Review : King Breaker – Rowena Cory Daniells

KingBreakerTitle King Breaker

Author Rowena Cory Daniells

Format Paperback
Number of pages 640
ISBN 9781781081495
Publisher Solaris Books

Publication date 10 October 2013


The story of Byron, Fyn and Piro picks up immediately where the cliff-hanging ending of The Usurper let off! When Cobalt stole the Rolencian throne, Byren, Fyn and Piro were lucky to escape with their lives, now they’ve rallied and set out to avenge their parents’ murder. Byren is driven to defeat Cobalt and reclaim the crown, but at what cost? Fyn has sworn to serve Byren’s interests but his loyalty is tested when he realises he loves Byren’s betrothed. And Piro never wanted to win a throne, now she holds the fate of a people in her hands.


King Breaker is the concluding fourth volume in the Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin and brings the adventures of Byren, Fyn and Piro to a very satisfying ending.
While Byren sets sail to Rolencia to recover his stolen throne from the usurper Cobalt, does Fyn stay behind in Merofynia to help Byren’s betrothed Isolt strengthen her position on the throne. While wrestling with his own feelings for Isolt, is Fyn standing before a heartbreaking choice. A choice between duty and love. Piro, on the other hand, tries to help Tyro to bring back peace to the Three Kingdoms and restore mage Tsulamyth’s dream.

If you have read my reviews of the previous three books in this series (The King’s Bastard, The Uncrowned King and The Usurper), then you already know that I find KRK a superb epic fantasy series. So you can imagine that it was with high expectations that I started in King Breaker. And the book lives definitely up to those expectations, because King Breaker is a superb ending to this series.
It has all the good items from the first three books that I loved so much: a fast pace, terrific written emotional scenes and a writing style that is of such a high level that you won’t come across it regularly.

The three protagonists are again very well written down and the side characters, like Orrade, Garzik, Isolt and Florin, are getting a lot more screen time. This gives us more viewpoints in this fourth book and makes this again a very interesting tale. There’s only one small downside about Garzik’s tale. His part is hard to follow in the beginning. The reason for that is that Daniells has also written an exclusive E-novella, The King’s Man, that tells what happened with Garzik after the end of book 1. His tale picks up right after that novella and that could be a little confusing sometimes. Luckily for people like me, who don’t own an E-reader, is Daniells giving us enough flashbacks throughout the book to get up to date with Garzik’s tale and so does his part become a great addition to the tale of King Rolen’s Kin.
Byren’s tale is, like in the previous books, a very emotional tale about a man who has to deal with his emotions and make a choice between his duty and his true love. The complicated relationship between Byren and Florin is a beautiful and heart wrenching example of this. His tale takes place in Rolencia where he has to dethrone Cobalt, with a possible civil war as a means.
Fyn’s story is a tale about how far you will go to ensure you achieve your goals. A perfect example of this is the scene at the Merofynian war table where he has to decide how to punish the Utlanders for invading Mero Bay. He also has to help Isolt establish her rule over the Merofynian nobles, while fighting upstart spar lords. In Fyn’s chapters is also a scene that is one of the most horrible and scary I’ve ever read about. I’m talking about the scene where Sefarra deals with Cortigern. This scene shows us that cruelty will take the upper hand when you push someone over the edge and when revenge comes in play.
Piro’s tale isn’t as interesting in this book as it was in the previous parts, but she’s still my favorite character of the whole series and one of the best female protagonists I’ve ever read about. Her part in this book consists mainly in helping Pyro to restoring mage Tsulamyth’s dream of long-lasting peace between the three kingdoms.

Daniells’ writing style is, as usual, flawless and reads like a rollercoaster. The complete series is over 2,000 pages long, but it’s written with such a flair for storytelling that you will read them all four in one week if you want. Yes, I find them that good and they are almost impossible to put down. It’s classic epic fantasy, but with so much emotion in it that it becomes a very original tale.
It’s not all emotions in this book, though. There are also very cool action scenes that would look great in a movie. A few examples of this are Cobalt’s Wedding and the scene where Byren, together with an Ulfr pack, confronts eleven Merofynians to rescue his friends. There are a lot more of these scenes, but you’ll have to read the book to find them for yourselves, otherwise I would give to many spoilers away.

And that brings us to my conclusion.
King Breaker is one of the best fantasy books of 2013 and a beautiful written and emotional tale about longing for your heart’s most precious desire, about what you will do and sacrifice to get it. It has everything a good epic fantasy book needs: an interesting world with a great magic system, well-developed characters that you gonna love and an intriguing story written in a superb writing style. But the most important things that King Breaker (and, in addition, the complete Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin) is having are two things that you’ll find only in the very best books: a heart and a soul.


About Dominick

Husband, father, author and fantasy-freak

Posted on 26/12/2013, in Books, Review and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I have to be honest, I think this book is seriously lacking. Daniels does not take the time to differentiate between the personalities of many of her characters, she does not show connections between them, rather she just tells me they exist, and aside for the first part of the series where everything falls apart and the end, which I do believe was strong all things considered, things are really not that hard for Byren or the others. Byren’s army is wiped out, no problem we found you more me. Byren is seriously injured, no problem here is something else to throw in that fixes it. The mythology is no contiguous. It isn’t developed until perhaps the end when you see how Piro has different Affinity than anyone else.

    I think the basic story is just fine and could be interesting if time were taken to do it right and really explore the world and the magic system and of course the characters! Too much was just glossed over and there was a little too much deus in the machina. decent story, but I was not a fan of the execution and I feel King Rolen’s Kin cannot be called epic fantasy without being a bit disrespectful of true masters like Sanderson and Jemisin and of course Jordan.

    For the avoidance of doubt, I mean no disrespect to anyone, especially the author, I just think that there is depth of story here that is not fully explored in the narrative and is not progressed by the dialogue. In a perfect world Daniels would keep working on KRK until its every bit the series it really could be with a fully explored world and mythology.

    • Thank you for your honest opinion, James. Always interesting to see other’s opinion on books I love. As you can read in my review my opinion is quite the opposite. I do agree with your point that it feels a little rushed near the ending, but maybe you’ll change your opinion a bit when I tell you that Daniells plans to return to this world and write more stories in it. For me is Daniells one of my favorite authors.

      • Hi Dominick,

        It was an interesting enough space that I would read another book. Again, I would not begin to say that the series is without merit and I mean no disrespect to anyone whatsoever. I would be very interested to see the mythology developed some more.

        Have you read Jemisin? Completely different sort of fantasy but her development of characters and evolution of mythology is exceptional. Check out the inheritance triology if you’e not yet done so.



      • I’ve heard good things about Jemisin, but I haven’t read her books as of yet. They are on my to buy list.

  2. I came across RCD in my search for new authors last year. I didn’t quite get it in my schedule, but I do have a copy of The King’s Bastard ready for next year. Hope I have the same reactions to her works as you do.

  1. Pingback: Review : Sanctuary – Rowena Cory Daniells | Fantastical Imaginations

  2. Pingback: Review : Exile – Rowena Cory Daniells | Fantastical Imaginations

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