The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

This book has been popping all over the place. The level of hype was closer to what you would get for a movie or tv show, rather than a debut novel. Does it live it up to the hype? Mostly yes.

The most interesting thing about the book is the structure. The story of Kihrin, our main protagonist, is told in a fragmented form by two narrators. Kihrin narrates the more recent events of his life, those events that lead us to the jail cell where we first meet him. Another narrative (I won’t give that away), tells Kihrin’s story from further back in his past. There is also a third narrator, who will eventually pick up the story, who provides insights throughout both narratives in the form of footnotes. I wasn’t sure how I would like the narrative structure, but once I got used to it, I quite enjoyed it. It did make a good plot better.

The plot itself was intriguing, but at times there seemed to be plot twists for the sake of plot twists. One of those twists was the parentage of one of the characters. It kept changing, to the point where I was not sure what was true anymore. Now, that could very well be the point, the narrators are not entirely reliable, but it was still a bit more twisty than I thought it needed to be. The plot was already compelling, I didn’t find the additional twists to be necessary. On its surface, the story revolves around Kihrin finding his true destiny and saving the world, but there is a nice sort of twist at the end, that really sets up the other books in the series. That was a twist I appreciated and felt was earned.

A very special shout out to the audiobook. There were three different performers used to wonderful affect. I found myself wanting to listen to the book more than reading it.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book. The story isn’t completely unfamiliar to anyone who has read a lot of fantasy, but the narrative device gave it a fresh feel that I really appreciated. I will definitely read this before the next book in the series comes out, since I do feel like I may have missed a few connections on my first read through.

Lillypad Rating: 4 out of 5

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