Jaron has managed to get through Conner’s “training” to become the lost prince of Carthya, and, once back in the capital city of Drylliad, has proven that he is truly Jaron, not just an imposter named Sage. But the real challenges lie ahead of him, now that his parents and older brother have all been killed and he is the only one left to assume the throne. The pirates who were paid to kill him four years earlier (after which he went into hiding) are still a threat, the king of neighboring country Avenia makes it clear to Jaron that he intends to attack, and there are still traitors within Carthya’s leadership ranks. Few of the country’s regents — or anyone else, for that matter — seem to think Jaron has what it takes to be king, and he can’t convince anyone of the threats he knows to be real. So Jaron flees Carthya to deal with the threats himself. It’s an impossible task, but having his kingdom attacked and taken over by Avenia and/or pirates is certainly not an option, either.
Readers have no idea how the story will play out or how Jaron will possibly turn the tide, and he isn’t sure himself, so the adventure is nail-biting. The Runaway King is a worthy successor to The False Prince, the first in the series, and one that works very well as a middle book. Some concerns are resolved and others remain and/or pop up. The characters grow and get to know themselves and each other better, and readers can’t help but be drawn in. A terrific series for young readers and even their older siblings or parents.
Rated: Mild, for a fair amount of violence and tension.