Monday, July 15, 2013

King Rolen's Kin by Rowena Cory Daniells (Series Summary)

Mulluane | 12:09 AM | 2 Comments so far

An Epic Fantasy Series Review

King Rolen's Kin by Rowena Cory Daniells
The King's BastardThe King's Bastard - The Uncrowned KingThe Uncrowned King - The UsurperThe Usurper by Rowena Cory Daniells - The King's Man (Novella)King Rolen's Kin
(Purchase From Amazon)

This is a story about the four offspring of King Rolen, a group of siblings who range from 13 to 20 years old. It is a saga about the destruction of a kingdom through betrayal and lies. It is a tale of survival, magic, loyalty, friendship and perseverance against impossible odds. In other words, it is classic fantasy of the type I grew up with.

It has taken me a few days to figure out how to write this summary. The series has left me with alot of mixed feelings.Let me try and explain my problem.

Individually, I really enjoyed the books. The first was strong, character driven, and a good solid beginning. Book two was weaker, as second volumes often are, but still a pretty good read. Book three was the strongest with plenty of action and suspense that kept me up all night.

But... (you knew there was a but right?)

I have a few pet peeves and unfortunately this series hit on some of them. Peeve number one is a poorly defined magic system. Affinity, the type of magic portrayed in this world, seems pretty random. First of all, it apparently seeps up out the ground in random spots. Something that is considered to be dangerous as it attracts "Affinity" beasts. Some of these (but not all) are fierce predators but nowhere did it explain where affinity beasts originated. They are referred to as "God-touched but that really didn't tell me anything concrete. Affinity also affects humans but in random ways. Some are born with it, some "develop" it later in life. Plus the way it affects each person is drastically different. I never did figure out the rules and I much prefer magic with rules.

Pet peeve number two was the cliffhangers. I absolutely loathe cliffhangers. What I never expected was that the trilogy itself would end in one. Instead of an ending that satisfied, I got one that only frustrated me. To make matters worse, I am not sure where this story is going. There is conflicting information on the world wide web. I have seen it indicated that the fourth book, due out in September, is the conclusion. The book cover itself actually says this. I have also seen it said, by the author herself, that she is writing a second trilogy. Honestly, knowing what I know now, (and don't know) I would have never bought these books. Now I have no idea if and when I will get to read the rest of the story. Could be months, could be years.

In conclusion, the magic system was unique, if not well explained, the characters were well written and fun to watch, the world is believable plus the story and pacing were very enjoyable. I love character driven fantasy and in this series I got it. The main characters, as they face harsh obstacles at every turn, grow and develop nicely. The pacing was pretty smooth, a bit slow in book two, but comfortable. Book three was a little more difficult to put down, not just because of the increase in action, but because at this point you are heavily invested in the characters. All in all, I really enjoyed all three. Its really only how it ended (and my unresolved issues with Affinity) that bumps my series rating down.

As far as content goes, there is at times some cruel war related violence, and a same gender unrequited love affair, but as a rule, adult content is alluded to not described. Even the more depraved and cruel acts of the war are usually shown as after the fact consequences instead of being described as they actually happen. Nothing that sadly we do not see every day in the news. I see no real problem with giving this a 13+ rating. After all the youngest character is herself only 13 years old. But, this is only my opinion. Best advice I can really give is read it yourself before handing it off to your own kin.

If you want more details on the individual books I suggest reading the reviews listed below. If you don't mind waiting on the rest of the story and love a good old fashioned character driven fantasy, you will likely enjoy this series.

My Book Reviews of: The King's Bastard - The Uncrowned King - The Usurper

(Additional Information)
Author: Rowena Cory Daniells

Series: King Rolen's Kin

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Content: Coming of Age, Magic, 13+

Publisher: Solaris

Source: Personal Copies
Read an Interview with Rowena Cory Daniells

The King's Man (The Chronicles of King Rolen's Kin)King Rolen's Kin(Novella-Kindle Affiliate Link)

Similar Reads from LibraryThing
King Rolen's Kin on Goodreads

Author's presence on web
Website - Facebook - Twitter

Available in Kindle

See individual reviews for more details and purchasing options

More Great Epic Fantasy
Already read the series? Please add your own rating!

Epic Fantasy Series Review of King Rolen's Kin by Rowena Cory Daniells - Reviewed by Mulluane - on July 15 2013 - Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Mulluane is a 56-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

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  1. Unresolved endings are awkward at best. {sympathetic smile}

    I'm wondering about your problem with affinity and the magic system. Do you always want the magic developed and explained in-depth? Or is the problem that the magic isn't really explained even when it becomes important to the story? {thoughtful look}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  2. Lets see if I can elaborate spoiler free. I dislike magic when it is convenient and has no consistency or boundaries.

    One person might have visions,while another can feel approaching danger, while yet another can suddenly self heal. It could make this one an empath while that one was a telepath. All of these abilities conveniently manifesting out of the clear blue just when the story calls for the need. One person needed to have excess Affinity drawn off and yet no other character who had it seemed to need this. Pretty much the opposite since you could be killed that way.

    It was never explained why it seeped up out the ground creating pools. Good thing though because the affinity beasts evidently needed it to thrive. And yet humans did not appear to have this need and drained every pool they could find with a pair of stones which they then did nothing with. And why exactly was it called Affinity? That never made sense to me either.

    It was just all over the place and so random that it interfered with the suspension of belief you need to get into a great fantasy tale.

    Or atleast it did for me.


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