The Ruin Of Kings by Jenn Lyons
Publication Date: 5th February 2019
Publisher: Tor Books
Series: A Chorus of Dragons #1
Blurb: 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.
The Ruin of Kings puts the epic in epic fantasy. The sheer scope of this novel is tremendous. I’m pretty sure that if you look up epic in the dictionary you’ll find this book staring up at you. The smallest detail mentioned in passing will come back 200 pages later to kick your ass (or I guess more accurately Kihrin’s ass).
When they brought me up to the auction block, I looked out over the crowd and thought: I would kill you all if I had a knife.
And if I wasn’t naked, I amended.
This story has three different parts and layers to it. The story is presented as though it is being recounted by Thurvishar D’Lorus, who is a major character in the latter half of the book. So there are various footnotes that provide an extra layer of information and a few asides he writes. However, one of the sources he draws from is a magic stone that has provided transcripts from Kihrin and Talon. Both are recounting two different parts of Kihrin’s life, Kihrin starting is story from his capture onwards, and Talon, telling his story prior to his capture. The last part then catches up to present day. It is a little to wrap your head around but I found that Lyons pulled it off.
Kihrin is a complete disaster bi, like seriously, a disaster, and I love him. He cannot catch a break and he goes through so much. There is also some pretty epic slow burn for him, and I am here for it. I am really hoping that the relationship I see forming continues to develop, especially since Kihrin is so hilariously oblivious.
This is a book that I will have to read again to truly understand everything, because of the sheer amount of going ons it was a lot to try and keep track of and so many little pieces become or will become important lately on. At which point my rating will likely be bumped to a five stars.
The Ruin of Kings is a fantastic epic fantasy from Lyons, with gods and demons and a war that has been raging for millennia. I truly cannot wait for The Name of All Things, which will be out later this year (thank you Tor for blessing us with, not only, all the gay books but not making us wait a year or more).
“Except that real evil isn’t a demon or a rogue wizard. Real evil is an empire like Quur, a society that feeds on its poor and oppresed like a mother eating her own children. Demons and monsters are obvious; we’ll always band together to fight them off. But real evil, insidious evil, is what lets us walk away from another person’s pain and say, well, that’s none of my business.”
Content Warnings: rape (off page), rape aftermath, slavery, torture, body horror, colonisation and general tyranny of an empire