Posts Tagged ‘Rowena Cory Daniells’

The Uncrowned King by Rowena Cory Daniells

The Uncrowned King

Rowena Cory Daniells
Paperback, 448 pages
Rebellion
July 27, 2010

* Thanks to Rowena Cory Daniells for sending me a review copy!

The Uncrowned King is the second book in the fantasy trilogy, The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin (click here for my post about the first book, The King’s Bastard).  There are so many things I want to say about the storyline but to ensure I don’t give too much away I’ll just give you the summary from the back cover:

Thirteen year old Piro watches powerless as her father’s enemies march on his castle.  A traitor whispers poison in the King’s ear, undermining his trust in her brother, Byren.

Determined to prove his loyalty, Byren races across the path of the advancing army, towards the Abbey.  Somehow, he must get there in time to convince the Abbott to send his warriors to defend the castle.

Meanwhile, the youngest of King Rolen’s sons, Fyn, has barely begun his training as an Abbey mystic, but he wakes in a cold sweat, haunted by dreams of betrayal…

After reading the first two books I am loving this trilogy.  Not only is the storytelling engaging, fun, and exciting, but the worldbuilding is spot on.  I love how I’m able to picture Rolencia and get a sense of its people and their beliefs and lifestyles.  The magical powers and abilities of those touched my Affinity continue to fascinate me as well, and one of the highlights for me was when Byren is accepted by an ulfr pack that adopts him as one of their own.  Love it!

The pacing is lightning fast as we follow Byren, Fyn, and Piro on their individual journeys to defy the king’s enemies and save their family.  Orrade isn’t in this book since he’s taken up his late father’s post as Lord Dovecote and is currently leading his people to safety, but Florin and Leif return and we’re introduced to a few new characters, my favorite being Lord Dunstany – the power worker who takes Piro as his slave after the fall of the castle. 

The helpless frustration I felt while reading The King’s Bastard stayed with me during this book (in a spine-tingling, good way).  The constant threat of betrayal, the uncertainty of who to trust, and the slurry of rumors and misinformation hiding the truth kept me on the edge of my seat with suspense and anxiety.  Piro and her brothers are all isolated, not knowing if the others are alive or dead, yet determined to push on. 

I’m so excited to see what happens next and how the power struggle will play out in the end.  I’m especially anticipating Piro’s role as a servant to King Merofyn’s daughter.  Looking forward to more intrigue and adventure in The Usurper!

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Book Review: The King’s Bastard

 

The King’s Bastard

Mass Market Paperback, 448 pages
Rebellion
June 29, 2010

*Many thanks to Rowena Cory Daniells for sending me a review copy!

The King’s Bastard is the first book in the new fantasy series The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin, which focuses on the lives of several members of the royal house of Rolencia.  Byren Rolen Kingson and his twin brother Lence, the eldest sons of King Rolen and Queen Myrella, have always been close despite their good-natured sibling rivalry.  Being the younger twin, seven minutes stand between Byren and the throne, but he’s never had any interest in ruling the kingdom, preferring to leave the burden to Lence.  But after a strange run-in with a renegade seer, who prophesies that Byren will turn on his twin and claim the crown, and the sudden arrival of their cousin Illien of Cobalt – the bastard son of King Rolen’s brother – Byren senses a growing distance between them.  Illien manipulates, fabricates false evidence, and spins a web of lies, all designed to discredit Byren and gain the confidence of Lence and the king.

The story is also told by the younger royal children, Fyn and Piro, who are both god-touched with Affinity.  Fyn’s Affinity was discovered when he was six years old and, in accordance with his father’s law, he was sent away to Halcyon Abbey to learn to control it so he wouldn’t be susceptible to evil influence.  Piro’s lay dormant until she reached puberty and, sick at the thought of being sent away to serve the cold god Sylion, she swore to keep her Untamed Affinity a secret so she could stay with her family at Rolenhold.

It’s a crucial time in Rolencia, when the spar warlords renew their oaths of allegiance to the king and a new alliance will be forged with the neighboring kingdom of Merofynia with the betrothal of Lence and Isolt Merofyn Kingsdaughter.  But alliances are fragile and some would stop at nothing to gain control and rise to the top.  Byren is surrounded by treachery and deceit and the constant fear that the prophecy of the renegade seer will come to pass.

I absolutely loved reading this book.  It was thrilling and suspenseful with enough humor and emotion to draw me even more into the story and invest in the characters.  The world-building was fantastic and I appreciated that I wasn’t bombarded right off the bat by dozens of confusing place-names and ancient history, just enough to give me a sense of my surroundings and then get on with the story.  I was fascinated by the concept of Affinity, how it seeps up from the ground, attracting creatures like leogryfs and manticores, and dwells inside people granting them magical abilities and a glimpse of the Unseen world. 

Of all the characters, I connected most with Byren and Piro.  Byren is a born leader, strong and dedicated to his friends and family.  When his best friend Orrade is disinherited by his father for being a lover of men, Byren tries to cover for him even though it could mean losing the love of Orrie’s sister, Elina.  My frustration when he was wrongfully accused of being a Servant of Palos and plotting against his father was so tangible I could practically taste it.  I wanted to slap some sense into the king and throttle Illien.  Piro is a little firecracker.  She’s strong-willed and fiercely protective of her family.  She reminds me a little of Arya Stark from George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.  In fact, the whole time I read this book I was reminded of that beloved series and I half-expected Jon Snow to charge around bend followed by his faithful direwolf. 

I’m always game for court intrigue and the battle for thrones so The King’s Bastard was a perfect match for me.  I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book!