Synopsis: 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. It sends exotic creatures to stalk the wintry nights and it twists men’s minds, granting them terrible visions. Those so touched are sent to the Abbey to control the gift, or die. At King Rolen’s court enemies plot to take his throne, even as secrets within his own household threaten to tear his family apart.
Format: The King’s Bastard is the first novel in the King Rolen’s Kin trilogy. It introduces us to the royal family of Rolencia, after a long period of peace, as the court intrigues begin taking darker turns. My copy is 640 pages long, and was printed in 2014 by Solaris.
My Thoughts: Honestly, this was a book that I had purchased long ago because the synopsis was intriguing, then I forgot I had purchased it! It sat on the shelves, patiently waiting its turn for my attention. Now that I have read it, I regret waiting so long. Strongly, strongly regret. This book manages to keep you in suspense even when it is introducing you to the world and the people in it. There is a beautiful tension that keeps building throughout the book, even into the last pages. I literally could not put this book down. The characters were fascinating. Even the ones doing “evil” things were compelling and felt like whole people.
I fully believe everyone thinks they are the good guys. And the interesting thing about this book is that one of the characters you follow closely shows all of the traits of being the good guy. Not ambitious, or greedy, this character (Byren) just wants to help his family and friends. The more evil characters conspire to use that against him, and it really shows how much you feel for a character when you get the same reaction to the scenario as the character. That is truly masterfully written.
Another interesting dynamic is the magic in the world. Being touched by the gods, or gaining Affinity, is not seen as a good thing. In the kingdom of Rolencia it means you either go to an Abbey or you leave the country forever. Having magi almost becomes a weakness, and is seen as a fault in the characters that do have it.
A really good, one-word, description for this book is intriguing. A lot of the elements of this book are intriguing, as well as the story keeps you curious and in suspense. If you have not read this book, or have not heard of it, you have no more excuses! Go and pick it up now!
Let me know what you think of it in the comments!