Title: The Ruin of Kings
Author: Jenn Lyons
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
When destiny calls, there’s no fighting back.
Kihrin grew up in the slums of Quur, a thief and a minstrel’s son raised on tales of long-lost princes and magnificent quests. When he is claimed against his will as the missing son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds himself at the mercy of his new family’s ruthless power plays and political ambitions.
Practically a prisoner, Kihrin discovers that being a long-lost prince is nothing like what the storybooks promised. The storybooks have lied about a lot of other things, too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, and how the hero always wins.
Then again, maybe he isn’t the hero after all. For Kihrin is not destined to save the world.
He’s destined to destroy it.
Jenn Lyons begins the Chorus of Dragons series with The Ruin of Kings, an epic fantasy novel about a man who discovers his fate is tied to the future of an empire.
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.