What if you weren’t the hero?
Kihrin grew up on tales of long-lost princes and grand quests – despite being raised in a brothel, making money as a musician and street thief. One day he overreaches by targeting an absent noble’s mansion, hunting for jewels. There he witnesses a prince performing a terrifying dark-magic ritual. Kihrin flees but he’s marked by a demon and his life will never be the same again.
That night also leads to him being claimed as a lost son of that prince’s royal house. But far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family’s power plays and ambitions. He must also discover why his murderous father finds Kihrin more valuable alive than dead. Soon Kihrin attempts to escape his relative’s dangerous schemes, but finds himself in far deeper waters.
He becomes tangled in a plot to kill the Emperor, rob the Imperial Vaults, claim a god-slaying sword and free bound demons to wreak havoc across the land. Kihrin also discovers the old tales lied about many things: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love – and the hero always winning. But maybe Kihrin isn’t fated to save the empire. He’s destined to destroy it.
The Ruin of Kings is the first book in Jenn Lyons’s epic new series.
I have to admit the size of this book kept putting me off, even though I was convinced I would love it. Well I’m here to tell you that this shouldn’t put you off! I loved it! And it flew by.
The story switches between Kihrin’s POV (in the more recent past) and Talon’s (for a slightly older story), but the two play together incredibly well. It never *feels* like they’re weighted against each other for pacing or reveals, even though they definitely have been or it wouldn’t work.
Without spoiling it as well, there are also footnotes from a narrator who we learn about part way through, and that was a little confusing at first (especially as they comment in first person before we learn who they are!) but again works incredibly well.
This story tells us how Kihrin discovered his heritage, and then how that turned into so much more – tales of dragons, demons, politics and assassins. Basically everything I love in a story. 😀
I found it fairly easy to follow too, so it manages to be a great adult fantasy book without getting too confusing, which is always good!
I am sharing a couple of warnings here – for underage sex (which is frankly rape), and also incest and suicide.
This is one of the best fantasy books I’ve read in a long while and I can’t wait to start the sequel soon! 4.5 stars.
Buy The Ruin of Kings from Amazon UK.