Author: Rowena Cory Daniells
Publisher: Solaris, 2010
The King’s Bastard offers a lot of what I adore about epic fantasy: magical creatures, magic wielders and royal intrigue, as well as compelling characters, but it falls somewhat short of my expectations. Or maybe I’ve been spoiled by reading George RR Martin and others in this particular genre.
That being said, I’ll still go ahead and read the rest in this series because one thing Rowena Cory Daniells does is write characters I’ve fallen for … hard, in a gooey fantasy fan kind of way. And the only thing that truly bothers me about the story is the feeling that, at times, the plot offers little twitches and hiccoughs when events happen a little *too* conveniently or people behave in particular ways without giving (what I feel to be) sufficient motivation to warrant their actions.
And what’s not to love about Byren? He’s not only good-looking, but he’s a consummate warrior and hunter, and he truly is well-meaning (though a bit too naïve at times). In that regard he makes me think a little of Ned Stark, and much like the latter, his continuous attempts to do the right thing backfire… horribly.
Problem is Byren’s twin brother and heir to the throne, Lence, is convinced that Byren’s aiming to steal the throne from under his butt – a vicious rumour propagated by the lord Cobalt, their relative.
Then we have younger siblings Piro and Fyn. Both have what’s known as the Affinity – the ability to wield magic. Thing is, in Rolencia, all of those who have Affinity must align themselves with a religious order as all renegade power workers are considered to be evil. This is a problem for Piro, as she’s been hiding her Affinity for years. Not so much for Fyn, who’s got his own set of problems at the abbey, where the fact that he’s of royal blood drops him in the middle of countless intrigue.
Overall, what we have here is the beginnings of a fantasy epic that’s absolutely delicious. If you’re used to GRRM then you’ll see what I mean about this being a lighter version of the same, but with more magic. Though the ending of book one feels a bit rushed, with a small twist that to me felt a little too convenient, I still really, really need to know what happens next and Daniells is definitely an author who’ll be featuring heavily in my Kindle queue from here on in. Because, yes, I’ll be working my way through her titles, thank you very much. Great fantasy storytelling right here.