A King’s Radiance: Bonds of Kin Book 1

Book Reviews / Sunday, July 10th, 2022

By: L. R. Schulz
Epic Fantasy
Luke Schulz Publishing (Self Published)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Content/Trigger Warnings: Shown on page: Child abduction; Death of a child
Alluded to: Slavery; Genocide

“To Raize, only one thing was worse than the high-pitched sob of a crying mother: a dozen crying mothers…they were being forced to watch as their children were taken from them for no better reason than being born with the ‘gift’ of Shine.” L. R. Schulz, A King’s Radiance

A King’s Radiance is L.R. Schulz’s excellent debut epic fantasy. I was very impressed with his world building, including a very unusual magic system, political intrigue, and well-developed characters. It was an action-filled story of three royal siblings, Dazen, Isha, and Raize, who are forced to set out on different paths. As the oldest, Dazen is destined to become King, Isha is taken as a “trophy” slave for her unusual violet eyes, and Raize, blaming himself for his sister’s capture, embarks on a life of revenge. Each of these vastly different storylines was exciting and over the course of the novel, Dazen, Isha, and Raize fight against injustices of the Empire of Zapour. The magic that manifests in some people is called the “Shine”, where the user harnesses the power of Zur, which is their sun. It was truly an engrossing tale, and I was drawn right into this story. Mr. Schulz’s fantasy novel is certainly a worthy inclusion in to fantasy genre, with all the elements of fantasy in place to make this a fast paced, edge of your seat story. It was a fantastic book, a debut novel no less, and I highly recommend it.

I loved the magic system in this book. I am fascinated with the different ways author’s use magic and what they come up with. Mr. Schulz developed a highly unique system. It is called the Shine, where wielders use the power of Zur (their sun) to harness energy. This builds up inside, until they eventually have to release it. Those who have control release it in short “bursts”. Both Raize and Dazen have Shine, whereas Isha does not. Raize has become powerful and learned how to use his light abilities, as he travels the Empire of Zapour taking revenge, as he searches for his sister. He can shape his power in weapons, which was such a clever use of the light power. Dazen does not use it as much, as he relies on more traditional fighting as the heir to the throne. One of the other factors I liked was the toll the Shine took, which is very realistic for me. The use of powerful magic drains the body and too much use can render parts of the body permanently damaged. I thought this was a great choice on the part of Mr. Schulz. First, not everyone has this ability, and second, magic use has consequences, rather than users simply wielding their light powers as much as they want. It was more realistic for me.

“… He had spent years learning to control his Shine. The white-light was now his friend, not his enemy. He focused both his mind and his body, willing it to come to life. A jet of Light streamed out of his hand…he shaped it with his mind and hand crafting it into a weapon…He waved the solid Light around like a spear, its tip curving and flattening, turning it into a large glaive…Raize stepped forward, now fully aware that the entire audience was staring at him…He closed his eyes, ready to unleash the full power of his might, whatever the risk to his body.” L. R. Schulz, A King’s Radiance

The main protagonists, Dazen, Isha, and Raize, each have a different story that we follow and their character arcs are well-rounded. Dazen and Raize want to get their sister back, but they have different approaches. Dazen, as heir, is more conventional in his approach. Training with a sword, controlling his Shine, and accepting an arranged marriage. The woman he is to marry, Sumaya, is a strong character as well. She is no shrinking violet, and can very well take care of herself. This was such a wonderful change of pace for the arranged marriages that so often take place in books. Raize, having left his royal ties behind, chooses to attack the Empire with a band of rebels. He concentrates on finding the Eagle, those who call themselves gods, who took his sister as a trophy. In the meantime, he uses his strong Shine abilities to strike at the army and rescues children with the Shine from being taken. Raize earns his reputation as an outlaw who must be brought to justice. Isha is a strong female protagonist. She never stops trying to plan her escape, disgusted by being put on “display” by the Eagle who collects people with unusual characteristics. She never cowers in her situation and plays along until her moment might come to flee.

“Vulnerability was a trick of the mind. The fear of being harmed, of being embarrassed. Vulnerability was the emotion of a coward, and Isha was no coward. Cowards ended up dead.” L. R. Schulz, A King’s Radiance

For a debut novel, Mr. Schulz’s pacing and prose were very well-done. It was evenly spaced with action and character development. I was never bored and there was never a time I felt that nothing was happening. Everything moved the plot forward to the ultimate climax of the book. The narrative is told in the third person perspective of Dazen, Isha, and Raize. We get to see the paths they are on and the choices they make. The reader can see the full picture in this type of narrative, rather than through the first person voice of the character. For this particular story, it was an excellent choice. Chapters are devoted to each one throughout the story and it is never confusing. They all come together beautifully for one amazing ending. There are twists and turns in this book you will never see coming. It was fantastic.

Overall Thoughts

L. R. Schulz’s debut novel, A King’s Radiance, is a praise worthy entrance into the fantasy genre. With its unique magic system, political intrigue, and well-developed characters, I enjoyed this novel very much. The main protagonists, three royal siblings, Dazen, Isha, and Raize each have their own story arc and all are filled with action and excitement. The pacing was spot on, as we follow each of their exploits that come to a thrilling conclusion. There was fighting and battles, interspersed with character development. Mr. Schulz wrote both the action and characters equally well, making this a well-rounded story. Told in the third person narrative of Dazen, Isha and Raize, we get to see the full picture of how each is coping with the situations they face. The magic system is wonderfully imagined. Many, but not all, people have the Shine, giving the wielder the ability to power Light from Zur, their sun. Raize is exceptionally powerful with the ability to use the light and form it into weapons. The use does take its toll on the body, and I found that to be a well-chosen. Rather than the ability to have endless magic, it comes with a price, and it is up to the user to decide if they are willing to pay it. There is quite a bit of political intrigue, which made for a very interesting part of the book. All of it seamlessly comes together in an amazing conclusion. There are so many twists and turns that Mr. Schulz will take you by surprise, and you will never see them coming. A King’s Radiance was an excellent fantasy that I enjoyed immensely and I highly recommend it.

Summary (from Escapist Book Tours)
Three siblings… a rebel, a prince, a prisoner
The sun’s light shines bright over the land of Zapour, and only a select few can harness its power. But all power comes with a cost, and the world is not kind to those who refuse to pay it.

Raiz Glaive, a strong shine wielder, was born into royalty, though even royals have to answer to someone. When the King-Radiant sends one of his precious underlings to the Kingdom of Trost, Raiz quickly learns who holds the true power in the realm. After his sister is taken prisoner simply for having the violet eyes of a mystic, Raiz swears vengeance. But when an unwilling father stands in his way, Raiz promises to take revenge into his own hands.

Dazen Glaive remains heir to the throne of Trost, and a sworn defender of the King-Radiant, but he has not forgotten what happened to his sister, and will not forgive their cruelty.

Forced to be the centerpiece of her “master’s” twisted human art gallery, Isha remains a prisoner. Though she has not lost hope. Finding friends among fellow captives, she begins to formulate a plan for escape. Though what she discovers has a much more sinister bearing on the fate of all of Zapour.

My thanks to Escapist Book Tours for providing me with an eBook.
Purchase A King’s Radiance on Amazon

Luke is a fantasy addict born in Melbourne, Australia. He discovered a passion for fantasy at a young age which developed into a love for the imaginary and a desire to write.

Despite an early passion for storytelling, Luke obtained a teaching degree before beginning a career as a primary school teacher.

When he is not reading and writing, Luke enjoys spending time with his Golden Retriever named Gem, gaming, and surfing.

A King’s Radiance is Luke’s debut novel, though he is always coming up with ideas for his next project, as well as working towards a sequel.

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