August 2010, Solaris
416 pages, Paperback
Content: moderate violence, death, moderate gore, lots of suspense, tissues needed.
Summary from Solaris
Rolencia’s ancestral enemy, Merofynia, has invaded and marches on King Rolen’s castle. Powerless to help, thirteen yeard old Piro watches as her father, King Rolen, listens to poisoned whispers concerning his son Bryen. How could the King doubt his second son? Determined to prove his loyalty, Bryen races across the path of the advancing army to ask the Abbot to send the warrior monks in defense of the castle.
I'm smiling as I write this review. I enjoyed the first in the trilogy, the King's Bastard. My only mild complaint was that there wasn't enough book space given to Piro. Well, in this book Piro has plenty of chapters/partial chapters. The book is split pretty equally between Piro, Fyn and Byren (although personally I think there might actually be a greater percentage given to Piro). Yay! Either that or I remember more about Piro. I love Piro! Compared with her debut in the first book, in this installment Piro has matured a lot. She has had to. The sights she has witnessed, the stakes that her life - and the lives of others - are so high that I wanted to stay up late reading the entire thing (I didn't, because it wasn't a wise choice. The book would be there the next day.).
She's grown because she doesn't always rush head first into danger. She uses her head and thinks events through. My favourite part which I think sums up Piro quite well is when she changes from servant clothes to her fine clothes in a store cupboard. I won't say more than that :) Naturally Fyn and Byren's lives are also explained. I like both their character growths: Fyn for having to lead people when he doesn't want to lead them, and Byren for finding the strength (eventually) to put one foot in front of the other.
As a reader I enjoyed all the moments when the characters believed one thing, but the truth was quite different. The conflict here is just as strong as the first book, if not more so. Because the reader already knows the characters, this book is chock full of action. The history has already been set and I felt like I was catching up with friends' lives.
Piro! Piro! Piro! Definitely read this book - even if you haven't read first one. You'll love it! (Oh, and my theory about part of the story still hasn't been proved or disproved. I'll have to wait for the 3rd book for that).Plus - look at the cover! Piro!!! (At least that's my interpretation)
Be sure you've checked out book one, The King's Bastard.