I love the cover of Rowena Cory Daniells' The King's Bastard! There's just something a bit, um, sinister about it, isn't there?The King's Bastard is an epic fantasy offering from Rowena Cory Daniells, the first of 3 books. In this one, we are introduced to Byren, the King's second son. His twin brother Lence is the heir, his younger brother Fyn is promised to the abbey, and his sister Piro is, well, the King's daughter.There is magic here, dubbed Affinity, and it seems to mess with you enough that if you show any signs of it, you're shipped off to the Abbey to learn how to control it. Rogue users do so on penalty of death. So when the King's progeny start displaying signs of Affinity, what is there to do? Well, try to hide it, of course. Until you can't anymore, because the consequences are less threatening than the alternative.Character: Byren Kingsson is a good man. He is loyal to his family, his country, and his friends. That loyalty gets him in trouble, when he tries to protect his BFF from being outed, and is himself "outed" instead. Not that he's gay, but who cares about the details? His twin, Lence, is not as likable. He's malleable, and is more glass-half-empty than glass-half-full. Being the heir, it's not difficult to get him all paranoid that Byren's up to something, especially when you have advisers who're pretty good at working the spin machine...But you'd think you'd give your own twin the benefit of the doubt, right? I mean, where's all the twin-power at?Pace & Plot: The story takes a little while to get going, and there is so much happening--with four children, plus the King and his Queen, and some of the other characters--that I needed to go back and re-read some chapters to get my story straight. But once stuff starts, it doesn't stop, and keeps building until something has to combust. And combust it does.I found some of the story to be very simplistic, where I was all "duh!" and some of it to be truly engrossing. But all in all, a pretty good yarn, and I'll be looking for the next book to find out what happens to Byren next.