This is a read I feel rather smug about, because I’ve finally managed to catch a trilogy before all three books have been published, digested and evaluated by other readers. This time I can follow and enjoy the unfolding story without that stale ‘someone’s been here before’ feeling. Okay, maybe I’m being a tad sensitive about this, but I do feel like I’ve found the beginning of a little gem with this one.
The King’s Bastard, the first book in The Chronicles Of King Rolen’s Kin series by Rowena Cory Daniells, focuses on the town of Rolencia and specifically its ruling royal family, all of whom are living a happy, sedate life of hunting, wenching and sewing until the arrival of a long lost, illegitimate cousin.
Illien starts out as a trustworthy figure, but pretty soon suspicions are raised as he starts to turn family members against one another. So, when Byren, the king’s son, starts to notice a coldness towards him from in his identical twin brother Lence, he soon knows who to blame. Byren’s mother, sister and other brother also notice something afoot, and decide to take action, but is it already too late? King Rolen, the one person with the power to control Illien, is apparently already under his spell.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was exciting, daring and silly in all the right proportions. However, there is a problem with this otherwise engaging read, that problem being that everything is so drastically black-and-white. Evil people are evil and good people are gut wrenchingly, vomit inducingly good.
Sometimes one of them does slip up and do something not a hundred percent noble and self-sacrificing, but that’s only when evil forces have made them do so. This is all fine and good, but becomes a bit wearing after a while, and does tend to make for a bit of a predictable read.
That being said, you do still genuinely care about the characters, and this makes their infallible nature just about stomach-able. There’s also a very good pace and plenty of excitement, including battles with magical creatures and a suspenseful, emotional battle of wills. It’s a story of kings and queens, beasts and warriors, magic and religion. If you like any of the aforementioned things, then you’ll probably join me in loving this book. And there’s still two more to come!