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 instalment 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.
Synopsis from Goodreads
After reading The False Prince, I was excited to jump into the second book in the series. While it managed to somewhat move the story line, this definitely felt like a second book in a series -- lots of writing, but not a ton of stuff happening. Here are some of my thoughts after reading:
Very Much a "Middle" Book:
I just couldn't get into this book as much as the first. It really fell into the standard "middle book of a trilogy" stereotypes as a book with a lot of filler space and that's solely meant to bring us into the last book of the series. I didn't feel like The Runaway King really stood out on its own. The whole storyline of Jaron running away to join the pirates felt like it could've been completed within a few chapters. And while I love that we did end up getting Roden back, I really didn't buy his change from anger to loyalty within maybe 2 minutes of conversation with Jaron.
Incredibly Slow Relationship Developments:
It honestly doesn't matter which relationship we are talking about (Jaron and Imogen, Jaron and his friends, or Jaron and Amarinda), that are all moving so slowwlllllyyyyyyyyy. Which stinks, because it's making me doubt the validity of any of them. All of the relationships in this book are awkward to read about and I just don't really have a connection with any of them. I can definitely see that we're supposed to be watching the romance between Jaron and Imogen grow -- but they barely spend time together, so I just just as easily picture him with Amarinda (even though they talk even less).
Side note: the only believable relationship is between Mott and Jaron. Mott's loyalty is unquestionable and we actually see it in action quite often. Everyone else in this book is just coming in and out of the story as tag-alongs.
Slow Moving and Little Information:
In general, this book felt it took forever to get through, and yet also felt incredibly light on actual storytelling. I just didn't feel that there was any real character development from anyone, I couldn't have cared less about the pirate storyline, and the opportunities for more character or story growth (going into Jaron and Harlowe's relationship would've been amazing!) were missed or glossed over.
While this book makes sense in the series (I guess), I just didn't find it a captivating read. Maybe it's because we only have Jaron's POV and he doesn't do much in this book, or maybe it's simply that I had such a great time reading the first one that the weight of expectations couldn't be reached, but I thought this book was just "meh". I'm still excited to find out how this series ends though!
FINAL RATING: 2.5/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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