Hiyo, Tor.com! Welcome back to more of me blatherin’ about what I read! Yay!
This blog series will be covering the first 17 chapters of the forthcoming novel The Ruin of Kings, first of a five-book series by Jenn Lyons. Previous entries c.an be found here in the series index.
Today’s post will be covering Chapter 7, “The Misery,” and Chapter 8, “The Angels Bargain,” which is available for your reading delectation right here.
Read it? Great! Then click on to find out what I thought!
As it turns out, Chapter 7 was short and… well, “sweet” is hardly the right word for a scene that involves an inverted HAL 9000 paradox–the inversion part being, of course, that instead of getting to kill the people giving him conflicting orders, Kihrin’s geas (which the word “gaesh” is obviously a bastardization of) forces him to murder himself. Greeeat.
I think the supercomputer got the better deal, there. (And if you don’t understand this reference you are fired from geek club immediately and forthwith until you watch 2001: A Space Odyssey, you heathen.)
The only other thing that happens in this chapter worth noting (other than that Teraeth and Co. are giant dicks) is Kihrin’s demands to know whether this whole debacle is because of what his grandfather did. Which implies, y’know, that at that point Kihrin knew a lot more about his actual birth family than I think we’ve seen so far in the other flashbacks. Cool cool cool.
Also, that his grandfather is loaded enough to have traded another priceless necklace for a slave–a vané slave, in fact, which I gather is a rare commodity, or something?
Dunno. Let’s go to the next chapter and see if Kihrin survived!
Okay, I mean, obviously we already know he survives. Duh. But still, that was not nice, Author! Hmph.
However! We do get (finally) a lot more of Kihrin’s background instead. Or possible background, since Morea is hardly an unbiased or overly informed observer. That said, she’s a lot more willing to give up what she does know than any of the rest of these cagey characters so far, including Kihrin himself, so this was very interesting to read.
Not least because we finally get a real description of him:
Morea looked up at him. An angel, surely. He had dark skin somehow more golden than the olive hue of most Quurans. The black hair made his skin look paler than it really was, while his skin made his blue eyes shine like Kirpis sapphires. Those blue eyes…
We also find out that the hair color is fake and Kihrin is golden-haired. I don’t find anything to object to in this description, really. Ahem. But mostly, I’m intrigued that I don’t think Morea was using the term “angel” metaphorically. I mean, we have demons in this universe, so why not angels? Did we have mentions of angels before this?
Either way, I suspect “angel” means something rather different from your standard “wings+harp’n’toga” brand of angel. Probably, who knows.
But also, Morea thinks that Kihrin is “Ogenra”–a royal bastard. Which maybe means the royal family in question are angels? It seems like Morea thinks royalty is angelic, but also “god-touched”, but also “divine”, which is sort of confusing to me because in my book all three of those are completely different things. How can you be touched by a god if you are one? And angels are generally considered to be high-ranking servants of divinity, not actually divine themselves.
…Maybe; it’s been a long time since I brushed up on angelic dogma, 95% of which seems to have been made up at random as far as I can tell. And it’s not like the author has to conform to any of those definitions anyway if she doesn’t want to. Such is the glory of making up your own cosmological shit, y’all. Certainly the flavor of angel most of us are familiar with would not be keen on owning slaves, so there’s that.
So, Morea thinks Kihrin is an illegitimate divine royal angelic… er, blessed person, or something, based on his looks but also because she saw the necklace Kihrin stole from Kazivar house, which might mean Kihrin is House Kazivar? Not sure about that.
It also means this scene takes place after Chapter 2. Which means Kihrin somehow escaped the demon the bad guys sent after him at the end of the chapter, which is… unexpected. I sort of thought that was what ended up getting him into the slavery gig, but apparently not. It’s a little difficult to keep track of since I wasn’t sure whether these flashbacks were in chronological order, and also I am not reading this in one swell foop, but I think I’m keeping up pretty well, all things considered.
Or maybe not, but only time (and the next chapters) can tell! Come back next week and join me in puzzling over the next installment! Cheers!