Hello, Tor.com! Feeling blue? Well, you’re not alone. How about a Reread of a thing to cheer you, via schadenfreude if nothing else?
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 28, “The Finest Healers”, and Chapter 29, “Teraeth’s Return.” Please note that from this point forward, these posts will likely 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 28: The Finest Healers (Talon’s story)
[In which Kihrin is not dead, and learns that he is royalty, and is less than thrilled about any of it.]
Spread out before him was a palace of blue tile roofs and lapis lazuli walls, towers and spires which ran into each other and formed verandas, pavilions, courtyards. His gaze found no surface to rest on that was not some shade of blue, or where blue was not the predominant color. Each building, each section of building, was a fantastic delight of delicate archways, leaded glass windows, and intricate stone-carving.
Blue is by far the most well-liked color among humans, and nobody can really agree on why. I remember I was told once that blue was prized among ancient peoples because of how difficult it was to produce in man-made objects, and that carried forward even after it became easy to make blue things. Other people believe it’s because it reminds us of clear skies and tranquil waters, signs that we are safe and comfortable. I very much like it myself, though it’s not my favorite color. (My favorite color is silver—an assertion that deeply irks a significant percentage of people I tell this to, which I find hilarious.)
Anyway, I bet you that if blue was Kihrin’s favorite color before, it ain’t anymore. Shame that someone as awful as Darzin gets to have such a nice color for his House.
I do like that it’s associated with healing, as that seems to make perfect sense for reasons that are, again, kind of vague. Maybe that blue=water=cleansing=life, or something. I dunno, viscerally it makes sense even though you could perfectly well make arguments for other colors to be the color of healing (like, red=blood=life, or green=growing=life, etc.). But blue’s prettier, nyah!
The old man pulled the bandages down over Kihrin’s chest and put a hand on his left breast. “You took a crossbow bolt straight through the heart. Tore your right atrium and aorta to bits. I had to use magic to keep your blood circulating while I fixed the damage.” He gave Kihrin a sharp look. “You do not want me to rush a procedure like that, or you’ll end up dropping dead of a heart seizure by the time you’re eighteen.”
So, this is seriously impressive healing work. I’m pretty sure that modern medicine in the real world could only heal such a wound by doing a heart transplant, and even then, unless you got shot while actually standing in an ER, you wouldn’t survive long enough for anyone to do that anyway. Granted, I am not a heart surgeon, nor do I play one on TV, so maybe I’m wrong, but yeah, I’m fairly certain if you get your heart shredded like that in the real world, you’re toast barring a miracle.
So, in conclusion, if you’re going to get shot through the heart (and you’re to blame), do it where they have badass healing magic. There, solved that little conundrum for you, you’re welcome.
Chapter 29: Teraeth’s Return (Kihrin’s story)
[In which there is a party and a prophecy, and Kihrin is less than thrilled with any of that either.]
Kalindra found my reaction amusing. “We’re usually in a festive frame of mind after a Maevanos. Most of us find looking Death in the eye rather intoxicating, not to mention arousing.” She handed me a glass of mulled wine.
The prefix “mae” paired with the revelry and wine is probably a reference to the maenads, followers of Dionysus/Bacchus and the extreme sport party girls of ancient Greek mythology. Fortunately the Brotherhood’s version of bacchanalia seems to tend more toward the “drunken orgy” aspects than the “tearing people limb from limb in a maddened frenzy” stuff—at least this part of it, anyway. But obviously the connection with death is also very much there, so it’s a nice reference, all told.
Sure, some men prefer men even in Quur, but it’s all very discreet. Velvet boys kept politely inside the seraglio or brothel so a patron maintains the facade that he came for the women. No Quuran male ever publicly admitted he preferred men. No one seemed to care about that here, or hell, even notice.
I was blushing.
Poor Kihrin. It’s not enough that he’s having something of a crisis about his sexual orientation, but he’s doing so in the midst of trying to process some serious sexual trauma. Between being magically bound into obedience and being mind-raped by a demon… eesh. Boy is messed-up, is what I’m saying. (And it’ll get worse later, but we’ll deal with that outrage when we get to it.)
Magic may be awesome for healing, but considering what else it can do I’m not convinced it’s worth the trade-off. It is a double-edged sword, fo sho.
Anyway, points to Teraeth for giving Kihrin back his soul-leash, I guess, but minus several million for propositioning Kihrin before giving it back. You jackass.
Again, it’s difficult for me to be objective about Teraeth for reasons I still don’t really get, but I know we’re supposed to get that this was him being genuinely clueless and not cruel or manipulative. And he (and Kalindra) take no for an answer and don’t get petulant about it or mock Kihrin for it either, which is, infuriatingly, a rare enough reaction to be notable. Still, sheesh.
[Teraeth:] “Relos Var and his lord, Duke Kaen of Yor, believe the prophecies refer to an end time, a great cataclysm, when a single man of vast evil will rise up. The ‘Hell Warrior’ will conquer the Manol, strip the vané of our immortality, kill the Emperor, destroy the Empire of Quur, and free the demons. In his right hand he will hold Urthaenriel, and with his left, he will crush the world and remake it as he desires.” Teraeth sipped at his cup. “Presumably by wiping away the old gods and replacing them with himself, as is tradition.”
Hmm, as of the end of this book Kihrin’s done at least three of those things (hold Urthaenriel, free the demons, and wreck Quur), but did he kill the Emperor? I remember who ends up as Emperor in the end (and wasn’t that a hilarious twist) but that whole scene’s a bit of a muddle. Well, I’ll find out eventually. Presumably the Manol-conquering and world-crushing comes later on. Something to look forward to, yaaaaaay.
And that’s what I got for today, y’all! Have a lovely Easter weekend if that be your thang, and I’ll be back soon with more!