Greetings, salutations and what up, Tor.com: It’s another RROK post! Just what you wanted!
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 can be found here in the series index.
Today’s post will be covering Chapter 14, “Bedtime Stories”, which is available for your reading delectation right here.
Read it? Great! Then click on to find out what I thought!
Good chapter! The story about how Ola found Kihrin, as usual, raises more questions than it answers, but they’re very interesting questions. Kihrin and Ola both seem to play it off afterwards as a fairy tale to Morea, but I’m pretty sure that’s misdirection and really it all happened just as Ola said. I think. 95% sure.
What I’m not sure about is whether Kihrin knows this at this point, or if he genuinely believes the “found on a trash heap” version. I have to assume not, but if so, then what did he make of what Ola said while thinking him unconscious about the General “knowing just what he’s looking at”, I wonder?
(And what is he looking at? I honestly probably have all the clues at this point to definitively say what/who Kihrin is, but reading a chapter or two a week this way is not so good for keeping details straight and/or connecting a lot of deliberately confusing dots. More on that later.)
Anyway, Morea’s assertion that Ola’s story totally makes it sound like Kihrin is Someone Important is absolutely correct. Though, in the spirit of perhaps ice-cold practicality, one does have to wonder why the assassin just strangled Kihrin’s mother and walked off without making sure the infant was dead too. Sure, your average newborn’s chances of surviving that scenario were low, but as we see, not non-existent, so that’s just some sloppy assassinating, there. (What, I’m a critic, I critique!)
[Ola:] “You can’t tell a boy like Kihrin to stay away from an invitation to the High General’s house and expect the boy will do it. Demons, no. Surdyeh’s gone and made that just about irresistible.”
Thurvishar’s note wonders if perhaps that wasn’t the entire point. If so, Surdyeh should change his name to Señor Reverse Psychology, because wow. I don’t know that Ola (and Thurvy) are right on this one, though, because I seem to remember a POV that showed Surdyeh was genuinely panicked about the possibility of Kihrin finding out what/who he was. But I could be wrong, that was a while back.
But either way, both he and Ola should know that all their efforts, sincere or otherwise, would have been useless. Secrets will out, and the bigger they are the more certain you may be of their exposure. And in stories at least, the longer you try to keep them the worse the consequences will be. Needless to say, Kihrin’s visit to the General is going to be explosive. Possibly literally.
And last and probably least, the method of selecting a new Emperor of Quur that Ola describes here is cuckoo bananas. Election by free-for-all murder melee, good lord. I mean, that makes strange women lying in ponds distributing swords positively sane as a system of government.
(And look, I will stop quoting Monty Python the moment it stops being so hilariously relevant to, er, everything.)
I mean, yes, some people are risk takers, play big to win big, yay for them I guess, but you’d think that a system that confers immortality and phenomenal cosmic power on its leader would come up with a system that tests for better qualities than “can slaughter untold numbers better than all other slaughterers.” Sheesh.
And that’s what I got for this one, folks! But no worries, next week I will be back with two, yes, TWO chapters for your delight! Getting close to drop date here, y’all. Cheers!