Monday, 11 October 2010

The Usurper by Rowena Cory Daniells

September 2010, Solaris
416 pages, Paperback
Review copy 


Magic, moderate violence - including assassination, a little bit of humour, lots of revelations

Summary from Solaris
Now a slave, Piro finds herself in the Merofynian Palace where, if her real identity is discovered, she will be executed.

Meanwhile, Fyn is desperate to help his brother, Bryen, who is now the uncrowned King. Bryen never sought power but now he finds himself at the centre of a dangerous resistance movement as the people of Rolencia flee vicious invaders. How can Byren defeat the invaders, when half his warriors are women and children, and the other half are untrained boys and old men?

Nayuleska's thoughts 
The end has finally happened! I get to know what happens to Piro. Well! Before I talk about the ending I'd better discuss the rest of the book. This review will be Piro-centric because she is my favourite character. Although Isolt is vying for joint first place. 

The best part about trilogies are all the pieces of the plot coming together. It's been a real pleasure watching Fyn develop courage and leadership skills, especially considering how terrified of blood he was in the first book. Byren has proven he is a son of royal blood, although he has a lot of guilt to contend with. The enemies are cruel, their treatment to others is horrific. Only by quick thinking and aid from others can all three of Rolenskin survive. 

Then there is Piro! I was so happy throughout the entire book. Where she ends up, what she does, who she meets (Isolt...) she has the largest character development. She has to keep her tongue closed because if she speaks, she could betray herself and be killed. She has to be friends with her enemy (several of them). I didn't know how she would get through to Isolt, but she does. I honestly thought that what happened at the very end, could have been done by Piro. The ending is an ending, but I believe there is the option for more books about Piro (and the rest of her remaining relatives). I think I'll just have to wait and see what is coming next. 

I can now reveal my theory - which was proved false. I thought that when Lence died...there was a small chance he would have survived the fire, come back and either help Byren or be a real problem. He didn't. I think he was really dead. Unless there are more books and he does come back. There's always hope, right? 

Plus this cover is scary. My favourite was book two :) 
Final Conclusion
This is one seriously awesome fantasy trilogy. It has strong leading characters (strongest is Piro, naturally), strong antagonists and secondary characters. The details in the fights, the landscapes, the weapons, the magical creatures are all at high level. If you like Fantasy, you should put this to the top of your list. 

Be sure to check out Rowena's website

The trilogy began in The King's Bastard, continued in The Uncrowned King and has concluded. For now! 

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