The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielsen is the follow-up to The False Prince, the second book in the Ascendance trilogy.
Now if you've read The False Prince, I have no doubts in my mind that you have already fallen in love with Sage, our protagonist and the heir to the throne of Carthya. And if your a guy? I'm guessing that you would love to have him as a best friend.
I really enjoy Sage's/King Jaron's character. He can be wise when he wants to be, but he also has a tendency to do impulsive and irrational things which points out the fact that really he's just a kid. I like the fact that he isn't portrayed as perfect, but has character flaws just like we all do. He's made mistakes, a lot of them I might add, but he makes them in his own unique way, and always has good intentions. He realizes that he's not invincible, that he can get hurt, that others can get hurt because of him, and finally admits to himself that sometimes you need a little help from your friends. It's alright to trust.
There was a hint at romance in this book, but not as much as I hoped for and is done very subtly. What I did like is that there wasn't an "insta-love" connection that you see in a lot of YA novels, but a deeper connection between two people that is more adult and based on respect and admiration of each other as people.
The Runaway King dragged me in from the very first page! I had to curb the urge to sneak my novel in with me to work (even though I work in a library and it's mostly acceptable) when I had other work that needed to get done. I managed to be responsible and not crack open the cover until I got home where I proceeded to neglect my family to finish reading.
Overall I thought that this was a worthy action filled sequel that satisfied my unreasonably high expectations. This is one of those novels that I would recommend to anyone, including guys, and especially if you're a fan of action adventures like myself. This captivating series doesn't focus on the romance aspect, but instead focuses on the action and seemingly impossible odds that King Jaron/Sage must overcome to succeed in his quest to save his Kingdom. A very refreshing read to those who are tired of the same old typical love driven YA novel!