Thirteen year old Pro watches powerless as her father’s enemies march on his castle. A traitor whispers poison in the King’s ear, undermining his trust in her brother, Byren.
Determined to prove his loyalty, Byren races across the path of the advancing army, towards the Abbey. Somehow, he must get there in time to convince the Abbot to send his warriors to defend the castle.
Meanwhile, the youngest of King Rolen’s sons, Fyn, has barely begun his training as an Abbey mystic, but he wakes in cold sweat hunted by dreams of betrayal...
The Uncrowned King is the second book in the Chronicles of King Rolen’s King of which “The King’s Bastard” was the first of the series. When I first was introduced to this series I thought I would be confronted with a violent hack and slash style novel, judging by the cover of the first book. In this I was quickly proven wrong. The first book did centre around a rather violent event, but on top of it there is a very strong backbone of political intrigue and betrayal. It was this strong tone that really made this book for me. With the first book leaving you on a cliff-hanger moment I was eagerly anticipating this sequel.
I want to start off by emphasizing that The Uncrowned King reads just like its predecessor. Now, I do not know what Rowena Cory Daniells does with the words but the writing style feels natural and easy to follow and produces a book that you can read away in just a few hours. It is quite magical and the 400 pages that are in The Uncrowned King feel more like 150. On top of this is the fact that there are multiple story lines woven into it and it is just brilliantly put together.
So The Uncrowned King plays directly into The King’s Bastard but not cantering around Byren solely. Like I mentioned in the review of the King’s Bastard there were two family members of King Rolen that were left out a bit. The youngest son, Fyn and the daughter Piro. It is in this volume that they make a great appearance and showing an even better overall development and involvement in the storyline. Where Byren was a pretty strong character in the first book, somewhat being shunted by his father since he was not the heir, in the end his role was made quite clear and picking up directly from the King’s Bastard his character only further bolstering his determination to seek revenge for the invasion. But his journey is not without struggle. Byren faces a lot of challenges, of which some he barely manages to survive. Also being touched by Affinity I wonder what will happen to him... A second storyline centers around Fyn. Fyn fell a bit in between the family and having Affinity he was send over to the Abbey to be trained to get his Affinity under control. Fyn is a character that takes quite a few leaps in this book and I found that his character and Piro his sister added a certain amount of depth to the interesting, growing world. Fyn just barely manages to flee from the Abbey to warn his father but in his adventure to get there he is - like Byren - challenged and sees something dreadful happening that leaves him eager for revenge. The third storyline revolves around Piro and she was definitely my favourite character of this book. It could be because she is a female character but I just found that her side of the story captured a great amount of compassion, determination and growth. Now, for the first time being on her own, she is left with many decisions. The struggles that Piro undergoes while being in the hands of the enemy (but not totally), and in her endeavours to try and assassinate someone were put together neatly and left me feeling kind of sorry for Piro when she couldn’t get it done...
Another part that is explored more fully in this book is Affinity. I really like it when authors try to invent new ways of magic and in this The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin is no stranger. In the first book I was introduced with Affinity, an innate ability that you have to be born with and which allows you to do some pretty neat stuff. But it also has some danger to it. Added to this were the Affinity beast and Affinity seeps. In The Uncrowned King, all three are faced with Affinity and explore and use it for their own gain. I have high hopes for Byren, Piro and Fyn and this strange magical ability in the last book of the series.
The Uncrowned King is a valuable addition to the series and shows a great broadening of the initial storyline, where Byren, Piro and Fyn all think that they are left alone and that the rest of their family is dead. The setting up the three remaining family members with their own adventures and perils is very interesting and will allow, I hope, for a climactic standoff. Just as with The King’s Bastard, this book is definitely recommended.
Review by Jasper de Joode
9/10 from 1 reviews
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