The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons
Series: A Chorus of Dragons #1
Time: 27h15 (listen to an extract below!)
Top 3 Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Epic Quest
My rating: Set it on fire/If you have nothing else to read/you need to read it/Run and buy it.
Source: offered by MacMillan Audio
Add to: Goodreads
Hey guys! Are you ready to start a new EPIC fantasy adventure? Like something really crazy you won’t be able to put down? If so (and of course it should be so), The Ruin of Kings is for you!
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, 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 . . .
Let’s start with a tale…
The first thing that captivated me with the Ruin of Kings is the way the story is told, you know, a bit like the Name of the Wind, with a teller and a listener. Well actually, two tellers here. With alternate POV, we slowly and beautifully uncover the story of Kihrin, a street thief discovering he is actually a bastard prince…and ending up a slave. Not to mention, of course, that he might be part of a very destructive prophecy, so more than one person is after him, let me tell you! Through the book, we travel between the present (Kihrin being a slave), and the past (him as a street urchin), slowly completing the dots of the story.. but not completely! I guess this will be for the next book AND I CAN’T WAIT!
A complex fantasy universe
If there is something I need in fantasy, it is a good world building. And even if it’s not perfect there, it’s pretty close! The author really takes the time to describe her world, the mythology of it, the royalty and geography, and the fantasy elements (might have guessed it… we see a dragon). A world working on slavery and magic, so expect some dark moments through your read! Makes it more real for me though, because if everything is pretty and nice, why would you write a book about it right? So we have a patriarchal system, prostitution, slavery … and a young boy lost among it all, pushed into a destiny he is not ready to fulfill (and doesn’t want to!). Everything you need and more to start an epic fantasy journey!
BUT (tiny or big but I am not sure..) sometimes it is too complex: so many names and characters playing different roles. Not to mention dying and coming back, appearing in one part of the book then another as someone else, hidden identity and the mimic, taking anyone or everyone appearance. That is A LOT. And it was a bit overwhelming!
On a side note, I would consider this one more as adult fantasy than young adult (I’ve seen it tagged as so but the story itself, the content, rape mention and more make it adult).
Why read it as an audiobook?
Because of the great narrators alternating the chapters! We actually have three narrators, one being Kihrin, in present time, the other Talon- a mysterious entity (and a brilliant and bloody concept I don’t want to spoil here) and his jailor- for the past. And a third one interfering there and now for precisions and corrections through the story, like an impartial narrator (aka footnotes in the written version). It made the story more alive, and maybe, easier to understand because I can see it becoming confusing sometimes if you only read chapters. With the different narrators, male and female, it was easier to remember where you were! I would definitely advise you to try this version of the book!
In a few words
If the story was a bit complex, because of the back and forth through time and the great number of characters, it was, in the end, the good kind of complexity, because I was transported away by this book. It was an amazing reading experience, and has the potential to become one of my favorite fantasy series of all time! The future will tell us….
See you for a cup!