Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Runaway King

Title: The Runaway King 
Author: Jennifer Nielsen  
Publisher: Scholastic 
Publication Date: March 1st, 2013 
Genre/Format: Fantasy/Novel 
GoodReads Summary: A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Find out in the highly anticipated sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen's blockbuster THE FALSE PRINCE!

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 castle walls, and Jaron 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 Jaron 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? The stunning second installment 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! 
What I Think: Yesterday I reviewed The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen which is the first in her Ascendance Trilogy. I raved and raved about that The False Prince because it really is an excellent book. Now I get to rave and rave about The Runaway King because it's just as remarkable. I can not help but love Jaron. He's such a crazy character. What struck me most about this book was that Jaron keeps making decision after decision that he hopes will help him save his kingdom but as a reader, I felt more and more freaked out with every decision he makes. The suspense in this book builds exponentially as the story continues. After getting to know the characters in the first book, the intense emotions that come with reading about Jaron and others in this book feel just as intense. I found myself squirming with every page turn as Jaron found himself in increasingly precarious situations because I so deeply cared about him. It was intense read to say the least...but one that I desperately want more of!
     I think any reader will connect just as much with Jaron and the other characters in this series as I did. I don't know how you could not care about them. Nielsen has definitely done her job as an author. What I love about this is that these books are an example of how great writing helps readers so closely connect with characters and their feelings in such a way that it feels like we know them. These are exactly the kind of books that I want to be part of a series...because I can never get enough. I have a feeling students will feel the same.   
Read Together: Grades 4 - 7 
Read Alone: Grades 4 - 9 
Read With: The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen (book #1 in the Ascendance Trilogy), Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, Graceling, Fire, Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore, Reckless by Cornelia Funke, Airborn by Kenneth Oppel, Emerald Atlas by John Stephens  
Snatch of Text: "Riding alone through the Carthyan countryside was like emerging from a deep pool of water. Each breath brought me more alive, as I absorbed every moment of freedom I could. The cool wind caressed my face and greeted me with every change in the landscape on my journey." (p. 75)  
Mentor Text For: Characterization, Making Inferences, Making Predictions, Foreshadowing, Personal Narrative, Suspense, Making Connections
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when made a decision that impacted others besides yourself. How did the fact that your decision would have an impact on others influence your decision?  
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