Saturday, 9 March 2019

Book Review: The Ruin of Kings (Fantasy)

The Ruin of Kings
Jenn Lyons

Publisher:  Pan Macmillan 
Imprint: Tor UK
Publication date: 5th February 2019
Pages: 560
RRP: $29.99
Format Read: Uncorrected proof copy
Source: Courtesy of the publisher


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 story opens with Kihrin in prison guarded by Talon. Talon asks, I should say forces, Kihrin to tell his story whilst she also narrates her part of Kihrin’s story.

Kihrin’s narration is in first person and starts as a 16 year old Kihrin is being sold in a slave auction. Talin’s is in third person and starts a year earlier with 15 year old Kihrin living with adoptive parents in the slums of the lower circle. He is musician by day and thief by night. The two narrations alternate but I found them easy to follow. There were also footnotes by the author but I skipped those because the printing was so tiny in my uncorrected proof I could hardly read it.

Kihrin is a likeable protagonist. He seemed to have morals in a world that had no morals. He had a sarcastic sense of humour that managed to surface even in the face of overbearing adversity. This slight lean towards humour took the edge off some of the darker moments.

The writing was exceptional and the world building was complex and intricate. There was so much going on in this novel I felt at times that I couldn’t take it all in. There was never a dull moment or a lapse in the action.

I was a bit disappointed that the women were so subservient. I would have liked a few more strong women. The men have little regard for women beyond their pleasurable use. Even the wives were beaten and then healed by other women to cover it up.

The novel is filled with the type of action dark fantasy fans have come to expect; murder, torture, demons, gods, dragons, kings, dark magic, undead, flesh eating shape shifters and allusions to rape and incest all ending with a tantalising cliff hanger.

The Ruin of Kings is a dark fantasy that will grip you with its world building and squeeze the air from your lungs with its unrelenting danger and battles.

Recommended for 18+ years
My rating    8/10

 *This review is: 


Photo credit: Goodreads

 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. She is a video game producer by day, and spends her evenings writing science-fiction, fantasy and paranormal mysteries. 

A long-time devotee of storytelling, she 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.

You can connect with the author at the following sites:
Website  ||  Twitter  ||  Facebook  ||  Goodreads  




  1. I read a proof of this from the publisher too. I agree with everything you've said, I really enjoyed it too. I would recommend the footnotes if you ever reread. They added a great humour to the story.
    Gemma @ Gemma's Book Nook

    1. It’s a book I would like to reread but I think I will purchase the paperback as it’s a bit bigger than the proof.

  2. This sounds great! Awesome review :)

  3. I love a good fantasy story! This looks awesome. Thank you for the review.

    1. It has been a while since I’d read a fantasy. I enjoyed getting back into the genre.

  4. Lovely review, I fear I am far too lazy for all that world building ;)

  5. Great review. Not really my kind of book though.

  6. It sounds intriguing but a little too dark for my tastes. I love strong women characters.

    1. The lack of some good female characters, until near the end, was the only thing that let it down.

  7. Great review :) Not sure it's one I would pick up but I'm glad to see that you enjoyed it. Thanks for linking it up for the AtoZ Challenge!