Review - King's Bane by J.C. Owens

book cover

King's Bane

by J.C. Owens

My rating:

Volume 2 of Siren's Call

Tags: Fantasy Pirates

Posted in Book Reviews on May 31, 2022

Part of Vaden just wants to give up and die. He has survived chained up in a dark dungeon long than many of the other captives, kidnapped as part of a mad plot to lure pirate captains to their death. In Vaden's case, the target is his sister, who has gone against the family and joined the brotherhood of pirates. But also, perhaps, the kidnapper and his master are after Vaden's brother, an admiral. But in spite of his despair that neither of his siblings has come to his rescue, Vaden hangs on, along with one other prisoner, the close friend and crew member for another pirate captain, Oulin. It's Oulin who finally rescues the two nearly dead prisoners and takes them under his care. Oulin has always had a weakness for “broken” young men that he wants to care for and “fix”, always to his later regret, so he tries to steer clear of Vaden, but the young man may finally be a match for the suave captain, even if it seems the whole world wants to keep them apart.

It's been nearly five years since I reviewed the first book of this series, Siren's Call, and it didn't seem at the time like that was the first book of a series (and I'm not sure it was intended as such at the time) but the world created in that book was apparently too irresistible not to return to. So, we finally have a new book set in the same world of pirates and the warring states they live off of. If you haven't read that original book, then you'll be missing a lot of background about the main characters of that story, Rastay and Dradin, who play significant roles in this volume as well. However, the main characters of this book, Vadin and Oulin, are essentially new so you could conceivably read this as a stand-alone.

If you've read some of this author's work, then Vaden is a very familiar archetype: short, slight, a bit timid and seemingly very submissive, but they often surprise you, and the other characters in the story. Vaden is very much in that mold, but still with a lot of distinctive personality traits that make him much more than a cutout character. The trauma he goes through, and continues to be exposed to, throughout the story is quite realistically displayed, and really makes you hope things will turn out for him and Oulin, although at times it's hard to see how it can.

Oulin is also very much a type: the dashing rogue with a bad reputation who just needs the love of a good man to set him on the right path. Only, without spoiling things too much, that's not the way it really works out. As in the previous book, the two men actually turn out to be what the other needs.

“King's Bane” is available from Amazon.