The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

Reading The Ruin of Kings: Chapters 15 and 16

Of all the gin joint blog posts in all the Internets, you clicked on mine, Tor.com. And I couldn’t be more thrilled. Another post for you!

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 15, “The Zherias Maw”, and Chapter 16, “The General’s Reward”, which are available for your reading delectation right here.

Read it? Great! Then click on to find out what I thought!

Chapter 15

Maelstroms are a staple feature of just about any fantasy story involving travel by ship, from Scylla and Charybdis on down, and it’s no wonder: Besides being a ready source of danger/adventure, they fit perfectly into fantasy tales, because it’s hard to believe they are actually real in the first place. In fact, I think as a child I assumed they were completely made up, right along with kraken and mermaids, and was shocked to discover they are very real (and very dangerous).

(And actually, kraken are kinda real, too. Never underestimate the ability of real life to outdo fiction at being hella strange, y’all.)

“Will you?” I finally whispered. “Will you let them all die?”

“What do you think?” she asked.

I remembered what I knew about Thaena. I remembered the look on Teraeth’s face as he stared down at the slaves in the hold. I remembered Khaemezra’s concern when I almost died because of the gaesh. I would’ve thought cultists of a death goddess more callous, but they defied my attempts to pin them with an easy label.

Kihrin’s evaluation of Khaemezra’s character here is—as he himself observes—interestingly contradictory to what you would expect. Not only is she in charge of said death goddess assassin cult, not too long ago I was speculating that she might literally be the Goddess of Death. But Kihrin thinks she and Teraeth both care about whether a bunch of slaves live or die, and furthermore I think he’s right. Sooo, that’s weird.

Man, don’t tell me I’m going to end up liking them, that is some Sympathy for Jaime Lannister bullshit right there. Free Kihrin from his soul slavery and we’ll talk, okay? Ugh.

Anyway, yay, Kihrin has a knife! And is probably about to go stab someone! I CAN’T IMAGINE WHO. Let’s see if the next chapter tells us!

 

Chapter 16

Well, it doesn’t, of course, but it does advance us on the other story line I’m very interested in (i.e. what’s going to happen when Kihrin visits the general), so that’s all right.

Well, except that the chapter didn’t actually get us to that meeting, which is a uniquely kind of grrr situation for us, isn’t it? But not for much longer!

[…] the switch-backing marble steps of the Stair of Dreams were the only public access to the maze of manicured hedges, estates, villas, and palaces Quur’s elite called home. Halfway up, Kihrin realized the long, steep stairs were purposefully intimidating. Royalty traveled by liter or carriage, and would use private gates. Only commoners ever made this climb. They would arrive at their destination gasping for breath and humbled.

Lovely. They say that the true measure of a civilization is how it treats its worst-off citizens, and by those lights, Quur (and most of the rest of Kihrin’s world, it seems) fails with a resounding clunk.

At least they’re honest about it? I guess? (And the award for “Most Dubious Virtue” goes to…)

The blue-eyed nobleman Morea had assumed was his relative was almost certainly one such member of royalty. However, Kihrin found himself at a loss to remember the specific house to which the villain owed fealty. Did blue mean he was a physicker? Kihrin had no idea which Royal family controlled the Blue Houses, where one traded metal for healing.

For the first time in his life he wondered why his father, who made such a show of chiding him to practice and study—if he wanted to play before anyone important—had so thoroughly neglected his education in this regard.

That is an excellent question. Two excellent questions, in fact. To which we will not get the answers this week, sadly.


But never fear! There is one more preview chapter coming your way next week before you have the whole thing in your hot little hands, and then, my friends, we will have a whole lot more to talk about. Details on how that will go are forthcoming, I promise. Until then, love, luck, and lollipops, O My Peeps. See you soon!

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