Book Review: Besieged / Author: Rowena Cory Daniells / Publisher: Solaris / Release Date: Out Now
Besieged is the first book in a new fantasy series by Rowena Cory Daniells. Her previous series, The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin was a very well received set of action packed stories. Besieged is a change of pace, focusing more on a rich and complex world than getting straight into the action. It’s a slow burner, though there is plenty of intrigue and violence to get your teeth into.
It’s a tale of three races; the magical T’Enatuath, the normal and man-like True Men and the half-blooded people who are caught between the mystical and mundane. Each race also has its own political worries. The race of Man is caught up in power struggles for the throne, whereas the mystics are split along gender lines; male and female T’Enatuath form brotherhoods and sisterhoods which struggle amongst themselves for power and prestige, whilst the half-blood’s lot is one of survival, second-class citizens that they are. Thrown into this mix are two wildcards who will change everything, whether they want to or not. Daniels juggles these different societies in a direct yet skilful manner, giving the reader just enough insight into this intricate world to keep it interesting.
One should never judge a book by its cover, though Besieged does feature a rather marvellous illustration by digital artist Clint Langley, and the white haired girl on the front is rather evocative of A Game of Thrones. This is actually a fair comparison; Besieged’s different in many ways to Martin’s work, but matches it in scope, creativity and sprawling storytelling style. Rowena Cory Daniels builds compelling worlds out of the strangest ideas, and though Besieged is perhaps a little over long, it is also a page turner. Sadly, being the first in a three part series, it also feels incomplete and I do hope the sequel delivers on the promise of the first.