Science fiction and fantasy
The Uncrowned King
by Rowena Cory Daniells
Byren, Fyn and Piro are each to varying degrees preoccupied with guilt over what has happened to their country and their family. Byren is in more of a funk of despair than most, feeling he can't possibly succeed in the way people expect him to. We see the story from the point of view of these three characters, and as well as their shared royal status they're also similar in personality. They're brave, regular characters who would be nondescript if it weren't for their exalted position in society and a sprinkling of magical or fighting ability. These qualities make them particularly likeable and easy to root for.
In this story we get a closer look at their adversaries, and some are more convincing than others. Palatyne is a paranoid brute, cruel and destructive and almost a fantasy villain caricature. But his magic user Dunstany is more complicated and interesting, and there's a lot going on in the enemy's camp. Even the treacherous cousin Cobalt shows signs of looking for redemption, although we can't be sure he isn't putting on another act.
This is an absorbing book that plunges readers into its snowy world of swords, sorcery and backstabbing at court. In this novel The Chronicles of King Rolen's Kin are shaping up to be a solid, dependable fantasy rather than anything daringly different. However, although Rowena Cory Daniells isn't rewriting the rules of epic fantasy this adventure still has the rush of ice skating downhill and heaps of gore-stained intrigue.
3rd April 2012
If you like this, try:The Still by David Feintuch
Rodrigo is a young prince fighting to claim his kingdom in this fantasy of war and betrayal.
The Golden Fool by Robin Hobb
FitzChivalry Farseer has a lot of secrets to keep in the second volume of The Tawny Man trilogy.
Hidden Warrior by Lynn Flewelling
The second book in the Tamir Triad.
Review © Ros Jackson
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