Author: Rowena Cory Daniels
Release date: out now
Description: The Kingdom of Rolencia sleeps as rumours of new Affinity Seeps, places where the untamed power wells up. By royal decree all those afflicted with Affinity must serve the Abbey or face death. Sent to the Abbey, the King's youngest son, Fyn, trains to become a warrior monk. Elsewhere others are tainted with Affinity and must fight to survive. Political intrigue and magic combine in this explosive first book in an exciting new fantasy trilogy.
My thoughts: I have to say it was very frustrating reading this book. I love a fantasy series with political intrigue and I'd thought that would be what I was getting with this. Right from the start though I was disappointed.
The story starts with Byren on a hunting trip, and he soon hears the prophecy that he will kill his twin. Readers are also introduced to younger brother Fyn, training to be a monk because of his magical ability, and little sister Piro, still very much a child in the eyes of those around her. The story focuses on Byren & how events develop because of the prophecy and something that happens with his friend early in the book. Byren did annoy me a bit - I never saw him as the inspiring leader other characters supposedly see him as. He made some poor judgement calls that I just couldn't understand. Fyn was more interesting to read about but the schoolboy squabbles and bullying at the abbey were the sort of thing I find quite boring. Piro was my favourite, and I think will be an interesting character to follow in the next book. She had the most character development over the book.
I was incredibly frustrated with the author's style though. The writing just felt a bit clunky, and although the plot was good, I think it's really been let down by the storytelling here. I felt like the author did a lot of unnecessary 'telling' - a character would say something to themselves that had already been implied, for example. If it only happened a few times I could let that go, but it came up again and again. I did enjoy the plot, but I often found myself skimming pages so that I could find out what was going on without having to actually read it. Because of the plot, I'm giving this 5/10. I would read the sequels, but they are a long way down my list of bookish priorities at the moment.