Last Updated on December 27, 2022 by ThoughtsStained
No one had higher expectations for The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons than I did. Claimed akin Sanderson and Rothfuss, includes dragons AND written by a woman? I wanted this book to blow my mind. No, I wanted it to completely shatter my reality of what fiction could be, of what stories could do. With high hopes, I wanted to find a new author to admire, someone to look up to as a writer and be like, “I want to write like her.”
Lyons nailed it in every way.
Massive thanks to Literary Agent Sam Morgan, for sending a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Tor Books | Release Date: February 2019 | Pages: 560
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Fantasy | Format: Paperback | Source: Gift
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 too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love, and how the hero always wins.
Then again, maybe he’s not the hero, for Kihrin is not destined to save the empire.
He’s destined to destroy it.
On the Page
Content warnings are written up by me, unless specified. Subject to being an incomplete list, though guided by referencing this list and trying to highlight as many as I can identify.
- This book was incredible. It was visceral, the pace was fast moving and the voice especially was fantastic, especially how it differentiated between the three narrators. The writing deserves nothing but a standing ovation. As a debut novel, Lyons, in my opinion, is already an expert in the field.
- Yet Lyons story is also such a breath of fresh air and her story is still unique. Her world is vast and incredible and it was impossible not to feel the absolute depth presented here. It’s so real and has so much history, I feel I could visit.
- I love the characters, as well. I cheered for Kihrin the entire time. Admittedly, I couldn’t help but like Talon, even though I wanted to hate her. The wide company of side characters were each fleshed out and developed and everyone played a role. Some of the new races introduced here were amazing. I enjoyed learning about the lore a ton. I audibly expressed my surprise–or pain–a handful of times throughout the story.
So, could you tell that I really, really enjoyed The Ruin of Kings? The way the story was presented–this intricate weaving of three narratives, past and present, all being told at the same time–was my favorite aspect, though. It’s so intricate. Everything revealed at the perfect moment, creating the perfect balance of tension and revelation. It makes you continue to read without any choice on your part. Even if it’s almost 3am and you should’ve went to bed hours before (oops).
If you’re a fantasy fan, you can’t afford to miss this book. Lyons has been compared to Sanderson and Rothfuss. But honestly? It won’t be before long before we’re comparing books to Lyons, instead.