Spoilers for the first book below. Seriously, don’t read any further if you haven’t read it. I’m about to spoil a central plot point.
The Runaway King picks up a month after the close of the last book, with Jaron having taken the throne and left his false identity as the orphan Sage behind. Right away there are problems. No one seems to take Jaron seriously. His regents conspire behind his back, and refuse to believe him that a war is coming. They organize a vote to bring in a steward until Jaron comes of age. But Jaron is moved to action when an assassination attempt by fellow orphan Roden (who also competed last book to be the fake Prince Jaron). Roden does not believe that Jaron is the actual prince, and has taken up with the Avenian pirates to instigate war between their two countries. Jaron feels he has no choice but to find the pirates and solve both of his problems at once: forestalling war, and securing his throne.
I didn’t know any twists going in to this one like I did last time, but it was fairly easy to figure out the author’s endgame before it happened. SPOILERS I predicted pretty early that Jaron would kill the pirate king and take over. But there were still twists and turns along the way that made it not entirely predictable, like Roden killing the pirate king before Jaron can. And after that happened, I was pleasantly END SPOILERS. But overall, even though I didn’t like this one as much as the first one (it was way more stressful, and I kept getting angry at Jaron’s court for not trusting him), I still read it super fast, and enjoyed myself while doing so.
I’m a little nervous about the last book, as it has the lowest ratings of the three, but I’m pretty confident that I’ll at least get a little enjoyment out of it since I’ve liked these first two pretty consistently.
[3.5 stars, rounded up]