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The King's Bastard (1) (King Rolen's Kin) Paperback – September 13, 2016
"The Lost Girls of Devon" by Barbara O'Neal
From the Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids comes a story of four generations of women grappling with family betrayals and long-buried secrets. | Learn more
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1781085323
- ISBN-13 : 978-1781085325
- Product Dimensions : 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Solaris (September 13, 2016)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,223,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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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.
Again, it's a page turner, although this is really only true once you get past the first few chapters. I believe the main characters are well defined and there's a younger brother who I really found myself rooting for. There are some very nice twists on established fantasy themes. For instance, any good fantasy requires a long trek between castle/village/banana plantation A and castle/village/banana plantation B. Here the preferred mode of travel is ice-skating, which the author manages to not make as slap-stick as it might sound. Magic and monster are staples of any fantastical world, here magic is called `affinity' and the monsters are inexorably linked to affinity. It's explained simply and easy to go along with.
The supporting cast are hit or miss as some are underdeveloped and one dimensional. However, I found myself not too bothered about this, perhaps because the time saved on the occasional supporting cast helped keep the pace of the books quite high.
I see from some of the other reviews that a couple of main gripes on these books are based on two of the characters. I can't really address these issues without giving away a small spoiler but if you've read the other reviews I won't reveal anything new. The first one is the teenage princess. I didn't really see a problem with her. Her character is indeed annoying and incapable of seeing the bigger picture at first but that's because SHE'S A TEENAGE GIRL! Give her a chance; she turns out to have an interesting story later on.
The second character that folks here seem to have a problem with is in fact a support cast member. So it turns out that the one of the main characters best buddy is actually gay and has a crush on our hero. In the world of this book being gay is as akin to being a leper. At the beginning when the companion reveals his feelings I think the author actually does a great job portraying the awkwardness in the change of the relationship between the two. Other fantasy authors have included male characters that are known to be gay but the world they create often already has a level of acceptance. So in this way what the author is trying to do here is quite brave. However, that's about as far as I'm willing to go in praising the author's attempts at describing their relationship. It never progresses from that initial awkwardness and every 6 chapters or so all we ever get is a rehashing of this awkwardness. There's no real falling out between the pair, or resolution, or indeed any conversation worth merit between the characters that addresses this awkwardness. Over the time span of the first two books, I'm sorry, by now you'd think that someone of their supposed maturity levels would've at least started a conversation. Here's my point; if the author wanted to address this complicated real world issue, why not try to try to take a stance? Hopefully we'll get one in book three but I doubt it somehow.
It's a good fantasy series, sure its not the best but I've read most of the best, so until Martin, Erikson, Rothfuss, Abercrombie etc publish another book this series will make a very nice interim.