The Ruin of Kings (A Chorus of Dragons, #1)
There are the old stories. And then there’s what actually happens.Kihrin is a bastard orphan who grew up on 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 . . .Uniting the worldbuilding of a Brandon Sanderson with the storytelling verve of a Patrick Rothfuss, debut author Jenn Lyons delivers an entirely new and captivating fantasy epic. Prepare to meet the genre’s next star.

The Ruin of Kings (A Chorus of Dragons, #1) Details

TitleThe Ruin of Kings (A Chorus of Dragons, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 5th, 2019
PublisherTor Books
ISBN-139781250175489
Rating
GenreFantasy, Dragons, Young Adult

The Ruin of Kings (A Chorus of Dragons, #1) Review

  • Petrik
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by the publisher—Tor Books—in exchange for an honest review.Convoluted and complex are probably understatements, but I don’t have any other words to describe the main attributes of this debut.For those of you who don’t know, The Ruin of Kings have been the fantasy debut that Tor has been promoting heavily for several months now. This novel has been advertised as the debut of the year that’s targeted “For fans of George R. R. Martin, Robin Hobb, Joe Abercrombie, Brent Weeks, Brandon ARC provided by the publisher—Tor Books—in exchange for an honest review.Convoluted and complex are probably understatements, but I don’t have any other words to describe the main attributes of this debut.For those of you who don’t know, The Ruin of Kings have been the fantasy debut that Tor has been promoting heavily for several months now. This novel has been advertised as the debut of the year that’s targeted “For fans of George R. R. Martin, Robin Hobb, Joe Abercrombie, Brent Weeks, Brandon Sanderson, and Patrick Rothfuss”. I’ll be completely honest here, if any publisher or author decides to put all of these giant, super high profile fantasy authors’ references into a debut work by an unknown author, it seriously better be a masterpiece. I’m one of those readers who had their interest for this book sparked by that bold claim, and I jumped at the chance of reading and reviewing it early; expecting it to be a debut that will go down into my ‘best of all time’ lists. Unfortunately, it didn’t. “A hero who has never had a bad thing happen to him isn’t a hero—he’s just spoiled.” The Ruin of Kings is Jenn Lyon’s debut and it’s the first out of five books in A Chorus of Dragons series. The main story revolves around Kihrin, who in the present timeline is in jail retelling all the events that have happened to him which eventually led to his capture. Now, here’s where it immediately started to get complicated. Kihrin’s narration doesn’t begin from his actual beginning but halfway through his journey; the first half of Kihrin’s story is instead being narrated by his jailor—Talon. This means there are three main timeframes to follow. First is the present timeline in which Kihrin is in jail telling his story to Talon. Then, the second and third timelines—where the majority of the book takes place in—deal with Kihrin’s past. These chapters are told in a see-saw method, consecutively switching back and forth with each chapter progression in the first person (Kihrin’s narration) and third person (Talon’s narration) perspectives. There are also a lot of footnotes added by another character, because everything you read about Kihrin—in both timelines—was actually done in written format by this character. Not only the unconventional storytelling makes it very easy to lose focus on who’s who or what, many of the characters—and believe me, there are a lot of names to remember—have multiple nicknames, and also similar-sounding names. For example: Teraeth, Terindel, Therin, Tyentso, Kelindel, and Kelinos, just to name a few. To add even more confusion, there were also elements of body swapping, which meant some of the characters you encounter may not be who you think they are. My main problem with all these is that even after finishing the whole story, it all feels like it was unnecessarily convoluted. I truly believe The Ruin of Kings would’ve been an amazing debut if it was told in a linear and chronological structure. Talon’s narration which began from Kihrin’s true beginning was so much more engaging than Kihrin’s narration due to its natural sense of story progression and characters’ development. Kihrin’s narration began halfway throughout his flashback. Think of it like this. When you’re reading a book, you start reading from the first page and flip through it one at a time. In The Ruin of Kings, not only do you start from the first page, but at the same time you also have to start from the 50% mark; then you continue your progress from each starting point by switching back and forth between two different time frames. I thought there would be a good reason for using this unconventional storytelling style that will result in a huge impact, but there was none. There was no epic convergence or anything like that at all. In the end, it all seems like this unconventional style was included for the sake of making things more complex than necessary. Every chapter became a constant battle of readjusting information gathered in your head due to the different timeframes. Plus, Kihrin in all timeframes sounded like totally different characters due to this storytelling method - the main character’s development became disjointed and abstract rather than natural. When a chapter was great and I was interested to find out what happened next, the narrative forced me to read another chapter from a different timeframe first. And this happened regularly.This doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy complex epic fantasy, I’ve read and utterly loved Malazan Book of the Fallen and other massive fantasy series. However, The Ruin of Kings didn’t really work out for me, as I felt it was deliberately more complex than it needed to be. I strongly advise readers to check out the preview chapters kindly provided by Tor on their website, or NetGalley before getting this book. For the reasons I mentioned above, I truly believe that you have to truly know what kind of storytelling style you’re getting into here; you can’t rely only on the blurbs and advertisements. I’m saying this so that the book will attract the right audience too. I always try my best to read a book that has my interest with as little information as possible. Most of the time it worked absolutely well, but sadly this was one of those rare cases where it didn’t; I should’ve read at least a few chapters before requesting for the ARC. I know I have sounded really negative and critical so far but believe me that it wasn’t all bad. The world-building, in particular, was spectacular. Lyons implemented her world-building gradually and there wasn't any info-dump. The world that Lyons has built in The Ruin of Kings was huge in scope, full of rich history, brimming with dangers, politics, gods, demons, and massive dragon. Lyons also has a superbly engaging prose that even when the story became too convoluted, I was never bored with it and was still intrigued to continue. Finally, the side characters were incredibly well-written. I didn't find myself invested with Kihrin, but his interaction and banter with the side characters were humorous and entertaining to read. Every side character have their personality well fleshed-out and their own distinct voices. Galen and Doc were two of my favorite characters from the book. I do want to say though, that this book is not for YA. It deals with a lot of heavy and dark topics like rape, incest, slavery, and prejudice that I think is not suitable for a younger audience. “Real evil is an empire like Quur, a society that feeds on its poor and its oppressed 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 just walk away from another person’s pain and say, well, that’s none of my business.” My rating speaks for itself; that I liked The Ruin of Kings and I think this was a good debut. Overall, I just didn’t find the book to reach the level of grandeur promised by the very high claims. In my opinion, The Ruin of Kings was a good debut that could've been amazing if it follows a more linear and chronological storytelling style. Although in the end this didn't really work out as much as I hoped, I recommend The Ruin of Kings to readers who are looking for complex epic fantasy with an unconventional storytelling method.Sidenote:The e-ARC I got was so awfully formatted that it might've affect my reading enjoyment and immersion. There's a chance that I'm going to enjoy the book more on a reread with a finished and well-polished copy. When will that happen, I can't say for sure yet.Official release date: February 5th, 2019 (US), February 7th, 2019 (UK)You can pre-order the book from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository (Free shipping)The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
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  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
    January 1, 1970
    I don’t like the sprayed edges on this one. It looks like they might have been trying to do a grey color from the grey book (which I like better and am going to get) or maybe a light blue. Holy shit balls! This book was so confusing and so good, I don’t even know what all I just read!! My mind!!! *photo: David Ho & George Redhawk Im looking forward to the next book and a reread of this crazy book! Happy Reading! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
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  • James Lafayette Tivendale
    January 1, 1970
    We did this (myself and Emma) as a combined review for Fantasy Book Review which can be seen here. http://www.fantasybookreview.co.uk/Je...These were my thoughts following on from what Emma had already written.I received a limited edition proof copy of The Ruin of Kings in exchange for an honest reviewAdditional notes by James Tivendale - I think Emma summed up most of the points perfectly.I agree with what Emma said about the point of views switching between 1st and 3rd person sometimes being c We did this (myself and Emma) as a combined review for Fantasy Book Review which can be seen here. http://www.fantasybookreview.co.uk/Je...These were my thoughts following on from what Emma had already written.I received a limited edition proof copy of The Ruin of Kings in exchange for an honest reviewAdditional notes by James Tivendale - I think Emma summed up most of the points perfectly.I agree with what Emma said about the point of views switching between 1st and 3rd person sometimes being confusing and the reader having to readjust. The beginning and middle I rated 10/10. The ending occasionally felt forceful and rushed until the final 30-40 pages which I found absolutely stunning. There are a lot of characters and many of which have very similar names and there are very complex family trees. Lyons kindly includes a Dramatis Personae as well as explaining difficult or uneasy context to help us understand the deepness and complexities in her amazingly crafted world.Following on from there being many characters it does get confusing with the two timelines. One being Kihrin's 1st person perspective which is his recent antics and the other being his jailor Talon's descriptions of what happened before his sections. Many of the cast are in both timelines and with short, sharp and often very thrilling chapters and I believe only 4-years difference between the action of both segments it does sometimes take a few minutes to work out, or it did for me if this is before or after what happened last. First of my two further negatives is that I didn't really grasp the reasons for the whole prophecy about our main character and I never thought he wasn't the hero as the tagline states. Also, the 80-90% section of the narrative is too swift, and however amazing it is, pardon my french - it's a bit of a 'head-fuck.' I sound like I've been negative here but I'm really not. Emma summed up perfectly what I enjoyed about this book. I still believe this will be an instant classic and TOR have got an absolute winner on their hands. My comments might have been the harshest but I've pushed the rating up because of how great I think this book is, albeit including minor issues. The Ruin of Kings will be in many top-10 lists next year and I cannot wait to see what comes next because I'm 100% here for the whole ride.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Kihrin is many things: orphan, thief, long lost son of a prince... destroyer of the world? Whatever else he is, he’s also having a really bad time of it. Everything he’s ever believed is lies, truths only discovered though violence and death. But since his new life involves evil magicians, a death cult, a war between gods and demons, the kind of family that epitomises the whole keep-your-enemies-closer philosophy, and dragons…. well, his chances don’t seem like they’ll be looking up any time soo Kihrin is many things: orphan, thief, long lost son of a prince... destroyer of the world? Whatever else he is, he’s also having a really bad time of it. Everything he’s ever believed is lies, truths only discovered though violence and death. But since his new life involves evil magicians, a death cult, a war between gods and demons, the kind of family that epitomises the whole keep-your-enemies-closer philosophy, and dragons…. well, his chances don’t seem like they’ll be looking up any time soon. After all, he’s in prison when we meet him.Right from the outset it’s clear this book isn’t set up in the usual fashion. Kihrin languishes in a jail cell, bullied by his captor into narrating the events that led him to this point. Into a magic rock no less. His tale is told in alternating chapters, while his jailer, Talon, accounts for the other. But here’s the hook, she has some very particular skills that means the story she’s telling is also his, adding parts of the plot not only on a different timeline, but from varied perspectives too. If that isn’t complicated enough, the resulting recoding (magical rock, remember?) from which this book is supposedly drawn is then provided with somewhat snarky commentary in footnote style from a whole other character who is also involved in the story at various points. It’s an interesting premise, but one that nevertheless has its own challenges. When it works it creates an escalating tension as the chapters flip, each one ending on a cliffhanger, so that it’s impossible to put the book down. The chapters are short, high energy, and thrilling.But that’s when it works. The dual storyline of Kihrin in first person and then in third from differing perspectives sometimes created a strange dissonance, almost like it was two different people, and not just because of the character development acquired in one half or the other. There’s a constant need to remember which Kihrin knows what and when he learned it, especially because the overarching plot is seriously convoluted. Not only is there high stakes politics, ethnic and religious wars, and familial infighting on an epic scale, there’s bodyswapping. So people might not be who you think they are. Or were. Or whatever. To say it brings about some dodgy familial connections is a bit of an understatement. When the format fails, bogged down in detail and unnecessary complication, things end up needing to be explained a bit too much by one person or another, making it feel unnatural. Even if, because of the complexity, they probably really do need to work through it themselves. This happens a bit too much at the beginning and then again with the finale, which felt rushed and threw in some curve balls to conform to the prophesies that supposedly underly the action. So at this point you might be wondering how it got 4 stars at all? Let me go back to the whole ‘when it works’ thing I was talking about before. Parts of this book are blindingly good. As in, 5-stars-are-not-enough kinda great. Pretty much all the middle in fact. If you’re one of the people that read the preview, it starts right at the end of that and lasts all the way till the stories converge in the final segment. This is where Jenn Lyons’ creativity shines. From beginning to end, the worldbuilding is excellent, layered and intricate, developed by an author who knows everything about the place she’s created. It’s never less than believable, from the systems of government to history, cultural norms and values to religion and magic. There’s diversity of all sorts, including both underlying and overt dialogue about sexual identity/choice that surprised and pleased me. Of course, it’s not all hearts and rainbows, variation brings hostility and this is a dangerous world. All of the abhorrent aspects of human society are here: slavery, racial wars, rape, incest, murder, human sacrifice. People have dark stories and even darker motivations. Even our lead has a real attitude, though considering his circumstances I can understand where he’s coming from, and in any case it’s done with comedy rather than angst. It’s not just him either. The book had the same kind of humorous banter and point scoring backchat that reminded me much more of UF. The exchanges between Kihrin and Teraeth were exceptional, transforming from genuinely funny to moving and emotional and back again with ease. Such humour provided a very necessary lightness in pretty dire circumstances and gave Kihrin the kind of appeal accorded to those who respond to the shit shovelled in their direction with two fingers and a smile. Yet he’s only one of a whole cast of memorable characters, so well conceived and vibrantly portrayed that they carry the book even when the plot loses itself a bit. Most of the true character development came predominantly in that middle section and was by far the best part of the book, managing to maintain momentum whilst deepening the relationships between characters and expanding our knowledge of the world. I raced though it, loving every minute. There were questions answered and even more asked, a labyrinthine game that has been played for thousands of years. And even though the ending didn't hold quite the same thrill, it brought enough surprises, enough possibilities, to whet the appetite for more. Despite my quibbles, I’m intrigued about where this will go. The dual storyline format doesn’t seem to be one that can be successfully repeated, potentially giving the next book an entirely different feel. Certainly, the final scenes include some you-can’t-do-that moments that I can’t wait to see explored. If you thought things were going to hell here, the future seems like it’s already on fire…. and I'll be there to see it burn.ARC via publisher for fantasybookreview.co.uk
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  • Holly (Holly Hearts Books)
    January 1, 1970
    Have you ever been to denial town? Currently visiting and it sucks....The Ruin of Kings has been on my radar ever since it was announced in 2018 being compared to Joe Abercrombie (one of my favorite authors), Patrick Rothfuss, and Brandon Sanderson. It sounded so good - a heavy dose of epic fantasy with all the usual nastiness and morally-grey characters. But I could not connect with a single character or event in this book no matter what I did. The convoluted storytelling DID NOT HELP. In Fact Have you ever been to denial town? Currently visiting and it sucks....The Ruin of Kings has been on my radar ever since it was announced in 2018 being compared to Joe Abercrombie (one of my favorite authors), Patrick Rothfuss, and Brandon Sanderson. It sounded so good - a heavy dose of epic fantasy with all the usual nastiness and morally-grey characters. But I could not connect with a single character or event in this book no matter what I did. The convoluted storytelling DID NOT HELP. In Fact I skimmed the last half of this as fast as I could....I'm sure the right sort of reader will eat this up and add it to their favorites list. It does seem to be garnering a lot of positive attention. At least the publisher is making it seem like that with those heavy words "Prepare to meet the genre's next star."Page 1 begins with an ominous scene. We’re introduced to a boy named Kirian as he is in a jail cell with a “demon” named Talon who is leaning on the outside bars begging for a story to be told on how he got there.And so he begins.And so does she.That’s right. We are forced to follow not one but two different perspectives of the same story being told. We have two narrations here! There’s Kihrins 1st person perspective talking about his recent events and then there’s Talons 3rd person perspective talking about what happened before the events he’s telling.. uhhhh. So yes, Talons chapters aren't about her. They're also about Kihrin.. in 3rd person.. but his name is Rook..Which would have been incredibly unique and interesting but I found it to be confusing and hard to follow. OH YEAH! There’s also footnotes throughout the whole book... Not like I don’t enjoy a complex story, I freaking do! Like give me all the complexity! But with the writing style, body swapping (where characters are actually not the characters you think they are) and the 10 page glossary in the back of the book of smash-your-face-on-keyboard names (including multiple nicknames for multiple characters) made up slangs for gangs, and kingdoms and faraway lands. This quickly became a chore. Adding insult to injury, I found the the main character Kihrin very unlikeable and did not enjoy reading the story he wanted to tell.I think if we had a linear plot line, it would have been much more enjoyable. It's so frustrating that its convoluted because there is a wonderful story and world that's sort of obstructed by the time and perspective jumps. The world building is beautiful and the rich history/cultures were *insert grabby hands* But all in all, I am left in a puddle of disappointment. Like I said, I skimmed the fork out of the last half of this book. I was over it but I feel like I have a good mindset on my rating.
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  • Eon ♒Windrunner♒
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars, maybe 4 - may change as I review the full book upon publication. Who are you again??So sweet of you to ask. I’m Talon. I’ll be your murderer tonight. I recently finished reading this preview available on Netgalley of The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons and enjoyed it very much. I did have some problems with the chosen narrative style which did not help the story, but the book was fascinating enough to keep me glued to the pages.Our story starts off with the protagonist stuck in a prison c 3.5 stars, maybe 4 - may change as I review the full book upon publication. Who are you again??So sweet of you to ask. I’m Talon. I’ll be your murderer tonight. I recently finished reading this preview available on Netgalley of The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons and enjoyed it very much. I did have some problems with the chosen narrative style which did not help the story, but the book was fascinating enough to keep me glued to the pages.Our story starts off with the protagonist stuck in a prison cell and his formidable captor watching over him, preventing any chance of escape. His captor is bored and demands (threats are made) the protagonist tell her the tale of how exactly he got here. Thus we find out what has transpired, but from chapters told through alternate viewpoints. One from the protagonist, Kihrin, and the other from the jailor, Talon. These alternating viewpoints then also have different timelines and every time a viewpoint switches it is almost a mental exercise in remembering what is going on. There is also another complication with the viewpoints, as one character can see from multiple viewpoints, but I will leave it at that. See why I mentioned the confusing narrative style?Young Kihrin is a talented thief who witnesses something he should not have, which then sets in motion events that will eventually lead to him being claimed against his will as the long-lost son of a treasonous prince, as mentioned in the blurb. The Kihrin we find languishing in the jail cell though, seems to be a very different version of the character and I can only wonder at all the changes in him and the events that transpired to result in his incarceration.I have not read Jenn Lyons before, but apart from the confusing narrative I enjoyed her writing. Worldbuilding was solid, characters were interesting and the story riveting. As mentioned, this was just a preview though, so I cannot judge the entire book but only comment on what I have read so far. The thing is that this book would likely have been amazing without all the extra complication of the viewpoints and timelines etc. When it was good, it was SO good. But the narrative choices take so much away from the story. I am not sure if the rest of the book gets less complicated as it continues, but the story being as fascinating as it is, I hope that the next book takes a simpler approach. The preview ended just as things got REALLY interesting, so I am pretty much clueless as to what’s next but still VERY eager to find out where this is going. I have hope, friends. Another (part of a) book on the TBR list. The Ruin of Kings releases February 5th 2019
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  • Stefan Bach
    January 1, 1970
    Angsty orphan with his head in the clouds didn't get his happy story so he decides to destroy the world? Orphan with his name so conspicuously similar to Krillin's?And then even the blurb is so filled with bullshit that they go so far to compare the worldbuilding with Sanderson's and prose with that of Rothfuss' (which is basically like they compared her with Robin Hobb, modern Mary Shelley)?Give me a break.I see where this is going.GR, when you finish hyping this book out to heavens and beyond, Angsty orphan with his head in the clouds didn't get his happy story so he decides to destroy the world? Orphan with his name so conspicuously similar to Krillin's?And then even the blurb is so filled with bullshit that they go so far to compare the worldbuilding with Sanderson's and prose with that of Rothfuss' (which is basically like they compared her with Robin Hobb, modern Mary Shelley)?Give me a break.I see where this is going.GR, when you finish hyping this book out to heavens and beyond, and couple of years passes by and everyone forgets it - I will read it in peace.
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  • Veronica ⭐️
    January 1, 1970
    *https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogsp...The story opens with Kihrin in prison guarded by Talon. Talon asks, I should say forces, Kihrin to tell his story whilst she also narrates her part of Kihrin’s story.Kihrin’s narration is in first person and starts as a 16 year old Kihrin is being sold in a slave auction. Talin’s is in third person and starts a year earlier with 15 year old Kihrin living with adoptive parents in the slums of the lower circle. He is musician by day and thief by night. The *https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogsp...The story opens with Kihrin in prison guarded by Talon. Talon asks, I should say forces, Kihrin to tell his story whilst she also narrates her part of Kihrin’s story.Kihrin’s narration is in first person and starts as a 16 year old Kihrin is being sold in a slave auction. Talin’s is in third person and starts a year earlier with 15 year old Kihrin living with adoptive parents in the slums of the lower circle. He is musician by day and thief by night. The two narrations alternate but I found them easy to follow. There were also footnotes by the author but I skipped those because the printing was so tiny in my uncorrected proof I could hardly read it.Kihrin is a likeable protagonist. He seemed to have morals in a world that had no morals. He had a sarcastic sense of humour that managed to surface even in the face of overbearing adversity. This slight lean towards humour took the edge off some of the darker moments.The writing was exceptional and the world building was complex and intricate. There was so much going on in this novel I felt at times that I couldn’t take it all in. There was never a dull moment or a lapse in the action.I was a bit disappointed that the women were so subservient. I would have liked a few more strong women. The men have little regard for women beyond their pleasurable use. Even the wives were beaten and then healed by other women to cover it up.The novel is filled with the type of action dark fantasy fans have come to expect; murder, torture, demons, gods, dragons, kings, dark magic, undead, flesh eating shape shifters and allusions to rape and incest all ending with a tantalising cliff hanger.The Ruin of Kings is a dark fantasy that will grip you with its world building and squeeze the air from your lungs with its unrelenting danger and battles.I received an uncorrected proof copy from the publisher for review.
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  • Kaitlin
    January 1, 1970
    * I read this as my Defence Against The Dark Arts OWL read *This is a story which I think is a little hard to really describe as it tells the story in a fairly unique way. The book is divided into three main narrators, we have: Talon, a mimic who can take on the memories and skin of those she has killed; Kihrin, the real main character of the story who is telling his side of things; and another character who infrequently gives his opinions and any extra information needed to the reader on the ev * I read this as my Defence Against The Dark Arts OWL read *This is a story which I think is a little hard to really describe as it tells the story in a fairly unique way. The book is divided into three main narrators, we have: Talon, a mimic who can take on the memories and skin of those she has killed; Kihrin, the real main character of the story who is telling his side of things; and another character who infrequently gives his opinions and any extra information needed to the reader on the events that the other two are discussing. The book is a little bit difficult to get into at first becuase of the various viewpoints I think, and becuase not only are the viewpoints different, but the timeline of the story they are discussing (although that of the same person) are different and connect only later in the book. For that reason, combined with the fact that this is very much epic fantasy and has a whole host of characters to remember and get to know, means this is not for everyone. However, with all that being said, once I got into this it was good. I really liked the world and the magic and the vast empire and lands we span. There are different types of people that we meet like those who live in the poorer districts and work as thieves/thugs and brothel slaves or workers. We then meet the upper classes and the families who rule the empire in terms of power and wealth if not in name. They are devious and deadly and have constant schemes. We meet sorcerers, warriors, slaves, and the Black Brotherhood. We meet dragons and demons and spirits and magic-wielders, people who have died and come back, people who have had their souls ripped to shreds and even gods. There is SO much going on at all times that it can be tricky to follow, but it's worth it becuase it's such a complex world of worlds and I really do think it's worth the read.I will highly recommend the audiobook as that is how I consumed this and it really helped me to learn who was who and keep them distinct as there are multiple narrators. I am confident that the story was made easier because the narrators were different, and I think it would certainly help people to listen rather than read if there is any confusion. On the whole, I think that's all I really want to say about this one because it's hard to describe and it's one I think worth discovering for yourself. I do think that the middle was my favourite section and although the beginning is a bit slow and overwhelming it's worth sticking with it as it gets really good in the mid-sections and pretty over the top dramatic and crazy in the end. There's a lot of political scheming and adventures and it's a story I do recommend if you have read and enjoyed other great big epic fantasy stories. 4*s from me :)
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  • Sherwood Smith
    January 1, 1970
    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 devi 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.Preview provided by NetGalley
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  • Krystal
    January 1, 1970
    Look.I cannot count the number of times this book had me feeling confused.There are so many names and most are hard to pronounce and often similar so it was incredibly difficult to keep track of who was who and what was what. Then you throw in the genealogy and the adultery and the body snatching and the illusions and I DON'T KNOW WHO ANYONE IS.There's a boy.There's a witch.There's a flirty magic boy.There's an old sorcerer dude.There's a tyrant. (Actually several).There's a wimp.There's a drago Look.I cannot count the number of times this book had me feeling confused.There are so many names and most are hard to pronounce and often similar so it was incredibly difficult to keep track of who was who and what was what. Then you throw in the genealogy and the adultery and the body snatching and the illusions and I DON'T KNOW WHO ANYONE IS.There's a boy.There's a witch.There's a flirty magic boy.There's an old sorcerer dude.There's a tyrant. (Actually several).There's a wimp.There's a dragon.There's also X who is secretly Y but is actually secretly Z and that is the case for, like, half the characters. Basically, no one is who they seem to be.But you know what? Despite regularly having no clue what was happening, I still really enjoyed this book. It's a rare occasion that I get invested in the story when I don't really care for the characters. I didn't start warming up to this band of misfits until about 350 or so pages in so props to the story for keeping me entertained that far.There's a lot of variety and magic here, making the whole thing pretty epic. I DID want more dinosaurs, though. I got so excited when they showed up, but they didn't hang around nearly long enough for me. Sigh. But there's lots about gods and demons and monsters and magic and reincarnation and it all gets so messy but who the heck cares because it's SO MUCH FUN. So I'm gonna keep it brief for now and just say that I really enjoyed the crazy ride this book took me on. It was so bizarre to just be so out of it and yet so thoroughly entertained all the same.Fingers crossed the next installment has some more detailed family trees though. The one at the back here really did not help in the slightest.
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    The The Ruin of Kings was not for me. I do like complex fantasy. I enjoy great world building with descriptive storytelling. And here comes the BUT. But the story is presented in a very original way but I found convoluted and quite confusing way that lead to me developing zero character connections.I received this ARC copy of The Ruin of Kings from Macmillan-Tor/Forge. This is my honest and voluntary review. The Ruin of Kings is set for publication Feb. 5, 2019.
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  • Amy Imogene Reads
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsThere is such a thing as too much, too fast, too deep, and too convoluted in high fantasy. This is it. Writing: ★★★★★World Building: ★★★★★Pacing: ★★Timeline: ★Overall Reader Enjoyment: ★ for the act of sorting out the plot, and ★★★★ for the actual world and events once deceipheredI’ve never had to make a literal flow chart for a book before this one, but I would not have been able to confidently say I’d read and understood The Ruin of Kings without it. Despite its completely messed up s 3.5 starsThere is such a thing as too much, too fast, too deep, and too convoluted in high fantasy. This is it. Writing: ★★★★★World Building: ★★★★★Pacing: ★★Timeline: ★Overall Reader Enjoyment: ★ for the act of sorting out the plot, and ★★★★ for the actual world and events once deceipheredI’ve never had to make a literal flow chart for a book before this one, but I would not have been able to confidently say I’d read and understood The Ruin of Kings without it. Despite its completely messed up status as Too Much, I did like it. Let's talk about the elephant in the room: The Ruin of Kings' complete clusterf--- of a timeline and general sense of place and character development. Now—separate from the plot and enjoyment as a reader—it can be stated that this plot is very intelligent and the narrative IS insanely clever and does point to the author's skill as this would be incredibly hard to conceive and do. There. Kudos to the sheer ability. But just because the author could, does that mean that they should? The Ruin of Kings starts off like an oral narrative with two characters, Kithrin and Talon, in a prison/dungeon cell setting. Kithrin is imprisoned, and Talon is his jailor. Talon goads Kithrin into telling his life story and agrees to supplement the story with every other POV that matters (Talon is able to impersonate/become other people, like Mystique in X-Men but with a complete mental takeover as well). Yes, it gets very confusing. So far though, so good—each chapter alternates between Kithrin's POV and Talon's interchangeable narrators. There are also some intriguing footnotes from a third person who is obviously listening to these recordings, but we'll get to those later.Now here's where this gets sticky: Talon's timelines are all in the past, following their own linear structure, while Kithrin's timeline is all in the future, following his linear structure. Confusing, right? It's like cutting one story into two parts, and have you alternate between the beginning of the book and the 50% mark of the book....simultaneously. You might be thinking that this linear mind mess must have a purpose or, at the very least, an epic time-release pay off. Wrong. Nothing is masterfully revealed that wasn't already alluded to, and the climax is—if anything—made less impactful by our awareness of certain facts. On top of this, let's add a complex world that deals heavily with the concept of reincarnation. I loved the introduction of gods that were able to reincarnate, and how people who died are either Returned (brought back to life), reincarnated as other people later in life, or other. Trigger Warning: because people are able to be Returned, there are several instances where characters kill themselves. This is within the context of reincarnation and is handled incredibly well, but it is still a fact and might bother some readers.Because of the past lives element, every single character ended up either a reincarnated version of someone, or they were so closely linked with other characters in various reincarnations that it was a frequent problem. It was just too much to take in. Given the frankly stellar world building and completely foreign names, locations, and customs, it was too hard to keep it all straight. This is such a shame, as the writing and individual scenes as so bloody fantastic. Seriously. When the hype for this series states that The Ruin of Kings is a masterpiece, I'm assuming they're referring to the flawless characterizations of dozens of unique characters, the fluid sexuality rampant throughout, or the complex belief systems and general world flow. Or maybe just the ending. Also, let's get to the footnotes. I LOVE sassy footnotes. These were often sassy. The footnotes are also from a third distinct POV (let's not acknowledge Talon's dozens), Thursivar. Why is he the footnote POV? I still don't get it. His role in the story as a semi-omniscient narrator communicating with the reader via footnotes is very unclear, even as he is introduced from Kihrin and Talon in their stories. The footnotes by themselves were great, but my one complaint is a larger problem in regards to the book as a whole—they were inconsistent. The footnotes come, and then they go—and the character should definitely have had some opinions about the action at some points—and then other plot points come, and then they go. Kihrin has some issues with his sexuality, but this is dropped. There are some intriguing semi-conversations between Talon and Kihrin at the beginnings of chapters (done in italics, to keep them separate from the narrative), and those drop. Then they arbitrarily return. Also, there is a demon landscape element that I honestly don't know how to review so I'll just leave it here. What?If you've stuck with me to the end of this review, I applaud you. It took me two separate sit downs to write this review because I was still so confused after finishing the story. However, The Ruin of Kings did one thing right: I need to know how it goes. Cheers to those of us who embark on Book 2 - out of five planned novels in The Chorus of Dragons series....Don't mind me, I'm just avoiding considering how much more can enter this incredibly full plot in four more books. But I'm going to read them anyway. Because I need to know.**********3/24/19 - So no one told me this has footnotes?! Of the entertaining, sarcastic, and enriching variety?!Definitely one of my favorite overly specific tropes.Talk to me on Instagram!
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  • Dianne
    January 1, 1970
    What a preview! THE RUIN OF KINGS by Jenn Lyons looks to be a fabulous fantasy read with all of the action, the quests and the outstanding characters that have hit every one of my must read buttons!My only regret is that I didn’t realize this was only a preview but I do appreciate the length of it! There is enough to be more than just an info dump. I received a complimentary PREVIEW edition from Tor-Forge! Expected publication date for the entire book is February, 2019.For Reviews, Giveaways, Fa What a preview! THE RUIN OF KINGS by Jenn Lyons looks to be a fabulous fantasy read with all of the action, the quests and the outstanding characters that have hit every one of my must read buttons!My only regret is that I didn’t realize this was only a preview but I do appreciate the length of it! There is enough to be more than just an info dump. I received a complimentary PREVIEW edition from Tor-Forge! Expected publication date for the entire book is February, 2019.For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    This book was one you have to commit to being a tome but the read just flies by because it is utterly fantastic. In fact I wouldn’t have minded a bit more…A good fantasy novel lives and dies on its world building and characters and Jenn Lyons has an intricately imaginative eye for both – a rich tapestry that offers up new insight every time you look at it – a complex and highly intriguing setting with multiple levels that inform and affect the characters you meet there.The story is told over dif This book was one you have to commit to being a tome but the read just flies by because it is utterly fantastic. In fact I wouldn’t have minded a bit more…A good fantasy novel lives and dies on its world building and characters and Jenn Lyons has an intricately imaginative eye for both – a rich tapestry that offers up new insight every time you look at it – a complex and highly intriguing setting with multiple levels that inform and affect the characters you meet there.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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  • Alaina
    January 1, 1970
    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I was so pumped to dive into The Ruin of Kings. Especially after getting accepted for this but, unfortunately, I ended up disappointed. Honestly, it could've been the format (since I read this on my phone) but it's just like.. ugh, nope.At first, the characters were interesting and I wanted to know more about them. BUT, ugh, I couldn't stand the backstories anymore. One and done people! I didn't need to know what people had I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I was so pumped to dive into The Ruin of Kings. Especially after getting accepted for this but, unfortunately, I ended up disappointed. Honestly, it could've been the format (since I read this on my phone) but it's just like.. ugh, nope.At first, the characters were interesting and I wanted to know more about them. BUT, ugh, I couldn't stand the backstories anymore. One and done people! I didn't need to know what people had for breakfast 500 years ago or whatever. It's not something that actually happened.. just an example! Other than the interesting characters, the demons, magicians, and long lost princes were what kept my engaged. Oh lord, the demon was freaky, weird, and honestly made me laugh. Probably not supposed to laugh when a demon is yelling at a character in all caps... but I did. It was hilarious.I wish I liked it more than I actually did. Might try to reread it.. but no promises right now.
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  • Eric Allen
    January 1, 1970
    A friend of mine who is still in the business sent me an extremely well-worn ARC of this book, saying that, literally, everyone I used to work with when I was still writing and editing articles had already read and completely loved it. I used to work with some extraordinarily hard to please critics, so if they all loved it, it must be pretty good. I've been looking for new fantasy authors/series to follow lately. Seems like there's a lot of buzz about this book, so hopefully, it'll live up to al A friend of mine who is still in the business sent me an extremely well-worn ARC of this book, saying that, literally, everyone I used to work with when I was still writing and editing articles had already read and completely loved it. I used to work with some extraordinarily hard to please critics, so if they all loved it, it must be pretty good. I've been looking for new fantasy authors/series to follow lately. Seems like there's a lot of buzz about this book, so hopefully, it'll live up to all of that.TL;DR - READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It does have a bit of a slow start, but it's not the boring kind of slow, it's more the author carefully setting everything up so she can burn it all down sort of slow. Any complaints I may have about it are barely even nitpicks. No book is perfect, but this one is about as close to it as a book can get.You can find my random ramblings as I read it below if you so desire to read through them.10% in:Thank god it's not written in present tense. There's been a lot of newer authors bringing that bullshit from Dystopian over into Fantasy lately. The beginning of this book is a bit slow. Not the boring sort of slow, just the setting things up in interesting ways sort of slow. It does jump around quite a bit, which could have done with a bit more editing to smooth things out more, and make scene transitions a bit softer rather than the complete 180, shovel to the face, what the hell is happening, breaks that may confuse people who aren't used to having to pay too close attention to what they're reading. It's just a minor annoyance, but it is an annoyance. The book is written like a book of history piecing together different accounts of events, blending first person and third person accounts together in a pretty seamless way, with the author of the history making aside comments every now and then, often to add a bit of exposition or humor. I find the little comments to be amusing and to add a bit of personality to the story that otherwise wouldn't be there, but I can also see it annoying some people too. I enjoy the main character, he's the sort of bitter, sarcastic type of character that can usually make me laugh, without straying into emo, edgelord territory (yet) and the mystery surrounding him, and how he came to be in his current predicament are intriguing. All in all, I'm enjoying the book, and the writing style, despite a few minor annoyances.20% in:Okay, once you figure out that there's a pattern to the chapters (not a hard thing to do) it feels like it's jumping around less.50% in:You know what I like about this book. It's a story that's not told in a conventional way. This may annoy some people, but I find it kind of refreshing. It's still a story. It's still about things. It still has characters that learn and grow, and mysteries that are slowly being unraveled. But it's told in a way that you don't normally see. It kind of reminds me of the movie Memento in the way that it's pieced together. A certain other large-egoed fantasy author who attempted to tell a story in an unconventional way, who shall remain nameless, could learn a few things about how to do it the right way by reading this book. It's essentially two separate stories about different periods of one person's life being told simultaneously, and sometimes not all in the right order to avoid events in one story spoiling events in the other. It also helps that both stories are good, avoid most of the common fantasy tropes and cliches, and have likable characters. Also, Talon, one of the coolest freaking villain henchmen ever! When the book does use a fantasy trope, it usually mocks itself either through the narrator making an aside comment, or the characters laughing at it, which is a really entertaining way to do it. I think my favorite was, "There's a prophecy. No. Really. Stop laughing." I'm really liking this book, mostly because it feels like something new and fresh, and it's pretty well written on top of it. Also, Talon, dudes and dudettes. She is freaking amazing.100% in:So, yeah, I loved this book. It has some really good world building. Some very entertaining characters. A story that is incredibly epic in scope while still managing to be focused on where it's going and what it's doing. A great sense of humor, especially when dealing with overused fantasy genre tropes. It doesn't follow normal storytelling conventions, but still manages to actually tell a story, be about something, have characters that learn, grow and develop, and come to a pretty climactic end--I'm looking at YOU, Rothfuss!!!--and it's amazingly well written. Jenn Lyons is a very talented writer and storyteller, and I can't wait the next book of this trilogy. It's hard to summarize the plot without giving away spoilers that could potentially ruin the experience of having it unfold before you while reading, but let's just say that the publisher's summary does not do this book justice AT ALL. And HURRAY, my favorite character made it out alive... for now. We'll see where she ends up after the trilogy finishes up in a few years.
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  • Bill Door
    January 1, 1970
    I have no idea how I'm going to rate this. It's one of the rare books where there are parts I truly love, and some that I seriously hated. That always makes coming up with a score/rating particularly difficult. This had really neat world building that had some very cool ideas, there was a lot going on, politics, mysteries, non human races, dragons.... but it had horrible pacing and very odd structure choice.
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  • Jessi (Novel Heartbeat)
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ 150 pagesThe storytelling was tedious and made me want to bash my skull into a wall. It flip flopped back and forth between Khirin's story - in first person, at point B in the timeline; and Talon's story - in third person, talking about Khirin/Rook, at point A in the timeline. I think it would have been interesting if it had been done just a certain way, but this one sooo did not work for me. There were a lot of names and places being thrown around - names that sounded like my cat decided DNF @ 150 pagesThe storytelling was tedious and made me want to bash my skull into a wall. It flip flopped back and forth between Khirin's story - in first person, at point B in the timeline; and Talon's story - in third person, talking about Khirin/Rook, at point A in the timeline. I think it would have been interesting if it had been done just a certain way, but this one sooo did not work for me. There were a lot of names and places being thrown around - names that sounded like my cat decided to galavant across my keyboard, might I add - with little to no explanation (except for the mind-numbing useless facts in the footnotes that did absolutely nothing for the readers' comprehension or story line, which I'll get to in a minute) and it made the world confusing and hard to follow. I do hope the final copy will have either a map or a glossary (or both, preferably).Which brings me to the utterly useless footnotes that made me want to rage quit after two chapters of reading them - I ended up skipping them altogether after a few chapters and I'm pretty sure I missed exactly nothing. There was "world building" in them on occasion, but it was irrelevant drivel that didn't add to the plot in any way, shape, or form. To further my point, here are some examples of said footnotes:The vane's eyes glowed.* (*footnote: One presumes not literally.)Most folks just assume it must be a diamond.* Hard as a diamond, anyway.* YES THAT'S TWO IN THE SAME FREAKING SENTENCE (*footnotes: It's not a diamond. /// *Harder.)Like I said: utterly. useless. I think maybe the author was going for a Nevernight-esque thing with the footnotes, but most definitely failed. If you're going to drag me out of the story, at least make it worth my while.
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  • The Captain
    January 1, 1970
    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 . . .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 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 . . .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!
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  • Sana
    January 1, 1970
    So this is 'a story about an orphan whose dream of being a lost prince turns into a nightmare when he discovers his real family is vile' Well, now I need it in my life.Also, the opening lines are so good? I'm a fan of a first line where monsters are mentioned: 'Tell me a story.'The monster slouched down by the iron bars of Kihrin’s jail cell. She set a small, plain stone down on the ground between them and pushed it forward.She didn’t look like a monster. Talon looked like a girl in her twentie So this is 'a story about an orphan whose dream of being a lost prince turns into a nightmare when he discovers his real family is vile' Well, now I need it in my life.Also, the opening lines are so good? I'm a fan of a first line where monsters are mentioned: 'Tell me a story.'The monster slouched down by the iron bars of Kihrin’s jail cell. She set a small, plain stone down on the ground between them and pushed it forward.She didn’t look like a monster. Talon looked like a girl in her twenties, with wheat-gold skin and soft brown hair. Most men would give their eye-teeth to spend an evening with someone so beautiful. Most men didn’t know of her talent for shaping her body into forms crafted from pure terror. She mocked her victims with the forms of murdered loved ones, before they too became her next meal. That she was Kihrin’s jailer was like leaving a shark to guard a fish tank. Source
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  • jaypee
    January 1, 1970
    Brandon Sanderson + Patrick Rothfuss? I'm a shallow guy. Count me the fuck in!
  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    I made it about 175 pages in and then I just.... I can't. I tried very hard, but to be quite honest, after about 30 pages, I was hate-reading out of spite, and I have better ways to spend my time. Here's my main two problems with it: 1. Even if your frame device--a letter about how the whole book is an "account" being sent to some kind of king/magistrate/judge (I admit, I can't remember)--says something along the lines of: "I know you probably know a lot of this lore, but I left it in the accoun I made it about 175 pages in and then I just.... I can't. I tried very hard, but to be quite honest, after about 30 pages, I was hate-reading out of spite, and I have better ways to spend my time. Here's my main two problems with it: 1. Even if your frame device--a letter about how the whole book is an "account" being sent to some kind of king/magistrate/judge (I admit, I can't remember)--says something along the lines of: "I know you probably know a lot of this lore, but I left it in the account because I decided to err on the side of ignorance," ...that's not an excuse for infodumping. If you can't creatively incorporate your exposition into the narrative, I...can't wade through it all. 2. There's two narrators--that's fine, two is a bearable number of PoVs--but they sound. Exactly. The. Same. Except one is in first person and one is in third. They have the same tones, the same resonances, the same character voices. And when one is an arrogant demoness and one is the boy she's bullying into telling the story, there's...not really an excuse for the tonal and vocal similarities. No, not even saying, "she's a mimic and tends to take on the mannerisms and character of people she's in close proximity to." That's... You can't have two characters who are so different sound exactly the same. Those seem like really petty reasons on their own, but combined with the unnecessarily graphic violence, the slow-as-molasses pacing, the really questionable bits of worldbuilding (still not over the extinct race of angelic beings who are born boys and turn into women when they hit puberty, because THAT'S UNCOMFORTABLE FOR SO MANY REASONS, or the race of women who were literally created to be slaves to the centaurs??), and the rather bleak outlook on a fantasy world (I'm not opposed to grimdark, but I'm...incredibly over brothels, rape, and slavery, ESPECIALLY when written by a woman who should be able to imagine a better world than the one we're in now), it just sort of washes out into something that GRRM could have written. But without the semi-decent prose. Also, any fantasy book that's got a setting full of brothels, rape, and slavery that has a man say, with all seriousness, "You can't know what I've been though," to a woman of that world, I automatically gag. I just can't.
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  • ella ✨
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve got to admit its super confusing at times but this book was still wholly enjoyable and reading it felt like being thrown into a whole other world. If you’re a fan of adult fantasy and having your brain twisted then this one’s for you! I loved it.
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  • Lauren Chamberlin
    January 1, 1970
    “A hero who has never had a bad thing happen to him isn’t a hero- he’s just spoiled.”I had a lot of mixed thoughts throughout this novel. I think the part that really hurt it for me personally was the narration. It jumps back and forth between present time (first person) and flashbacks (third person), and I always have a rougher time reading novels involving heavy uses of flashbacks. Kihrin’s POV during the present part of the novel was my favorite hands down. Moreover, both stories were incredi “A hero who has never had a bad thing happen to him isn’t a hero- he’s just spoiled.”I had a lot of mixed thoughts throughout this novel. I think the part that really hurt it for me personally was the narration. It jumps back and forth between present time (first person) and flashbacks (third person), and I always have a rougher time reading novels involving heavy uses of flashbacks. Kihrin’s POV during the present part of the novel was my favorite hands down. Moreover, both stories were incredibly interesting (I mean it’s high fantasy- it’s obviously intriguing!), but it was overwhelming at times with all the high fantasy information and names.The names. Ohhh they are so similar, especially in this specific group in the world, and it only makes it harder to keep all the facts straight. I mean it makes sense because of the culture those people have, but I used the glossary as if it was my best friend.I was honestly confused most of the time in the first 200ish pages, and it really took away my enjoyment.Now you may be wondering.. what was my favorite part?THE HUMOR.OHHHHH I loved Kihrin because he was quite frankly me if I was ever put in a high fantasy world. I just wanted to pat his head and console him nearly the entire time because his life is a MESS. No, his life truly SUCKS, and he has MANY lows in this novel. His journey physically and mentally as a person was just fascinating to delve into. Though for real, his sass, commentary, and jokes legit made this book shine so bright. I'd honestly compare his humor and sarcasm to Mia Corvere from Nevernight. I got so many similar vibes between the two. There's even footnotes! AH!The politics also were a big 10/10. From family drama to impending war to hysterical gods, I was living my best political intrigue life.Now I do not know if it was my confusion resurfacing at the end, but I started to pull away from enjoying the politics after 450ish pages. Like I said before, it became a real hassle to follow the plot when a thousand things, names, and issues are thrown at you at one time. I usually am very good with staying on track when it comes to complex plots, but this was a doozy.At the end of the day, I think I would have really benefitted in taking notes while reading this novel, and I 100% recommend that for any of you thinking about picking this up.
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  • Somaya Salama
    January 1, 1970
    DNF (unpopular opinion)- I can't take it anymore. This book was such a huge disappointment! I had high hopes for this one, but i'm not sure why the publisher is hyping this book up. I was 60% in and so far, there is no plot. Everything is so confusing and nothing is being explained. I have to go back to the glossary at the end, which is 10 pages long, to remind myself what this creature is or what this means in general. The story was written in two different timelines and it disrupted the flow o DNF (unpopular opinion)- I can't take it anymore. This book was such a huge disappointment! I had high hopes for this one, but i'm not sure why the publisher is hyping this book up. I was 60% in and so far, there is no plot. Everything is so confusing and nothing is being explained. I have to go back to the glossary at the end, which is 10 pages long, to remind myself what this creature is or what this means in general. The story was written in two different timelines and it disrupted the flow of the story. I would sometimes forget what happened in the previous chapter. Not to mention the characters were unlikeable.I know I sound harsh, but this was terrible. I don't have it in me to care for the MC or want to know what's going to happen to him. He can die for all I care. TW: There's also a lot of abuse and mention of rape (just in case you're not a fan of such things)I received an ARC from the publisher for review.
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  • The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).
    January 1, 1970
    As always this review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress...There’s something to be said for losing yourself in a book. Forgetting about the outside world and the stresses and strains of life, letting it all take a backseat and allowing it to fade into the background as you consume page after page and The Ruin of Kings is one such book. It is both a sprawling epic, grand in scope and scale and also a deeply personal tale for Kihrin.I’ll not As always this review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress...There’s something to be said for losing yourself in a book. Forgetting about the outside world and the stresses and strains of life, letting it all take a backseat and allowing it to fade into the background as you consume page after page and The Ruin of Kings is one such book. It is both a sprawling epic, grand in scope and scale and also a deeply personal tale for Kihrin.I’ll not get down and dirty with the story nor delve into the nitty-gritty aspects of what occurs in my review. Firstly, it’s not my style and secondly, Kihrin’s story is a story that you want to discover for yourself. It is a rags to riches tale with Kihrin going from being a blind musician’s apprentice by day and a street thief by night to a prince and beyond. Kihrin’s story that takes place across many miles and many years as you follow him through the highs and the lows, the ups and the downs, the life-changing events, the shocking revelations and the small moments of growth and with every page turned more is revealed about Kihrin, his destiny and the world.The Ruin of Kings is told in an interesting way. The story is non-linear and starts with Kihrin as a prisoner, in a jail cell, awaiting his fate and with Talon, his jailer, guarding him. What follows is a conversation between the pair where (for the most part) they alternate the chapters telling Kihrin’s story. Kihrin narrates his chapters in the first-person perspective giving it a more personal feel to him and Talon, her parts in the third-person perspective filling in the gaps left by Kihrin and fleshing out the tale with accounts from various other characters. This exchange is compiled together and transcribed into the story that we read by Thurvishar D’Lorus who also adds his own footnotes to the proceedings. This is the first part of the book and it details the events that lead up to Kihrin finding himself locked away, rotting in a cold cell.The second part of the book brings things full circle and we go back to the start of the book with Kihrin in the jail cell and it takes the story from there, carrying on the story in the present from that point forward and building to the climax of the book.As the main character, Kihrin is likeable. He feels fully-fleshed out and as the story progresses so too does Kihrin and as he ages and endures tragic events we get to see him grow and mature into a more rounded and thoughtful individual. According to the blurb, it is implied that he is supposed to be the villain of the tale, I feel this is a slight misstep as I always rooted for Kihrin and thought of him as the ‘good guy‘ and the hero of the tale.Talon is a mimic, a shape-shifter, a spy, an assassin and a demon who collects peoples memories and who is able to impersonate the person thanks to her ability to alter her appearance. Due to other people’s memories, Talon has always been around Kihrin, watching him and seeing the events of his life unfold through the memories that she has consumed. That is how she is able to fill in the gaps in Kihrin’s tale, she has the memories of those who were also there, who lived through and saw the same events, who witnessed Kihrin, his actions and ultimately, the consequences of those actions.As well as Kihrin there are many other characters in The Ruin of Kings. The cast can be slightly confusing at times due to the amount, especially when keeping track of who is who but they are well-developed by Lyons and all have a role to play in the story being told. Along with Kihrin and Talon, my favourite characters were Darzin D’Mon, Teraeth, Khaemezra, Tyentso and the Old Man.There is a lot going on in The Ruin of Kings and you will find lots of motivations at play, hidden machinations and double-crosses by characters and the water is often murky as to who is ‘good‘ or ‘bad‘ and what is ‘right‘ and ‘wrong‘. The characters have to make some tough choices and they are firmly in the shades of grey type for moral ambiguity. The question is often asked of what is the right or the wrong course of action to take and the actions themselves have consequences for all involved.The Ruin of Kings features epic world-building and Lyons has crafted a world that is full of history and lore. Much of which we only get to glimpse the surface of but it is utterly fascinating and leaves you wanting to dig deeper and find out more. The locales in which the story takes place are well-realised and the world includes zombies, krakens, snake men (sadly none with the name of King Hiss), various cults, assassins, gods, goddesses, dead gods, magic, magical artefacts, mages, witches, demons, dragons, ghosts, the Morgage (who are a savage race with poisonous barbs adorning their arms) and various types of Vane who are an immortal race.The pacing is decent throughout The Ruin of Kings, it is never fly by your pants fast paced but the story does generally move along nicely. However, the book does lag at times, namely in the middle section but it is nothing that is a deal breaker and it is never to the extent that it warrants any dissatisfaction with the reader. I will say that even when the pacing does slow there’s always enough on display to keep you invested in the characters, their stories and the rich world that Lyons has created.I mentioned that there are footnotes in the book near the start of my review and I feel that I should say that they are never overly obtrusive and neither do they detract from the story. They serve to add history and lore giving the reader little snippets of extra information, colouring the landscape and helping to form a fuller picture of the world and Thurvishar himself is when required self-deprecating and amusing in a droll way.The Ruin of Kings is absolutely stunning, it is epic fantasy at its finest, like a tapestry it is hugely complex, intricately woven and lavishly detailed. It is a highly skilled debut from Lyons and it is a book that you need to concentrate on reading. If you do give The Ruin of Kings the attention that it requires (and fully deserves) then you are richly rewarded with what amounts to a highly immersive reading experience.
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  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley for generously providing this arc preview. So far so good!! I love the main character and the world building is nice. The pacing takes some time to get used to and it was a little confusing at times but I was really enjoying it...so far! I'm super sad right now because I thought this was the whole book arc. Sadly, its a long arc preview.... So I got up to the end of chapter 23 and BOOM it ended.... so I am VERY excited to get my hands on the full copy of this!
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  • Lili Marcus
    January 1, 1970
    3.5-4 stars.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 H 3.5-4 stars.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. :)I was provided a copy by the publishers via Netgalley
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  • Ric
    January 1, 1970
    I wish I liked this book more, I really do, but even though the plot was easily four stars the execution was worth one at best. First, the positives. I loved the political intrigue in this story, it was easily my favorite part of the plot. Other than that, there were strong magical elements and a few interesting characters that made the story interesting. But with that being said, the negatives really outweighed the positives for me. I’m going to attempt to explain the format of this story, and I wish I liked this book more, I really do, but even though the plot was easily four stars the execution was worth one at best. First, the positives. I loved the political intrigue in this story, it was easily my favorite part of the plot. Other than that, there were strong magical elements and a few interesting characters that made the story interesting. But with that being said, the negatives really outweighed the positives for me. I’m going to attempt to explain the format of this story, and it’s a doozy so bear with me. The story is essentially told in three parts. The first (and also last) is the one that takes place in the present, where the main character, Kihrin, is imprisoned and his captor, Talon, is guarding him. This story is told mostly in short interludes and footnotes until the last part of the book when the timeline returns to the present. But for most of the book (like the first 450 pages), it’s Kihrin and Talon telling Kihrin’s story of how he wound up there and the events that contributed to his imprisonment. Now here’s where it gets tricky. Kihrin and Talon are telling the same story in different parts, basically Kihrin’s life but two different parts of it that will eventually meet up. Since they are both telling this story, the format is that each part of the story is told in alternating chapters. And since it’s Kihrin’s life, his chapters are in the first person while Talon’s chapters are in the third person. Got it? Probably not because it’s so unnecessarily convoluted that it’s nearly impossible to find a rhythm and immerse yourself in the story. It really threw off the pacing and made the story more complicated than it needed to be. Another thing that I didn’t like was that a lot of the characters had similar names or went by pseudonyms or had nicknames or a combination of the three. At certain points it was hard to keep track of who was actually in the scene, and the format didn’t help with that at all. Had this story been written in a linear way, I probably would’ve liked it a lot more because I did like the plot. But I just can’t overlook the fact that it felt like a chore to read this at times because of the way that it was presented.
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