C.G. Drews's Reviews > The Ruin of Kings

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons
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it was amazing
bookshelves: adult, epic-fantasy, read-2020, 5-star, best-of-2020

I FINALLY FINISHED THIS. I just massively want to self-five myself because three months alright. Three months. (Although partially this was my fault as I was listening to an audio and didn't have a lot of time to listen vs I would've been faster reading it with my own eyeballs. But the audio is A+ and I'm completely satisfied with my reading choice there.) The thing I love most about this book is it completely enchanted me. I go through phases of being obsessed and then ...a bit turned off...epic fantasy, and this just came at a point where I was obsessed. It had weak patches, in my opinion, but overall it just excited me. Complex. Wicked. Sassy. Intricately detailed. It's what I crave.

[the story]
It had a lot of trappings of a good ol' epic fantasy: an empire built on the backs of slaves, dragons, assassin guilds, demons and wizards. It had an insanely complex family tree -- made 500 x more complex by the fact nobody could stop swapping their gODDAMN SOULS AND BODIES. ("Yes I am your father, just soul-swapped so now I'm not technically your father but still!!") And they all lied about their identities. And then there were complex family trees. And ancient civilisations merging into newer ones. (I imagined the vane as elven type people please no one correct me because Taraeth is my new Legolas.) And THEN ON TOP OF THAT we have reincarnation and rebirth!!!!!

Are you confused!!! I was confused!! At one point the footnote writer said, "Look. It's complicated and confusing don't worry about it."

SIDE POINT: there are footnotes and god bless these footnotes they are so hilarious. And once I knew who was writing them I liked it even more. It basically went like:

Character: And then this happened which mean this.
Footnote writer: WEll they're WRONG and uNEDCUATED and Khirin is dumb!!!! But anyway keep reading.


So yes it was complicated in plot, but enticing and intriguing. And while at times I felt dizzy, I also just liked reading a world where the history had so many layers. And at the end so many reveals just made me SCREAM. Love that moment. My only disappointments were (A) Taraeth just got FORGOTTEN in the finale?!? Like he was as useless as a cobblestone. I can't even I was so disappointed. (B) Khirin is dumb. This doesn't come as a surprise but I was just sitting here all 😑 really? Boy learns nothing. (But it was still a phenomenal ending and like I said, I screamed.) (I also think maybe the effort of getting through a 27hr audiobook had me just as ecstatic at myself as the book 😂😂)

Look I listened to the audio. I don't even want to pretend to spell their names. I also can't even remember half of everyone. I just...I did love Khirin, our protagonist. He was sassy, stupid, classic Gryffindor, heartfelt and completely unable to be squashed. He bled and I felt for him, he did something clever and I cheered for him. Loving the protagonist is the most important thing for me in a book, so this scores well.

brief character notes:
- I absolutely fucking loved Tareath, a bisexual disaster, who just lived to pick fights with Khirin right up until he suggested they sleep together and Khirin was like "YOU HATE ME" and Taraeth was like "???? yes? what has that got to do with anything??" Idiot. I love him. I also will continue saying Taraeth and Tareath because I don't know. Also he cast illusions and gave me strong Loki vibes. Also his character was criminally underused and I'm crushed.
- Tyentso the sea-witch turned Black Brother recruit turned -- [holds breath] okay I won't tell anymore but I LOVE HER and I. absolutely. screamed. at. her. finale. plot. twist. Oh my god. You know that moment when something is so viciously satisfying? Yes.
- Then we have Kemezra. Me @ phonetically spelling something. Mother of dragons. She's old and knows everything and doesn't tell anyone anything. Stan.
- The whole D'Mon family was great. They're a royal family, long lost family of Khirin, and they're absolutely corrupt poisonous messed up murders and demon conjurors and oblivious fools and I loved them. Darzen was despicable. Theron was fantastic for being so damply useless. Lady Miah WAS AMAZING. Love Galen, my poor soft dumb gay Hufflepuff.
- I should probably mention Ola and Surgeyuh (hm I don't think I'm even trying with the spelling now) but I don't actually care. Khirin's backstory was a bit basic here and I'm a little pissed at how he grow up in "Velvet Town", aka, in the brothels, but we made sure to know he was still pure. It's such a problematic trope.
- Also I suppose we should talk about Khirin? Idiot. Sassy-mouth. Really earnest and sweet. (Idk about his taste in women and his obsessive infatuation.) Thief. Reluctant royal. And OH HIS BACKSTORY. I mean, his other backstory. He has several. His whole life is a rollercoaster that just flew off the rails and everyone is screaming and barely clinging on while Khirin has his hands in the air saying "yeehaw" right before he realises he's about to die and then he starts screaming. (view spoiler)

[an epic fantasy that set my heart blazing]
I loved it while also being confused and frankly wanting more from the finale. (view spoiler) It's intriguing and complexly layered, ambitious in its history, and daunting in size, but unrelentless in its pursuit to tell a phenomenal story. And IT DID. I'm just stoked. I can't wait to start book 2.

ps. i actually thought it would be gayer, but there were queer side-characters, but Khirin gave zero vibes of being bisexual so I don't know if I misheard he was gay or if that's in sequels. Shall wait and see, I guess? I need queer epic fantasy though. 🥺 Where is it.
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Quotes C.G. Liked

Jenn Lyons
“She pushed a dagger into my hands. "And now you are a man with a knife. Woe to the Empire.”
Jenn Lyons, The Ruin of Kings

Reading Progress

November 29, 2019 – Started Reading
November 29, 2019 – Shelved
November 30, 2019 –
page 76
10.56% "He did what anyone would do when lifted into the air by a rampaging demon about to tear them apart on a public street: Kihrin screamed his head off.

This book 😌👌🏻quality content"
January 30, 2020 –
page 246
34.17% "currently having whiphlash that Teraeth is only 16 too?!? I thought he was like 100 because he keeps being referred to as a man and the audiobook narrator made his voice so deep. Man?? THIS IS A CHILD, SIR. 😂

also Kihrin and Teraeth pausing their argument to collectively resent the new training master is adorable sorry I fell over and shipped them"
January 31, 2020 –
page 280
38.89% "Teraeth didn't laugh, but he made that almost-smile I'd come to interpret as the next best thing.

February 3, 2020 –
page 352
48.89% ""So, if there's some reason why Tyentso can't do this...please tell me so I can start working on my next harebrained scheme to get off this island." I snapped my fingers. "I've got it. Any idea where I can buy five crates of hedgehogs."

aw let Kihrin have the hedgehogs 🥺it might work"
February 7, 2020 –
page 425
59.03% "I love how every time someone in this book says "Kihrin, you are a fool," he just straight up agrees with them. A power move."
February 14, 2020 – Shelved as: adult
February 14, 2020 – Shelved as: epic-fantasy
February 14, 2020 – Shelved as: read-2020
February 14, 2020 – Finished Reading
April 7, 2020 – Shelved as: 5-star
August 13, 2020 – Shelved as: best-of-2020

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Natalie (new) - added it

Natalie Rose Love this review! And I agree with needing a queer epic fantasy!

message 2: by Holly (new) - added it

Holly Abbott Nevernight has some. I haven’t finished the third book so idk where it goes... I’m looking for the same and am coming up sadly short.

Wadzanai Mufunde This was a very entertaining review. Loved it. Teraeth is a 'bisexual disaster'. LOL. I adore him though. You are so right about the need for better mental health rep in fantasy though! I didn't appreciate the time jump in this book. It seemed... odd.

C.G. Drews Wadzanai wrote: "This was a very entertaining review. Loved it. Teraeth is a 'bisexual disaster'. LOL. I adore him though. You are so right about the need for better mental health rep in fantasy though! I didn't ap..."

Thankyou! It's always nice to find other people who enjoy the series too! (The time jump was a bit rushed, maybe?)

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