The Kings Bastard – Book One of The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin

Written by – Rowena Cory Daniells

Published by – Solaris

ISBN – 9781907519017

Only seven minutes younger than Rolencia’s heir, Byren has never hungered for the throne. He laughs when a seer predicts that he will kill his twin. But the royal heir resents Byren’s growing popularity. Across the land the untamed magic of the Gods wells up out of the earth’s heart. At King Rolen’s court enemies plot to take his throne, even as secrets within his own household threaten to tear his family apart.

The Kings Bastard is the debut fantasy novel from author Rowena Cory Daniells. The book takes place in the kingdom Rolencia which has been ruled through out a number of peaceful years by King Rolen. However things are not well in the kingdom, Affinity beasts stalk the countryside striking terror into the hearts and minds of the population, political intrigue and treachery are rife at court and there are rumblings of war with the neighbouring kingdom of Merofynia.

During the Kings Jubilee celebrations secrets and deceptions will threaten to tear not only King Rolen’s family apart but they could even threaten the very kingdom of Rolencia itself.

The main POV characters in the Kings Bastard are all siblings in the royal family of Rolencia.

First up we have Byren who is the kingson and twin to the kingsheir Lence, although he has no interest in being King there is growing resentment between the brothers (mainly it has to be said from Lence) and the relationship deteriorates to dangerous levels over the course of the book. The animosity in the relationship between the brothers is helped along by a stranger recently returned to court the mysterious and dangerous Illien.

Secondly we are introduced to Fyn who is studying to become a warrior monk at the Abbey having shown an innate Affinity ability. Unfortunately Fyn is a gentle soul who is bullied by the monks and used as a political pawn by the masters at the Abbey.

Lastly we have King Rolen’s 13 year old daughter Piro who although headstrong and prone to troublesome outbursts she is fiercely loyal to her family. When she also starts to show signs of Affinity use she decides to hide her abilities away, but will this fateful decision have repercussions for her family?

The Kings Bastard is a cracking read and the pace never lets up through the 600 plus pages all the characters are well defined and the world building is comprehensive and believable throughout. Don’t go expecting any shades of grey with these characters though they are clearly split into good and evil with sides clearly signposted from the outset.

For me Fyn was the most interesting character in the book, beset on all sides by his doubt in his lack of affinity ability and his future role as a warrior monk he is also used as a political pawn by the masters at the Abbey but he is also used by his family for future political gain at the abbey. You really get to sympathise with and like his character and I’m looking forward to seeing where Fyn’s character goes in the remaining two books of this trilogy.

One interesting side plot in the book deals with a characters homosexuality and although there are no graphic scenes in the book it did come a curve ball for me as it’s not something you comes across everyday in the fantasy genre, well certainly none that I’ve read.

Another interesting thing with The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin is that the three books are set to be published over three consecutive months, The Kings Bastard was published in July, The Uncrowned King in August and finally The Usurper in September.

So if you’re looking for a new fantasy series that you won’t have to wait years to get your hands on (like certain other fantasy series) these could well be the books for you and if you are interested you can check out the trailer

Also worth a mention is the cover art by Clint Langley of 2000ad fame which is quite simply stunning.

Reviewed by

GS Rating – 4/5. Think the Sopranos crossed with magic beasties.

GS Reviewer – Nick Roberts @nickroberts101 







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