Book Review: The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Title: The Ruin of Kings
Author: Jenn Lyons
Series: A Chorus of Dragons #1
Publication Date: 5th February 2019

Synopsis: "What if you weren't the hero?
Kihrin grew up on tales of long-lost princes and grand quests - despite being raised in a brothel, making money as a musician and street thief. One day he overreaches by targeting an absent noble's mansion, hunting for jewels. There he witnesses a prince performing a terrifying dark-magic ritual. Kihrin flees but he's marked by a demon and his life will never be the same again.

That night also leads to him being claimed as a lost son of that prince's royal house. But far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family's power plays and ambitions. He must also discover why his murderous father finds Kihrin more valuable alive than dead. Soon Kihrin attempts to escape his relative's dangerous schemes, but finds himself in far deeper waters.

He becomes tangled in a plot to kill the Emperor, rob the Imperial vaults, claim a god-slaying sword and free bound demons to wreak havoc across the land. Kihrin also discovers the old tales lied about many things: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love - and the hero always winning. But maybe Kihrin isn't fated to save the empire. He's destined to destroy it.

My thoughts: Wow, this one was a ride and a half. I know some people like to write down names and family lines for epic fantasy books, and this one definitely made me understand why. I was quite tempted to do it myself. There are so many characters here aside from Kihrin, that I had trouble keeping them straight at times. However, it was still an absolutely gripping story that I found myself wanting to remember everyone properly, and I think that's a good sign.

This book has an incredibly interesting tale to tell - and it's not just told from Kihrin's perspective, so we get a much more nuanced and deeper understanding of what is actually happening and why. There is just so much scope here, and I am incredibly surprised at how much Jenn Lyons has managed to squeeze in here - there are even dragons in here! While the book is quite long, I never actually really felt like it dragged out at all - every chapter was necessary, every little speech told a little something more about the secrets being kept and the questions that needed to be answered.

And the characters!! Kihrin is really interesting, and his fellow storyteller is even more fascinating. There are demonic characters who seem to revel in the pain they cause (bit of a trigger warning here for physical, mental, and sexual abuse), and there are characters just struggling through and trying to do the right thing. There are beings that have existed for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, and there are those whose lives are short but full of drama. Honestly, I finished this book a while ago and I am still thinking about how certain characters fit into the great big puzzle of The Ruin of Kings - and wondering where Lyons is going to take them next (I fear for my favourites!).

Whilst I didn't absolutely fall head-over-heels in love with this book, I still think it is a really strong start to a series, and I can't wait to see where the story goes next. I highly recommend to those who enjoy epic fantasy with a character list as long as your arm.

{I received a review copy of this book from Pan Macmillan. Thank you!!!}

A favourite line from the book: 'When they brought me up to the auction block, I looked out over the crowd and thought: I would kill you if I had a knife.
And if I wasn't naked, I amended.
And shackled.'

You would like this book if: You like huge-cast, epic fantasy; you want to disappear completely into another world with intense imagination and lore.

Tea to drink while reading this book: blood of your enemies? *cough* I mean... something strong. Dark like your soul.

Rating:  8/10

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