Cover Image: The Ruin of Kings

The Ruin of Kings

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Member Reviews

An interesting format that I hadn't been expecting. The premise seems interesting and I may look at purchasing this book after reading some more reviews.
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Lyons builds an epic fantasy world with many of the hallmarks of classic fantasy. Instead of falling into over-used scenery and tropes, though, Lyons world feels fresh, exciting, and vivid.
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I have only read an excerpt and it ended in the most inopportune place!! I can’t wait to know what happens next, I think it's going to be an excellent story. 
Thanks to NetGalley for a preview!
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Why did this excerpt have to end in the most inopportune place?! I need to know what happens! Luckily the book is out on Tuesday and I can continue Kihrin's story.

It's hard to rate a book without reading the whole thing but this excerpt was definitely a 5 star for me. I am fully confident that the rest of the book will live up to this first half (quarter, third? not sure how much of the book I actually read). I was immediately drawn to the unique structure of the book, I have a weakness for non-linear storytelling and sarcastic footnotes. I kind of like it when a book makes me work for the story. Despite moving between the two timelines and changing POVs I felt like the voices were distinct and I was still able to follow the story. I was always eager for more and continued to be intrigued by this bloody world and Kihrin's origin story. I'll be very interested to see whether this first book is just the story of how Kihrin came to be in that jail cell or if we will move past that and get to see what kind of danger he is in now.

I'll admit that some of the world building was a little difficult to follow but one of the things I love about adult fantasy is that we are often thrown right into the story and told a million things but the author trusts that the reader is smart enough to follow the story they are telling and not everything needs to be explained in the moment. The author is clearly creating a many layered political climate and I expect there will be much political intrigue. I'm also really interested to see how the theology of this world continues to be woven into the story as the gods are not merely there to be worshipped but also clearly players in this worlds well.

Overall this was a very intriguing to start to a book that I can't wait to finish! Book has been preordered!
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The preview excerpt of this novel does not disappoint. For epic fantasy fans, this is on the must-read list. Kihrin's story is told from two perspectives - his own and that of his know-it-all jailer Talon, who start at two different places, giving both his story and background - from his humble beginnings - and his adventures after his fall from   grace, when he is a slave, creating a delicious form that leaves you in anticipation of the next installment. Lyons creates an intriguing world with characters that entice and delight. The world and its characters draw you in and leave you wanting more. I was disappointed to reach the end of the excerpt. 

This is definitely on my pre-order list. If you are a fan of epic fantasy, add this one to your list. As a first novel, I am looking forward to a lot more to come.
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Let me preface this review by saying this is definitely can be a complex and unorganized read for most. This book is not written in your usual linear or chronological way. Not at all. This is written in dual perspective at different starting points of the Kihrin's life. Talon tells the story from the very beginning before Kihrin was made a prince. Kihrin, himself, starts his story from his time as a slave after being a prince. The writing is seamless, but the style is wild. However, it does not take away from the beauty of the story. Once you get used to reading the story everything just flows smoothly as you read.

Jenn Lyons has taken such interesting characters and writing that pulls you into the story and makes you enjoy the reading. The world building was pretty good. I felt like I was in the world with the characters. The descriptions were well written. I very much enjoyed the country of Quur.

The magic system was interesting as it surrounded around jewels and stones. There was a big thing with reincarnations that definitely added to the whole confusion of the characters a bit as you never knew who was really who. The gods played a role as well and magic was used in fighting as well. I definitely did enjoy the magic system.

Kihrin aka Rook is the sixteen-year-old son of a musician and a highly skilled thief. By day, he lives and works, alongside his father, in a whorehouse. By night, he steals from the rich to help his father retire. His simple, dark life is disrupted when a heist goes wrong and lies begin to unravel around him. 

Kihrin is an amazing young man. With the writing of this story being dual perspective, you get to see his growth and his beginning when all the things in his life took place. Kihrin is a sweet kid that was handed a terrible hand. He was told many things as a kid, but only thought that they were funny stories. However, the truths he thought were lies were the very things that shook his world. Kihrin is a strong character, especially after dealing with his life being turned upside down and his family's drama. He always had a witty remark to say no matter what was going on. I am interested in seeing him hone his magic and become a great man.

I totally enjoyed Talon because she was comical, witty and downright violent. She was the second half of the story as far the storytelling goes. She helped me to truly understand who Kihrin was and his beginning as a slave until the end. Talon had a knack for irritating people. I enjoyed how she bought a good laugh to me.

There were just so many characters to keep track of, but my favorites were Ola, Miya and the emperor. I also enjoyed Therin and Galen as well. Relos Var is still a character I'm on the fence about. I loved all the vanés characters as well. I totally loved Old Man and can't wait to see more of him. Every single characters seemed to be crucial to the development of this story and to Kihrin as a character.

The family drama was insane. Finding out he was a prince, but then the truth of his parents being unraveled was just insane. I am still lost at to who his true parents are because there was just too much back and forth and lies told. His family were a bunch of greedy, prideful people. Including his uncle and his father. The political schemes were ridiculous and added to the tension between the houses and characters.

Overall, this was a good start to an interesting series to come. This book setup the world and characters really well. Despite its complexity I am still excited to read the sequel when it get's released.
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UPDATED 1/31/19 after reading the whole book; previously reviewed the excerpt . . .

Ahoy there mateys!  Today finally be the release day for this fantasy book and I had an unusual journey towards obtaining this novel and also in how I read it . . .

the ruin of kings (Jenn Lyons)

Title: the ruin of kings

Author: Jenn Lyons

Publisher: Macmillian-Tor/Forge

Publication Date: TODAY!! (hardback/ebook)

ISBN: 978-1250175489

Source: NetGalley

Well mateys.  When I first requested this book via NetGalley, I was super excited to read it.  I was very much engaged in the beginning of the story and was avidly devouring it when it abruptly ended!  Apparently I got an excerpt copy which contained chapters 1 to 23!  I don't I don't normally do memes here on me log but decided to do a "Can’t Wait Wednesday" post to review the awesome start.  Here be a recap of that reading experience:

This be the story of Kihrin.  It begins with him in a prison cell talking to a demon named Talon.  How fun is that?  The chapters alternate between Kihrin's versions of events and Talon's additions.  There are also fun footnotes in both.  In Kihrin's chapters it talks about what happened to him after being purchased in a slave auction.  In Talon's chapters it goes back even further than that to when Kihrin's is a 15 year-old and participates in a heist gone wrong.  There was a little settling in for both sections because of the jumps in time.  I couldn't decide which sections I liked better.  Both have awesome magic, fun characters, snarky Kihrin, and lots of politics, intrigue, and action.  While I do love both sections, I hope at some point the story does go to one narrative for better ease of readin'.  But I certainly do want to know what happens next.  Arrr!

So the post goes live and me matey Mogsy @ thebibliosanctum offered to send me an extra copy of the complete Arc.  How could I say no to such treasure?  Arrr!  So I was gleefully excited when I got me post in the next port and the lovely tome was added to the precious stack of books in me cabin.  Of course I just needed the perfect time to read it.

So I was torn about whether I wanted to reread chapters 1-23 or if I should just leap back into the deep end of the story.  I couldn't make up me mind until I discovered that Tor.com was doing something interesting leading up to release day.  Apparently they were releasing one chapter a week online to drum up excitement.  Better yet, Leigh Butler was doing a read of each chapter with commentary with each chapter release.  Of course being at sea often means I am out of touch with the landlubber schedules so by the time I read about this online series, it was already mostly finished.  But what better way to get ready to relaunch back into Jenn Lyons' book then by wetting me whistle with these posts by Butler to jog me memory and refresh me thoughts?  So I told the crew to mind their own business, settled into me bunk, and read all of the posts by Matey Butler.  It was a perfect way to get me feet wet again.

So what about the rest of the book ye say?  Well I had a rollickin' good time!  Truly I was conflicted about which of the storylines, Talon or Kihrin's, I liked better.  I was continually amazed at how I was both annoyed and intrigued by switching back and forth.  Annoyed because each chapter ended and I had to know what happened next.  And intrigued because the next chapter would quickly drawn me back into the other plot line.  There was a bit of confusion at times due to changing names, bodies, and time frames.  I had expected that the two timelines would somehow merge.  That didn't happen.  But the disorientation was minor and I just went with the ebb and flow of the storytelling.

I won't spoil the story for ye but have to say that the ending was kinda awesome and I am intrigued by what will happen next.  Honestly I have no idea where the author will go but the hints be tantalizing.  The world building be immense and the plot elements are many.  Here is just a small sampling of them: dragons, horses, magic, mimics (!), witches, demons, gods, cool weapons, artifacts, soul stealing, prophecy, murder, conspiracy, body-switching, necromancy, slavery, magical races, class politics, rags to riches, heists gone wrong, warring kingdoms, and much more.  I know it sounds like everything and kitchen sink (and it is!) but how they blended together was excellent fun.

Add in characters to root for (Kehrin), characters to be ambivalent about (Tyentso), characters who are evil but fun (Talon) and some unexpected twists and turns and ye have a great story.  I can see how this mix can be too much for some.  But I would very much like the next book right about now.  Arrrr!

So lastly . . .

Thank you Macmillian-Tor/Forge and matey, Mogsy!

Goodreads' website has this to say about the novel:

There are the old stories. And then there’s what actually happens.

Kihrin is a bastard orphan who grew upon storybook tales of long-lost princes and grand quests. When he is claimed against his will as the long-lost son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds that being a long-lost prince isn't what the storybooks promised.

Far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family's power plays and ambitions. He also discovers that the storybooks have lied about a lot of other things things, too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love, and how the hero always wins.

Then again, maybe he’s not the hero, for Kihrin isn’t destined to save the empire.

He’s destined to destroy it . . .

To visit the author’s twitter go to:

Jenn Lyons – Author

To buy the novel go to:

the ruin of kings - Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List
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I read The Ruin of Kings preview. From what I've seen so far, I think it's going to be an excellent story. Now waiting to read the rest of the book. Thanks to NetGalley for a preview in exchange for an honest review.
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A Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons is book one in her new A Chorus of Dragons series. First, I must advise that the copy I am reviewing is a preview and not the full novel. 

The story begins with Talon, a shape-shifting, murderous jailer, encouraging the main character, Kihrin, to tell her his story. The point of view then begins to shift between Kihrin’s narrative and Talon’s version of the same narrative. The story also shifts between first and third person. At first the shifting viewpoints were somewhat confusing, but I eventually caught on. The story then shifts from Kihrin’s past to the present. Thus far, Kihrin has lived an adventurous, but somewhat scary life, and the future promises more of the same. 

The Ruin of Kings is a true fantasy. The author introduces white and black magic, magical and mystical beings and creatures. There are myriad creatures, castes and characters. I liked that Lyons incorporates actual sea creatures interacting with the mystical marine life. The true Ruin of Kings is revealed in the narrative, if you’re paying attention. The rest of the story will undoubtedly be as fantastical as this preview. 

I rate The Ruin of Kings 4 out of 5 stars. Sadly, the changing viewpoints may be distracting to some readers, but I highly recommend it to those interested in a complex, epic fantasy. 

My thanks to MacMillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. However, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine and mine alone.
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I am excited to read this whole book!!  I will look for it on audio also!  Thank you for the option of having a preview!
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“Tell me a story”

You know, I honestly did not know what to expect when I started reading this book but I know I didn’t plan on liking it as much as I did. Multiple POV’s are always a little tricky in that they can sometimes be hard to follow but the way Lyons wrote this, in a dual story-telling format, was so enjoyable. The addition of the first person narrative was, admittedly, a little unexpected given the former third person story-telling but it didn’t bother me. I’m usually not a big fan of timeline-flipping either, but it worked for me here. Originally, I will admit, I was a bit confused but it didn’t take very long to figure it all out and get me hooked on Kihrin’s story.

One thing I’m not sure of is the addition of the footnotes at the end of almost every chapter. The problem with footnotes is that in order to properly reference them you need to be able to keep track of where to find what’s being referenced, which is pretty hard to do in a digital copy of a book. The footnotes themselves are very informative and a pretty great way to incorporate world building but I think they are easily forgotten about unless you have a physical, paper copy of the book that you can easily flip back to. After the first few chapters, I had to pretty much stop reading them. The notes themselves were great, but it was just too hard to keep trying to reference back. That’s really not an issue with the book itself, just a note to anyone that will be buying this upon release. Make sure you grab yourself a paperback or hardcover copy. I think these added footnotes deserve to be read in order to properly immerse yourself in this world and a digital copy just won’t do.  

I wish this wasn’t just a preview but I’m so happy I read it. The Ruin of Kings has mildly been on my radar for a while but it’s also one of those books that hasn’t been overly hyped and I think that’s a mistake. People need to start talking about this book because, if the preview is any indication, this is going to be something that all fantasy readers NEED to get their hands on! I know I’m dying to get the finished copy. 

I would like to thank NetGalley and Tor Books for providing me with this sneak peek to read and give my honest opinion.
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Thank you to Tor Books for providing via NetGalley the opening 23 chapters of Jenn Lyons’ ‘The Ruin of Kings’, the first in a highly anticipated epic fantasy series.

It’s a little difficult to say much about a novel based on only a part, though I was able to gain a sense of Lyons’ style and world building. 

To be honest the format was not the easiest to cope with. The narrative moves between three timelines; all involving Kihrin, the main protagonist. This temporal flip-flopping was a bit confusing.

We open and occasionally return to Kihrin in a prison cell watched over by Talon, a shapeshifter. Kihrin’s past is recounted in the other two timelines.
The later timeline, after Kihrin is enslaved, is told in the first person; while the earlier period of his life is related in the third-person. 

Even though I enjoyed what I read the constant shifting between locations and groups of supporting characters wasn’t easy and at times broke the tension.There are footnotes throughout clarifying points and providing background. Some are quite useful and others a bit random.

When I come to read the entire book I probably will need to take notes on who’s who and the like as it’s a complicated world with a large cast of characters.

The above answers the question of whether after reading this extended preview will I buy the entire book? Yes as I connected with Kihrin and want to see how things turn out for him.  The pre-order is in.
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NOTE: I Read a Preview of this novel.

I actually didn't realize it was a preview and if I'd known earlier, I should've read it sooner but anyway, I've read it in one sitting. Didn't even realize I'm reading it until I'm almost done. I'm not that familiar to the story except to who Kihrin is and a part of his past. But I'm liking this. I found the premise of this book really promising and interesting. I heard this book is marketed as for fans of Patrick Rothfuss, G.R.R. Martin, RObin Hobb and others in the genre. I can see why. Presently, Kihrin is in jail and telling his story to his jailer, Talon and I found his story, at least some of it, intriguing. I can even say I felt like leaning in so close to hear him tell more. :) The world-building is amazing and I've just read a preview. I was expecting a lot of info-dump but there was none. 

Actually my only problem with this book is the narration. It shifts from first-person and third person and you'll understand why when you read the book. The writing is good but I would've preferred a simpler narration. Overall, I look forward to this book. :)
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I’m sure you can guess what this post will be about. I mean, it’s only one of THE most anticipated fantasy debuts coming to YOUR BOOKSTORE on February 5th!

Yes, we’re talking THE RUIN OF KINGS by Jenn Lyons!

[img: clip of cover art from tor.com]
picture taken from Tor.com

Netgalley, my best bro, gave me a cool sneak peek at the beginning of the book, and I am TOO EXCITED get my greedy lil fingers on the rest of it.

I knew I’d be hooked from the first line – I mean, the first line past the prologue. Like, the prologue intrigued me, but that first line? That cinched it.

Just . . .

“Tell me a story.”

You just know for a fact that when anything – a short story, a novel, a movie, anything starts with that, it’s gonna be good.

The writing is clear and compelling, and an obvious labor of love. Every bit of worldbuilding gives us a glimpse of a remarkable world that I cannot wait to see more of. And of course, sprinkled amidst all that are some of my favorite tropes of all time. You want some political intrigue? You want some PROPHECIES and DESTINIES and a WAYWARD HERO that doesn’t want to partake in ANY of it but has to anyway? You want a world that’s gritty and magical and grabs you by the lapels at its first chance? You ready . . . for FOOTNOTES? (I was totally going to add that as a footnote but the coding on that is very, very weird.)

Bam. Here you go.

2019 is proving to be a fantastic year of debuts, and while I feel like I may have said the same of 2018, I’ve got a good feeling about this year when we’ve got something as good as A RUIN OF KINGS on the roster.

I’ve got my copy preordered (thank god I got preorders done back in November when I was gainfully employed LMAO!), but I am SO READY to get my fingers on it ASAP. This is definitely a book you want to get ahold of as soon as you can – preorder it, line up at the store to get it, talk to your librarian, do ANYTHING you can to get on this book y’all!

And not only do I look forward to the rest of this fabulous book, I look forward to what Jenn Lyons has next for us.
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I was disappointed this was an excerpt. I can't wait to read the whole thing. Thanks for letting me read this sample. I will be able to do a full review after reading the book after it comes out.
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I didn't realize this was only a preview until it abruptly stopped and the story clearly wasn't over yet.  I found what I read very interesting though, especially the characters and the worldbuilding, and would definitely like to know where the story goes.  I did have some issues with the formatting and the footnotes. I'm not a big fan of footnotes anyway and I found the ones in the preview to be mostly distracting.  Without those so frequently drawing me away from what I was reading, this preview would have easily been 4 stars for me.
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The next big blockbuster fantasy series, at least according to the massive publicity push.

There are three narrative threads switching back and forth, sometimes with lightning speed: there is the present-day, in which our handsome hero, Kihrin, is in prison, telling his story to Talon in first person. 

Then we get Talon’s narrative intrusions explaining Kihrin’s past, interpolated with a mysterious narrator who also adds footnotes. 

It’s clear that the author is having prime fun with narrative devices; the footnotes veer between mordant-toned commentary and casual worldbuilding nuggets. The result is a snarl of time and place and POV that the reader must constantly adjust to, but there is enough cleverness in the prose, and vivid imagery (sometimes too vivid for my wimpy self) to make it worthwhile-- if one likes this type of fantasy.

And a lot of people will. It’s intelligently written, with wildly inventive worldbuilding stitching together the usual fantasy tropes of kings, demons, wars, and priests doing blood magic, etc. 

The book should do super well as there is enough torture, blood, guts, brothel-forced sex, incest, rape, and agony (while still preserving Kihrin’s fabulous looks and nascent powers) to satisfy the Game of Thrones fans who go into fantasy expecting astronomical body counts.

Since this was a preview, ending on a thousand mile drop of a cliffhanger, there is no predicting how this first book of a projected five book series hangs together, but judging by the exhilaratingly wild ride of this glimpse, I expect it will do what its fans want most: entertain.
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This book is absolutely engrossing. I was fortunate to receive an extended preview of the first 23 chapters through NetGalley and I loved it from the very first chapter. It is about a week before the book is published and I am so bummed that I cannot go and buy the book yet to keep reading. I have no idea how much of the book is left to read but I cannot wait to get back to it. 

Kihrin is a great protagonist. We know right away that he is flawed but with a good sense of humor and heart. He was born in less than desirable circumstances and found himself taken in by a female brothel owner and his adopted father is a blind musician who plays the brothel. Kihrin is a thief in a dangerous world. 

This is an epic world with vast areas and politics. The author chose an interesting path by not really explaining much of this world. We are dropped into it and it’s made very clear how much is going on that as a reader we cannot possibly understand. It’s done very matter of factly. The story moves rapidly without pausing to orient us. There are gods, goddesses, magic creatures, demons and so on that we see as we move through this world. This works surprisingly well as you follow Kihrin through his misadventures. 

This is a hard story to explain without making it clear how fun it is to read. I hate flashbacks and I am not a big fan of this book choosing to tell its story in alternating timelines with every other chapter but it works. At the beginning of the story we meet Kihrin in jail, and as far as my preview went I still have no idea how he got there. His origin is alluded to but still not clear in my preview. Kihrin has blue eyes which has a significant meaning and could mean he is related to a powerful family. His origins only go back in the story to him as a young man of sixteen and a misadventure that must have changed everything when he stole something but it’s not clear yet how that will end. In another timeline after that one we are following him as a slave where he is being auctioned off to a different owner but where he has been a slave for some time already. It sounds quite convoluted but it is told quite well. Part of this story is being told by another person and has footnotes which are informative and funny. I think Amazon has updated their formatting because these footnotes now scroll within the page and are much better than previously found in other books. 

I would have preferred a straight forward timeline but the author does a great job in holding the reader’s attention. I did find myself so engrossed in one timeline that it was jarring to go back to the other one and remember where I was but as I started reading it became quite clear. Again as a review I think that would sound very muddled but it’s worth it. I was shocked to find out when I went to write this review that this is the author’s debut novel. She has such a great way with her story that I was fully engrossed in it. I was also surprised to find out she was a woman given how fully male Kihrin is. I thought this had to have been a male writer. 

I cannot find a table of contents for this book anywhere so I have no idea how much of this book I have read but I can wholeheartedly recommend it. If I found out that I only had a couple of chapters left I would still pay full price to find out what happens next. I am very invested in this character and his story and I can’t wait to see it to the end.
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2.75☆

ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for a review. All of my opinions are my own, and are in no way affected by the exchange. 

*sigh* I was really looking forward to this book and it was... something. I am pretty upset because I thought that a book about a boy in prison telling his life story about being a thief would be awesome and instead I got a convoluted mess. The book is told in an extremely convoluted way. It's like picking up a book and starting from page 1 and also from half way through the book. But the two points never really link up right. I can totally get behind framework telling stories or multiple timelines if it makes sense (How To Get Away With Murder, the TV show, is a good example of this story telling technique that works perfectly) but this just wasnt it. I found the characters names to be very confusing and a lot of them had very similar sounding names which added to my confusion. 
I wish j had a better experience because I was really looking forward to it but maybe it was just oversold.
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This excerpt was absolutely terrific. I heard a lot of hype for this book and am glad to say that so far what I've read has more  than lived up to expectations. The world building is, not to exaggerate, absoluteness phenomenal, the characters are all incredibly compelling and the writing is at its worst good in a professional manner and at its best almost cinematic in its ability to convey the scope of whatever is action is occurring. Underlying all of this is a terrific streak of humor in the book that makes the narrative voice somewhat unique in epic fantasy but never undermines the stakes of the adventure. 
Some people have been put off by the literary devices employed by the writer, notably the use of footnotes which have a different more ironic narrative voice than the rest of the text. I found them on their own charming and in the context of the rest of the story a useful way of introducing exposition without gumming up the main narrative but others may disagree. 
The book has been described as literary epic fantasy, a description I completely agree with. The writer is clearly an incredible talent and I look forward to not just buying this book as soon as it comes out but keeping up with the rest of this new series which I'm sure will become a modern classic in the genre.
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