by Jennifer Nielsen, published 2013
“In what way was attacking a peaceful neighboring country heroic? He degraded Erick’s men for being thieves even as he planned to steal all of Carthya from me. My fingers itched to pick up my knife and start the fight.”
I chose the above quote because it represents the two sides of this children’s book – it is both heroic and also filled with fighting. I love heroic characters. I don’t have much tolerance for fighting. Somehow they always seem to go together. Yet in The Runaway King, the fighting seems to be somewhat tolerable, especially because the good guy always wins.
The main reason I can recommend this particular children’s book is because it certainly is well-written. Once you begin reading it, you are totally transported to another land, another time, and the action never lets up. It is truly a page turner. Easy to read, though once or twice I couldn’t quite figure out who was who.
Midway through the book, I found I was reading the second book in a three-book series. However, it didn’t seem to matter much in terms of understanding the plot. In addition, there were so many allusions to the first children’s book in the series that I actually don’t want to read it…it sounds more troubling than this one is. **(NB: I changed my mind after writing this review. See The False Prince)
In short, here’s a book with all the battles you might want, and a superhero thrown in, if you consider that our hero wins a battle even while fighting with a broken leg. The book is not for everyone, not for the sensitive child, but older kids will enjoy it. I will add my ‘Appeals to Boys’ even though that is sexist, because in fact, in my mind, this is definitely a children’s book written with the boys in mind.