Monday, February 9, 2015

Jennifer Nielsen's "The Runaway King,"...A Book Review


I finished Jennifer Nielsen’s The Runaway King, Book 2 in the Ascendance Trilogy last week. In my experience it's sometimes rare when a second book in a series can match the first, but what I really enjoyed about Book 2 is how complete the story was. It can definitely stand on its own.

In book one we meet Jason and learn how a prince falls into obscurity then using mostly his wits he gains his rightful place as king. So, what should he do now? Taking on the deadly pirates that were sent to kill him in Book 1 is not the best choice. However, there’d be no Book 2 if he didn’t. Throw in the kingly problems of political turmoil and you’ve got yourself a story with twists and turns—everything you’d want in a fantasy thriller.

I was fortunate enough to be part of a panel at the Salt Lake Comic Con FanX 2015 where Jennifer and other amazing authors met to discuss writing middle grade and young adult literature with the audience in mind. I pitched the panel idea because I had started reading a lot of books in these genres and I noticed how different authors seemed to approach their audiences differently. One can argue this could be just their writing style, but I sensed something else, something deeper in how they made certain decisions in the text or how the characters react. It intrigued me as I read these books and it made me think about to whom they’re writing.

Some of the authors said they wrote to their own gender, or a younger version of themselves. I admit, I find myself doing the same. Jennifer Nielsen said when she set out to write the Ascendance Series, she wanted to reach younger boys because, as a teacher, she saw how many of them don’t like to read. After hearing this, I had a whole new appreciation for Ms. Nielsen and her mission.

If you liked The False Prince, you can’t help but enjoy The Runaway King! It’s very good. I’ve got Book 3 just waiting in my phone and soon I will have finished the series. Luckily for me, there’s more Jennifer Nielsen books to read!

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