When destiny calls, there’s no fighting back . . .
As a bard’s apprentice, Kihrin grew up with tales of legendary deeds. He also steals, desperate to buy a way out of Quur’s slums. Then he raids the wrong house, he’s marked by a demon and life will never be the same again.
Kihrin’s plight brings him to the attention of royalty, who claim him as the lost son of their immoral prince. But far from living the dream, Kihrin’s at the mercy of his new family’s ruthless ambitions. However, escaping his jewelled cage just makes matters worse. Kihrin is horrified to learn he’s at the centre of an ancient prophecy. And every side – from gods and demons to dragons and mages – want him as their pawn. Those old stories lied about many things too, especially the myth that the hero always wins.
Then again, maybe Kihrin isn’t the hero, for he’s not destined to save the empire. He’s destined to destroy it.
Author: Jenn Lyons
Series: A Chorus of Dragons (#1)
Page Count: 560
Release Date: 07/02/2019
My Chosen Format: Hardback
My Rating of ‘The Ruin of Kings’: 4 out of 5
The Ruin of Kings was a novel I had seen rated very highly on a dozen or so blogs and one I knew I just had to try for myself. I hadn’t read a fantasy that was over five-hundred pages in a while so thought diving into one was well overdo.
For anyone out there that will or won’t read a book depending on whether it is written in first or third person point of view … run away screaming now. This epic is written in both. I know, that sounds utter madness, and I can only imagine the noise made by many a literary agent’s eyes as they rolled sardonically when seeing that description on the covering letter from a submission package.
It is told from the point of view of Khirin (the main character that the book revolves around). Our protagonist finds himself trussed up in some dungeon or another and, with the aid of a magical rock that records everything he says (fantasy’s answer to a tape recorder) and the insistent prodding of his jailer, he retells his life story up until the point he finds himself behind bars.
The other half of the story (the novel is told in counterpoint, alternating chapters for one of two main POVs) comes to us from Talon, Khirin’s jailer. Talon is a mimic and, by virtue of eating the brains of a person she gains their memories and, too a lesser extent, their essence. Her parts of the story are told from the different people she has absorbed, all people who Khirin has interacted with in his life.
When I first started, I felt it was going to be an incredibly strange reading experience. It wasn’t the case at all. The chapters are all fairly short and I found myself eagerly looking forward to the next telling from the next POV. Sometimes, as with all books, the story tends to flag and feel a little slow-paced. The promise of a new POV in the next chapter really helps to move it along as you know you won’t be bogged down by the same slow section for yet another chapter.
I remember a younger me loved reading the Ciaphas Cain series from the Warhammer 40k Universe and it was often the ‘editor’s notes’ in the footmarks that got me excited. This dynamic is used here as one of the characters that features throughout is adding his notes to certain poignant parts of the manuscript. It’s a very nice touch that keeps the reader interested and serves to inform the reader more about parts of the world being crafted without resorting to bothersome info-dumps throughout the prose.
I absolutely loved the story being told and the characters that populated The Ruin of Kings were incredibly memorable. My only issues, character-wise was that they all tended to have a pretty similar sense of humour. Even the antagonists. It kind of took me out of the story a little as it felt like, perhaps, they all had the author’s sense of humour rather than their own. They all seemed to want to be funny, as well. Even when the serious parts were going on. I felt this made me lose a bit of the epic feel I could have otherwise had. I also felt the character of the Emperor didn’t feel very emperor-like. But then, given the background of each emperor that isn’t entirely surprising.
I said it was told in counterpoint, but it was also told in two parts. Part one is about the first 90% of the book and part two is the ending. I felt part one was pretty fantastic and that part two seemed to drop off the pace a little. That being said, I still felt as though the end was pretty damn epic. I just felt some of the build up to get to the end was a bit slower than perhaps it could have been. I ALMOST lost interest at parts.
Those negatives aside, it was still an incredibly enjoyable book and one that I look forward to carrying on with.