, way more than I'd be able to tolerate. I am nowhere close to his level of heroic. Poor guy! Interesting to be immersed in the world of the pirates. Some scary guys there. Moving on to book three!
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
It wasn't a good sign when I hit a scene a few pages into the book and actually put it down to sigh in disappointment. After really loving the False Prince, how could I be so disenchanted with the Runaway King?

In the first book, Sage is interesting because he has some sort of secret agenda that crops up in weird actions and inexplicable skill sets. It's great, and I was hooked. But here? Here he is just rude and stupid. He does dumb things supposedly with a master plan in mind, and I think it's

I don't want to say much about this installment for fear of spoilers.

This was a very good follow-up to The False Prince. The fast pace and clever exchanges were continued, with the addition of some slightly more mature outlook on Sage's part, and a bit of relationship entanglement. The plot stood on its own as a middle book in this trilogy, and I'm really looking to reading the final book and seeing how it all works out in the end.
I just want to say that I never in my life, have read a series so heavily centered in the politics of a kingdom. I always read more adventure-fantasy books, to be honest. But this trilogy is proving me that a plot centered mainly in politics, can be awesome as well.

The characters in this book were amazing.I think Jaron is one of the best main characters I have ever read in a book, he is the kind of smartass, funny, sarcastic, clever character I love to read about. The story is 100 times better
Lonna | FLYLēF
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-challenge

FLYLeF Book Reviews

Original Post: The Runaway King at FLYLeF (

IN THE SHOCKING final revelation of The False Prince, Sage reveals that he is the rightful heir to the throne of Carthya – Prince Jaron Artolius Eckbert III. In a strategic and impossibly difficult decision that no parent should ever have to make, the late King Eckbert secretly hid Jaron away in the neighboring country of Avenia where he would remain safe until the day arrives when Carthya calls for his return. That day has come…

The Ru
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Jennifer lives at the base of a very tall mountain in Northern Utah with her husband, three children, and a naughty puppy. She loves the smell of rainy days, hot chocolate, and old books, preferably all at once. She is a former speech teacher, theater director, and enjoyed a brief but disastrous career as a door-to-door pollster. In her spare time, Jennifer tends to panic, wondering what she has f ...more

Other books in the series

The Ascendance Trilogy (3 books)
  • The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1)
  • The Shadow Throne (The Ascendance Trilogy, #3)
“Everyone gets scared at times. It's only the fools who won't admit it.” 194 likes
“Above all else, I think that you are a compulsive liar."
My laughter was tense, but sincere. "Hardly. In fact, I consider myself a compulsive truth teller. It's only that everyone else seems compelled to misunderstand me.”
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