The Ruin of Kings

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

Content warnings: objectification of women, prostitution, and slavery

In her debut, Jenn Lyon creates an incredibly rich world filled with demons, vanés, gods, god-kings, and wizards. She does a great job of unveiling her world, its mythology, and its characters slowly to  effectively hook the reader.

Kihrin is a sixteen-year-old musician's son, and thief, who lives in the country of Quur. By day, he lives and works, alongside his father, in a whorehouse. By night, he steals from the rich to obtain the money to help his father retire. His simple life is disrupted by the secrets and plotting that begin to unravel when a heist goes south. 

Its unique storytelling interweaves two different perspectives of when the story begins. Talon, a monster who holds Kihrin captive at the most current point of time, begins by telling the story of Kihrin at the beginning, at the heist. Meanwhile. Kihrin’s version of his story begins more so towards the quarter mark, where he is sold into slavery. It was initially confusing to read parallel stories. Once I discovered that Talon's story was written in third person and Kihrin's in first person, I had an easier time following along. My biggest critique with this style is that it makes it hard to understand characters’ relationship to each other. It's hard to care about anyone but Kihrin since we don't get to see them enough. 

I preferred Talon’s story significantly more because it emphasizes Kihrin's character growth. He is quick-witted, caring, patient, resourceful, and honorable. Kihrin's narration show Kihrin as cynical and faithless. Considering that Kihrin is dragged into a world of royalty politics and prophecies against his will, it's no surprise! Since Kihrin starts as a decent man, I'm interested in seeing how he turns from a likeable hero to an antihero.

The Ruin of Kings is complex-- sometimes too much so. It tackles several unique features: a different storytelling method, an observer recounting the story, juxtaposed perspectives, non-chronological order. The Ruin of Kings misses the mark at a few of this because it tries to encompass too much. Despite this, I am interested in seeing what other unique features Jenn Lyons incorporates into her debut. I'll definitely be finishing once this title is released.
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Found this book a little dense in the material and the world building. Normally I enjoy fantasy books such as this (such as Sanderson) but this one seemed very info heavy and hard to keep up with. I'm sure some fantasy readers would love this but it wasn't for me.
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I generally read - old school i know - fantasy and SF, but saw this one on audio...hands down, the best book I have listened to (with multiple narrators) or read in a while. The story is presented in a past/present format with a main character and the points of view of (almost) everyone in his life. 5/5 stars. 
I also read the advanced copy of the book which was compliments of NetGalley and the publisher. The reading  copy I give 4.5/5 due to switching back and forth on storyline, which was a bit confusing without "hearing" a difference in tonality/age/etc.
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Frustrating and confusing read. It's possible it's the format, or even just my mood. But I keep getting confused and can't seem to separate the character voices.
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Unfortunately, The Ruin of Kings wasn't for me. I wanted to like it: there are a lot of things to like about it. But it didn't do it for me. I'm sure others will enjoy much more than I did.
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I didn't figured out that I'll get only the except of the story, so to be honest I wasn't really excited to start reading, since I won't have the whole thing. From what I read, it has a lot of potential, so I hope someday I'll be able to read through whole story.
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The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons is a mystifying epic fantasy novel set in a terrifying world where gods and demons walk alongside humans and other creatures. The worldbuilding of this series is massive but it didn’t really feel like it because I really relished the way the story was being unraveled and that helped to build upon the world. The bulk of the story is told through two different POVs while being compiled through a third POV who often leaves footnotes to clarify certain parts of the story but all of it follows one main central character. The story alternates between two time periods before finally converging on the “present”. I really enjoyed the suspense and mystique of this storytelling. If you like stories that highly rely on lies and deception, this is definitely the story for you. The story hardly ever gives the truth of any situation.

Kihrin is a bastard orphan that has grown up in a whorehouse with his blind “father” and a godmother/aunt who has helped raise him. He has been told the story of how he came to live with them but he always believed his father’s more believable story was the true one… until his eyes are opened to the truth. Once Kihrin’s origin is revealed, he moves in with the family who claims him but life in a palace is even more dangerous and deadly than Kihrin’s life on the street as a thief. The young Kihrin story is told through the eyes of a mind stealing/body stealing shapeshifter who portrays the story as to how Kihrin is in the predicament he is in.
Kihrin tells his part of the story in the second major POV and it is set in the more “present” time even though it is not. Kihrin is sold into slavery and at the auction he learns that he’s more popular than he thought. It’s not long after this event, he begins to learn about a prophecy and his role in it. In his journey, he begins to learn some hard lessons and train in order to become who he needs to be to fulfill the prophecy.

I was hooked on the story until a major revelation about the MC was revealed and I felt it was a bit of a letdown. I was kind of disappointed since the information seemed to come out of nowhere and hadn’t really seen page time until the revelation. After that I wasn’t as involved with the story as I was. The synopsis states: “There are the old stories. And then there’s what actually happens.”  Because of that, the story does constantly talk about how the MC knew this story wrong but when he encounters the truth it is kind of a comparison game of what is truth and what has been embellished. This happens over and over again. Most of the time these stories aren’t even relayed until the truth of the story is being revealed.

Kihrin is 15 years old at the start of his story and The Ruin of Kings spans about five years of his life. It may seem like this is a young adult story but it is not. I personally don’t have a problem with a teen reading this but there are some heavy themes (sex, murder, rape, incest and cannibalism) and lots of killing. At times Kirhin is a selfish, spoiled brat and at other times he’s unselfish and rational. He goes from having a plan to just trying to stay alive. He does throw a lot of fits because the people in this novel have a hard time telling the truth or just plain telling the facts… in order for him to get any kind of answers. It is almost like he has to stay in the dark about everything…

The shapeshifter, Talon, is my favorite character of the series. She has no problem with eating people for their memories. She loves to shock people and she has no problem telling it like it is. I kept hoping for some kind of redeeming arc but there is no redeeming Talon. She’s pretty evil. Although, who knows… there are four more books planned in this series.

In the end, I did lose some interest just because all the deception was getting to be too much. And I kind of wish the prophecy was more detailed so I’m not sure quite what the setup is for the rest of the series but I will definitely check out the next book. I liked enough of the characters and I am intrigued by how the storytelling will differ from the storytelling of this book.
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I wanted to like this book.  I really did.  I mean, look, there's a dragon on the cover.  How can it go wrong.  But it did for me.  Maybe it was me, that I simply didn't get it.
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The story is told over different periods of time by our possible hero or possible reluctant villain Kihrin and by Talon, who I’ll leave you to meet for yourselves. It is impossible to describe in review the intelligent plotting and extraordinarily fascinating tale that unfolds so I won’t even try but it was completely gripping and the writing is beautifully immersive first page to last.
Also it has dragon’s, sea monsters, demons and magic, heroes and villains that are occasionally interchangeable and an addictive quality that is second to none.
Loved it. Highly Recommended.
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I found this preview to be a little dense, but I did enjoy it. I would only recommend to high-fantasy readers who are likely to enjoy complex world building, but not for those who are new to the genre.
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I'm not sure what to make of this book.  It confused me a bit, the way it was written, from different character perspectives telling the story.  I didn't really care for it, nor the ending.
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First of all, I didn't realize this was an excerpt when I clicked the read now button and added this title to my NetGalley queue. This has taught me to be a lot more careful when reading email from NetGalley to make sure I'm not getting stuck with partial books that I am then obligated to read bits of and review. Secondly, since I'm so behind, I naturally missed the publication date of the complete book, and in an effort to catch up on my NetGalley reads, I purchased the audiobook. I've reached the point in the audiobook that corresponds with where the excerpt ends, so my review is based strictly on the excerpt portion of book.

Lyons has created a very dense, complex world, and thus has to spend a great deal of time providing the reader with details about that world so events make sense. I think she does this well, but I also think that this is a book that works better in print than on audio, so that the reader can more easily flip back to check names, places, and little details that are easily overlooked. This is not a book to speed read through. I have questions now that I probably wouldn't have if I had the print version and could flip back. Even the eBook version is not conducive to going back for details, so my initial recommendation is to grab the hard copy. One thing that Lyons does, which is a problem I have with a lot of epic fantasy novels, is create names that are nearly unpronounceable. I'm grateful for the audiobook if for no other reason than someone else gets to say the names. I'm sure I would still stumble over them if I switched to print now. I don't find it clever or cute or intelligent - I find it annoying and vexing, but it's a personal preference, so take that into account.

I'm rating this 4 stars because, while there are elements that annoy me (see above), even listening and being sometimes lost without the text in front of me, there's an interesting story here, with fascinating characters. I want to know more, so I will undoubtedly finish the audiobook. I may even buy a hard copy and switch over on the weekend, instead of just listening at work.
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Thank you for this excerpt! Exciting and hard to put down - Cannot wait to read the finished book! The Ruin of Kings is an epic novel filled with great world-building and characters you can't help but root for!
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I was really looking forward to this book, but just reading the excerpt i just couldn't see myself actually reading it. Maybe I'll give it a chance later.
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I enjoyed this, however it is definitely a world and character building book leading to a series, not alot happens but the characters and there situations make it a worth while read I will definitely be continuing this series!
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As a preview of this book I found it leaving me wanting more. A good book which I will need to read more of.
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Kihrin is a musician's son in the slums of Quur, living in a brothel; his days  filled singing in performances.  His nights are very different as he scales the roofs and breaks into the homes of the wealthy.  One night while robbing an empty house, he discovers it isn't empty at all, but overhears men plotting and planning and sees things he knows he shouldn't.  Kihrin escapes and doesn't think much about it except relief at what could have happened and didn't.

Or so he thinks.  A few days later, he is out in the marketplace when a demon appears; a demon who seems very interested in Kihrin.  The Emperor's men come and fight it off, but in the process, Kihrin is scooped up and taken into the house of D'Mon.  There he finds one of the men he saw plotting and is shocked beyond words when the man claims Kihrin as his long-lost son.  It's hard to believe but the man and the other members of the household have the same piercing blue eyes and blonde hair Kihrin has, the eyes his father could never explain.  Soon Kihrin is installed in house D'Mon but it isn't a fairy-tale ending.  The house is full of plans and betrayals, alliances and opposing enemies.  He finds a brother he comes to love and perhaps his mother, but everything is shrouded in layers of deceit and secrecy.  Before he can discover the truth, he is betrayed and sold into slavery.

Now on a galley ship, Kihrin's life is brutal.  When he escapes he is marooned on an island, where gods fight over him and a dragon insures his presence.  He learns more about witchcraft and the evil he left behind.  Can he find a way to get back and save the Empire?

This is a debut novel in a new series and comes with a lot of buzz.  Lyon has created interesting characters and a world that is both bleak and intricate, full of betrayals and love and plots.  The reader is brought into the world with little explanation and must piece together the clues to determine reality, the same as Kihrin.  It can get confusing at times, with characters coming back as other characters and almost no one being the person they appear to be at first, but the discovery is enthralling and readers will turn the last page ready for the sequel.  This book is recommended for epic fantasy readers.
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For an excerpt there was some really interesting stuff here. It just took a lot to get into and the very beginning was a bit confusing. It feels like a lot of exposition.

But by the time the excerpt closed I was intrigued though I must admit I'm still only 50/50 on continuing on.
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I am intrigued by this excerpt and definitely want to read more. I want to buy this book. I need more!
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This preview was a great read.

I loved the characters and the world. I think Lyons did a great job building the details and keeping the reader interested. Every side character seemed to be complex and interesting, which I really enjoyed.

I believe the story framing structure, while mostly done effectively, made things needlessly complicated. at times. This hindered my enjoyment somewhat. I think it was mostly done well, but at times I felt a little lost.
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