Hello, Tor.com! Welcome back to the once Read, now Reread of The Ruin of Kings!
This blog series will be covering The Ruin of Kings, the first novel 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 20, “Valathea”, and Chapter 21, “The Island of Ynisthana.” Please note that from this point forward, these posts will contain spoilers for the entire novel, so it’s recommended that you read the whole thing first before continuing on.
Got that? Great! Click on for the rest!
Chapter 20: Valathea (Talon’s Story)
[IN WHICH a pretty boy makes a most unwelcome reappearance, and Kihrin plays a tune.]
I have to say, meeting Darzin D’Mon again the second time around is even less awesome than the first time (and the first time weren’t no picnic neither), because now I know what’s coming next. The revelation that Darzin = Pretty Boy is small potatoes compared to what else we (and Kihrin) are going to learn about him. Ugh.
[Kihrin, on being told he’d met Emperor Sandus:] “But that—that’s not possible,” Kihrin protested. “That man said he was a friend of my father’s. My father doesn’t know the Emperor.”51
51 I rather suspect that statement is wrong on all possible counts.
Well, Thurvy, when you’re right you’re right. And if I (or Kihrin, for that matter) had remembered this detail, we’d have known right away that Darzin’s later claim to be Kihrin’s father was bullshit. This might have saved both of us quite a bit of mental anguish in the short term.
(If not physical anguish, on Kihrin’s part. “Avoiding anguish”, after all, is clearly not a part of Kihrin’s job description. But then, it never is for Chosen Ones—even, apparently, Chosen Ones what Chose themselves. As Fitzgerald once said, “Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy.”)
52 The closest translation of Valathea is ‘the exquisite sorrow that comes from understanding great truths.’ It is a female Kirpis vané given name, currently out of vogue.
I like that. I am also totally behind the concept of an instrument that makes you sound good no matter how crappy you are at playing it—as long as it loves you, of course. I will take one in piano, please, then I can love it and hug it and call it George, and then play this just like I always wanted to.
I’m trying to remember what happened to the harp. It got stolen, I know, but I can’t remember if Kihrin got it back? I don’t think he did. Shame. I wonder if it will turn up again in later books. I almost have to assume this is the case, really. It’s too awesome an artifact to just be gone.
The High General shrugged. “Besides, it’s not my decision. The Emperor is interested in that boy. I wouldn’t want to be the person who allowed him to come to harm.”
Darzin D’Mon looked as if he’d swallowed bile. “No. No, neither would I.”
I’m not really clear here on whether Darzin has made the connection yet that Kihrin is also the thief who stole the Stone of Shackles and whom he sent the demon after in the first place. I would assume not, though, because if he had, I think, he would have been a lot more insistent on ducking out of dinner with the General. I think at this point Darzin is only interested in Kihrin because he thinks (rightly) that Kihrin is a D’Mon.
And… yeah, mental anguish anyway. Even if Darzin’s not Kihrin’s actual dad, being related to him in any fashion at all is quite bad enough.
Chapter 21: The Island of Ynisthana (Kihrin’s Story)
[IN WHICH Kihrin gets dressed, and contemplates his escape.]
…And, uh, that’s really about all that happens in this chapter, so I honestly don’t have a lot to say about it. Except maybe this:
A real dragon. I felt immortal.
Actual LOL. You have no idea, kid.
Sure, I thought to myself, and now you’re the gaeshed slave of a vané hag who might also be a dragon, trapped with her rabid son on an island somewhere in the Desolation. If they’ve saved you for something, you won’t like it.
I’ll talk more about this later, but I will say—and I’m not sure whether this is a criticism or not—that I had a lot of trouble getting a grip on Teraeth as a character throughout this book. My initial impression of him (and Khaemezra) as thoroughly unlikable slave-having ruthless assassins was hard to shake, even when it became clear that we were supposed to start sympathizing with them—that they were, in fact, Kihrin’s strongest allies.
It was just very difficult for me to wrap my brain around that, for some reason. And remarks like this one from Kihrin certainly didn’t do much to unmuddy the waters on that account.
And that’s what I got for these chapters, kids! Join me again next week for more! Cheers!