I’ve just realised that this review has been sitting in my drafts for a week. I forgot to hit the ‘publish’ button.
Rowena Cory Daniells lives in Brisbane with her family. She’s been involved in speculative fiction since 1976.
I found this review quite difficult to write. This is quite a complex tale for only my second review, though it’s an easy read.
Rolencia has been at peace for thirty years – since the current King married the Merofynian princess. They have four children, twins Lence and Byren, younger son Fyn and their youngest child, daughter Piro. Lence is just 7 minutes older than Byren and is kingsheir. Lence is listening to a new and influential advisor and is growing more discontent with Byren’s popularity; he’s sure that Byren wants to be king. Lence feels that Byren is purposefully showing him up when he saves his life. Byren comes across an old seer, a renegade power worker but refuses to believe her prophesy. He doesn’t trust Lence’s advisor and doesn’t want to be king. He can’t believe that his twin no longer trusts him.
There is magic in Rolencia; it is seeping up through the ground and drawing strange and dangerous magical beasts to it. Any Rolencians who have magic are sent to the abbeys to be trained to control their magic. Untamed magic is dangerous and can easily turn evil. Kingson Fyn has weak magic and was sent to the monks at eight years of age. He’s desperately homesick and has a hard time at the Abbey because of his royal blood. Now young Piro is displaying strong magic. She doesn’t want to be sent away and plans to hide her magic.
The warlords of the provinces are stirring, they are unhappy and seem to be loath to swear fealty to the king. There are attempts on the kingsheir’s life. There is trouble once more in Merofynia and they appear to be getting ready for war with Rolencia. There are rumours that an evil sect is rising again. Trouble is definitely brewing.
This is a terrific and fast-paced read. So much is happening and there are questions that you want answered. But this is only book one and it seems to ask more questions than it answers. There are obviously more things going on than the reader knows about yet; things that leave you hanging out for the next book.
Byren has an amazing amount of good fortune and escapes almost certain death several times.
Just what is the motivation of Lence’s new advisor? Can he be trusted at all? Is he manipulating corrupt magic or is someone manipulating him? The king is also listening to him and trusting him more than he trusts members of his own family.
There are plots and factions and dirty deeds afoot at the Abbey.
The more I think about the happenings in this book the more tangled the web seems and the less sure I am of the main characters. Oh, but I’ve been drawn right into their lives. Some I like, others I don’t and there are a couple that I’m really not sure about at all. The ending was quite a surprise, but even that I’m not entirely sure of.
I can’t wait for the next instalment.