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The Ruin Of Kings: Prophecy and Magic Combine in This Powerful Epic (A Chorus of Dragons) by Jenn Lyons (book review).

January 6, 2021 | By | Reply More

‘The Ruin Of Kings’ is book one in the ‘A Chorus Of Dragons’ series by Jenn Lyons.

Kihrin is a bit of a likely lad who manages to get himself into the position where he has to rob the house of a rich lord. Unfortunately, this then drops him into all sorts of problems, not the least of which is he has now been brought to the attention of the royalty of this country. Now you’d think that being rushed into royal palaces and having everything your heart desires would be a dream come true, not so when these royals are immortal and bloodthirsty. Kihrin manages to escape their clutches only to find himself in the middle of a prophecy which means dragons, demons and murders are now after him. He bounces from one drama to another, only just hanging onto his life. So far so traditional fantasy story. It’s the way this book is told that gives it a very unusual edge.

This book sounds simple enough but, oh my heavens, this was a confusing romp of a book. Firstly, we have three different points of view in three different time periods. Then we have something called a mimic, which is a creature that kills and eats their victims and so takes on all their memories and can play the part of anyone they have previously eaten. One of our points of view is from a mimic and is in the near past, which means they can be a whole lot of different characters throughout the book and they are! Plus there are footnotes scattered throughout the book from our third point of view which appears to be present day, there is the odd larger section from them but they’re mostly relegated to snarky comments.

The third point of view is Kihrin himself and is in the past further back than the mimic’s point of view. The two main viewpoints take part some years apart and slowly move to link together giving us Kihrin’s story up to the point he’s in jail (not a spoiler, this is the first chapter). If I’m honest, I’m not sure why the author chose such a difficult to follow way to tell Kihrin’s story, it would have been just as interesting and less confusing if it was just told in a linear fashion.

OK, so once you’ve got your head around the different points of view you then have to take on board all the various different names everyone has. Many of the names are incredibly similar to each other which caused me some difficulty. Plus some people go by different names depending on the situation and the person describing or talking to them. For example, Kihrin often gives people nicknames until he finally finds out their real names then he makes a choice as to what he calls them. Plus there are mimics and also people who appear to be immortal and can magic themselves to look like different people so they might have different names as well.

I have to say the best bit of this book is the world-building. There is so much detail and information given to the reader throughout the book. No massive info dump at the beginning, thank goodness, this would truly have seen me off reading this book. Although it was hard for me to see where I was going within the story, I could easily see what people looked like and the buildings or lands that were being described. It did feel at times to be a lot of data to absorb but I’m assuming this will make the next books in the series easier to understand and take in. I just have to hope I can recall it all when I get hold of the next book!

I found the best way to read this was on a chapter by chapter basis, seeing each as a little story on its own. If you try to remember everything that has happened, who everyone is now and has been in the past and then again might be in the next five minutes, you will have a brain explosion. Luckily, Lyons’ writing is fabulous to read, it just flows along like silk even though as the reader you are basically being dragged along for the ride.

So, although this book is massive, with a really confusing structure and some weird pacing I actually loved it and can’t wait for the next book. I’ve been reading this book for such a long time that Kihrin has become a bit of a fixture in my life and I honestly miss him.

Sarah Bruch

January 2021

(pub: TOR, 2019. 555 page hardback. Price: £16.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-50987-949-6)

check out website: www.tor.com

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Category: Books, Fantasy

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