I gave a shout out to The Ruin of Kings recently. It really is a fabulous start to A Chorus of Dragons series.
A Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons is published by Tor and is available to purchase in digital, hardcover and audiobook formats.
When destiny calls, there’s no fighting back . . .
As a bard’s apprentice, Kihrin grew up with tales of legendary deeds. He also steals, desperate to buy a way out of Quur’s slums. Then he raids the wrong house, he’s marked by a demon and life will never be the same again.
Kihrin’s plight brings him to the attention of royalty, who claim him as the lost son of their immoral prince. But far from living the dream, Kihrin’s at the mercy of his new family’s ruthless ambitions. However, escaping his jewelled cage just makes matters worse. Kihrin is horrified to learn he’s at the centre of an ancient prophecy. And every side – from gods and demons to dragons and mages – want him as their pawn. Those old stories lied about many things too, especially the myth that the hero always wins.
Then again, maybe Kihrin isn’t the hero, for he’s not destined to save the empire. He’s destined to destroy it.
The story is narrated by Talon and Kihrin who have their own chapters. Kihrin tells his story from the time when he was auctioned and Talon also tells Kihrin’s story. I have to admit that it took me a while to get used to the format of the narrations because I couldn’t place when each narration’s timeline was set which confused me. I went with the flow of what was happening in each until the pieces fit together.
Metaphysical concepts are relatable as is the ecology (although this world is far more advanced with the impact of not taking care of the planet). Settings are mind blowing (loved being on the island Ynisthana and the scene where Kihrin meets his Goddess).
The Old Man is magnificent – I couldn’t help but give him John Hurt’s voice as I was reminded of Merlin the TV series!
There are a host of characters – all brutal, egotistical and flawed. I felt a kinship with Kihrin who became my anchor through the story. There is a lot of action with different characters in different settings so you do need to be fully focused to stay on track. A glossary is provided and I was thankful for my notes.
I felt that in this story, the author’s focus was on world building. And what a world it is!
If you’re looking to escape into a complex and dark fantasy world that is rich in mythology, this is it.
Jenn Lyons lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, three cats and a nearly infinite number of opinions on anything from Sumerian mythology to the correct way to make a martini. Formally a video game producer, she now writes full time. A long-time devotee of storytelling, Lyons traces her geek roots back to playing first edition Dungeons & Dragons in grade school and reading her way from A to Z in the school’s library.
The Ruin of Kings and the Name of All Things, the first two books in Lyons’s five-book debut epic fantasy series from Tor Books, A Chorus of Dragons, are available now. The third book in the series, the Memory of Souls, arrives August 2020.
Twitter: @jennlyonsauthor Facebook: JennLyonsAuthor