The King’s Bastard – King Rolen’s Kin #1 – Rowena Cory Daniells

The King's BastardRelease date: June 29th, 2010
Publisher: Solaris
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 640
Format: E-book
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Kingdom of Rolencia sleeps as rumours of new Affinity Seeps, places where the untamed power wells up. By royal decree all those afflicted with Affinity must serve the Abbey or face death. Sent to the Ab­bey, the King’s youngest son, Fyn, trains to become a warrior monk. Elsewhere others are tainted with Affinity and must fight to survive. Political intrigue and magic combine in this explosive first book in an exciting new fantasy trilogy.


After having two blogger friends tell me that they absolutely loved this series, I already knew this was probably going to be a hit for me too. But as always when I expect something awesome, I go in to it with a little caution. What if I’m expecting too much and the book turns out to be good, but still a little disappointing? Caution or no caution, this book would have wrapped me around its finger either way. It’s everything I expected it to be and more. My friends were absolutely right, this is an amazing book and definitely worth a read. It also deserves some more coverage, since the last and 4th book, King Breaker, came out just last year. Reason enough to spread word about this series.

Writing a review about a book that you really loved is always so much harder than writing a review about a book where there were several aspects that you can pinpoint that were flawed in your eyes. I enjoyed this book so much that it’s hard to not just write: “Read this, God damned, you’re going to love it.” But obviously I can’t do that, because that’s not very informative for you guys.

‘The King’s Bastard’ introduces us to the life of King Rolen’s Kin, literally. The story is written from different points of view, all of them children of King Rolen of Rolencia. We have Byren, who has a twin brother Lence. Lence is the Kingsheir because he’s seven minutes older than Byren. Not that Byren minds. He’s a kind hearted guy who doesn’t really want to rule anything. Byren is what you can call the big guy with the heart of gold. His brother Lence and him are normally very close, but their characters are nevertheless very different. Throughout the book a rift grows between the two brothers. I really felt Byren’s heartache over this. I don’t have any siblings, so I can only imagine what it would be like to lose such a close connection as that with a twin. Daniells brought that across extremely well and also very gradually. The realization doesn’t hit Byren immediately and he’s in denial most of the book, which makes it even more sad. Byren isn’t the smartest guy around, let’s say he likes sword fighting more than history lessons, but he has good people skills, so he’s pretty quick to see through the lies of the intruder that is trying to mess up his family’s life.
Seventeen-year old Fyn is another of the Kingsons. He grew up in the Abbey of the monks of Halcyon, the God that represents Spring, Summer, Earth, Growth,… He was obliged to join the Abbey or be expelled because at a young age they found out that he had Affinity. Affinity is the magic of this world, it’s very subtle and kind of vague. People with Affinity have premonitions, can make certain predictions about the future, can ease people’s pain and feel the magic in the land and in the magical beasts that roam it. Fyn is a smart kid, not keen on fighting, though his family expects him to become the new Weapons Master now that he’s going through the rituals to become a real monk after his years as an acolyte. Life at the Abbey isn’t easy for Fyn, he’s bullied and even some of the Masters are turning against him. Luckily he’s got his wits about him and he’s ready to use them to save himself and his friends. Fyn was one of my favourite characters, because of his huge heart and the way he grew so much during the book. The Fyn we meet at the beginning of the book is very different from the Fyn at the end.
Then there’s Piro, at tirtheen the youngest and the only daughter. She’s cunning, smart and beautiful, but also full of life and mischief. She’s not one to follow rules and sit still like a good Kingsdaughter should do. She has a quick mind and luckily so, because she’s got a lot of obstacles to overcome during the book. Piro won my heart almost immediately, she’s such a brave girl and she’s smart enough to see the truth almost right away.

The story really starts when Illien Cobalt arrives in Rolenhold claiming that his father and bride were murdered by Utland warriors, savages, who stole all the jewels he was coming to gift his father to reconcile after a yearlong feud. Illien is the son of King Byren the Fourth’s bastard, Spurnan. Had Spurnan been legitimate, he would have been king instead of Rolen. Illien has a lot of charisma and hits it off with Lence almost right away. And the closer Lence and Illien get, the further Byren and Lence grow apart.

‘The King’s Bastard’ is full of hidden truths, cunning deceit and political intrigue. A story right up my alley. I got sucked into the world of King Rolen and Rolencia, with its mighty and imaginative Affinity beasts, its wintery landscape and the threat of war heavy in the air. It has enough action, magic, twists and revelations to keep any reader satisfied. Daniells writing is very good and succeeds in pulling you in almost right away. She also successfully incorporated a LGBT theme, that reflects our current society somewhat, though it is worse in Rolencia. It was interesting to see how different people reacted to the revelation of one of the characters that he is “a lover of men” and how much those reactions differ.

As a conclusion I can only say that I enjoyed ‘The King’s Bastard’ immensely and that I dug into ‘The Uncrowned King’, the second book, right away after finishing the first one. This is an Epic Fantasy tale that every fan should read in my opinion and it has solidly earned its spot on my top shelf.


Posted on March 10, 2014, in Rowena Cory Daniells and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I have heard nothing but good things about this one. Kinda mad because I missed a chance at snagging the e omnibus at a pretty good price not long ago. Now I keep looking, but looks like I will have to piece it together one book at a time instead.

  2. Great review, Cindy. Glad you like it so much. I’ve read the first book of her other series, Outcast Chronicles, and that’s also very amazing. DAniells has become one of my favorite authors in a very short time.

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