Cloaked in silent winter snow the Kingdom of Rolencia sleeps as rumours spread of new Affinity Seeps, places where untamed power wells up. Meanwhile, King Rolen plans his jubilee unaware of the growing threat to those he loves.
By royal decree, all those afflicted with Affinity must serve the Abbey or face death. Sent to the Abbey because of his innate Affinity, the King’s youngest son, Fyn, trains to become a warrior monk. Unfortunately, he’s a gentle dreamer and the other acolytes bully him. The only way he can escape them is to serve the Abbey Mystic, but his Affinity is weak.
Fiercely loyal, thirteen year-old Piro is horrified to discover she is also cursed with unwanted Affinity. It broke their mother’s heart to send Fyn away, so she hides her affliction. But, when Fyn confesses his troubles, Piro risks exposure to help him.
Even though Byren Kingson is only seven minutes younger than his twin, Lence, who is the king's heir, Byren has never hungered for the Rolencian throne. When a Seer predicts that he will kill Lence, he laughs. But Lence Kingsheir sees Byren’s growing popularity and resents it. Enduring loyalty could be Byren’s greatest failing.
Series: King Rolen's Kin
1. The King's Bastard
2. The Uncrowned King (book review)
3. The Usurper (book review)
I haven't read many fantasy books since Anne Bishop's Black Jewels Trilogy. Usually, these sorts of books are a hit or miss for me. The author either goes into too much detail about scenery and uninteresting facts, and thus makes the book drag on, or the author's tone and characters are too bland. Either way, I love em', or I hate em'.
Right from the start, the covers for this series pulled me in. A lot of fantasies have covers that I don't like, primarily because they have the tendency to appear too tacky. Others aren't interesting enough. As for this series? When I saw them on Tynga's blog a while back, they were the first things I noticed. Then I watched the book trailer (which is awesome!). Then I read the summaries. I was beyond intrigued at that point. When Rowena asked me to review the first book, I literally jumped on the opportunity.
There are three POVs in this tale: Byren's, Piro's, and Fyn's. Readers initially witness this tale through Byren's eyes. We learn that he is a kingson, which, in simple terms, means he is the second heir to the throne. We also learn that his twin brother, Lence, is the kingsheir, and that there is some supposed prophecy about Byren murdering his brother. I will be honest when I say that, for the start of the book, I wasn't too thrilled reading about Byren. His character was too much of a goodie goodie...
...But once I read about Lence, I suddenly found myself loving Byren! I also pitied the second heir, because his easily manipulated brother was a jerk. Especially to Byren's best friend, Orrade. Hell, Lence was a jerk to everyone in the story at one point.
The drama is what primarily kept me glued to the pages. There were times, I admit, where I was ready for the book to be over. But between Rowena's writing and the conflict threaded throughout the pages, I continued on. So the start is slow. It happens. What really matters is that I was captivated enough to continue with this story, and I'm glad I did. It was an entertaining read.
I thought I was not going to enjoy The King's Bastard due to the slow beginning with Byren. The lack of detail about Affinity and the animals at the start of the book actually frustrated me. What were all these foreign terms, and what did they have to do with the plot? More importantly: why should I even care? That happens to be my only complaint about this novel. It would have been nice if there was a bit more explanation about what Affinity is, what it can do, and if there are different manifestations. It's an interesting concept... and I want to know more.
It is with much relief that the wait for book two is only a month's time. This trilogy is being published one month apart. That means July 29th is the release date for The King's Bastard, August is the second, and September is the final book. It must have been hard for the editor and Rowena, but I think that this method will definitely pay off in the end. I'm already hooked!
When The King's Bastard finally concluded, I was both exhausted and disappointed. Exhaustion stemmed from the drama throughout the entire book. I wanted to scream with Piro and Byren when everyone around them was slowly manipulated. (If this was a movie, I'd definitely be screaming at the screen, telling the other characters that they're morons.) The disappointment was more because the book... well, ended. And because now I know I'll have to wait a month until I can get my fingers on the next in this series.