Morning, Tor.com! Are you jonesing to see me be crotchety at fictional young whippersnappers? Well, then, you’ve come to the right place!
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 34, “Promises”, and Chapter 35, “Red Flags.” Please note that going 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 34: Promises (Talon’s story)
[In which there is callow caterwauling, conjectural confessions, and confounding coincidental concatenations.]
Yes, you were sulking. Don’t interrupt, Kihrin.
Okay, yes, he was totally sulking. But, you know, unlike my teenage sulks, which were probably not justified in any way whatsoever, Kihrin kiiiinda has some actual shit to be legitimately emo about. I’m just saying.
And okay, so Miya is his real mother. At least, Kihrin is 90% sure she is; he deduces it in this chapter but does not ask her to confirm it, which demonstrates more restraint than teenage me would have had (hell, adult me either), even though it’s already been demonstrated that asking Miya questions she doesn’t want to (or can’t) answer is a pointless exercise.
But I think he’s right, which means his real mother is not a psychopathic people-eating assassin monster, which is always nice. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I seem to recall Miya gets down with her murdery side the moment she’s ungaeshed at the end of the book, but that’s still better than frickin’ Talon, if you ask me.
There’s also some more information on the Stone of Shackles given here, namely that it cannot be forcibly taken from its wearer—always an important safety feature—and also that it shields its wearer from magical detection, which is probably the only reason Kihrin’s survived this long at all, at least if I’m not confused about how long Darzin’s been looking for him. And I might be, because Miya says that Darzin must have summoned the demon Xaltaroth to look for Kihrin, but:
“Darzin wasn’t looking for me though,” Kihrin said, “I surprised him. He hadn’t expected Xaltorath to attack me.”
Miya smiled, a quirking at the corners of her mouth. “How refreshing. He is not yet omniscient. So the demon was ordered to find the Stone itself.”
Soooo… was he looking for the Stone, or for Kihrin? Or both? Did he know that his alleged son had been wearing the Stone this whole time, or was that just an amazing coincidence? I’m honestly not sure. Obviously coincidences are not really coincidences at all when you’ve got a bunch of busybody gods involved, but I’m not clear at this point whether this was a divinely engineered confluence of circumstances or not.
[Kihrin] would do what Surdyeh had wanted from the beginning: he would run and hide, the first chance he had.
Yeah, good luck with that, kiddo.
Chapter 35: Red Flags (Kihrin’s story)
[In which time passes, some hurts are healed, and some are made worse, because frickin’ Teraeth.]
I turned my body to the side just as Teraeth’s foot swung through the space where my head had been a moment before. I felt indignant. Then the Stone of Shackles turned cold.
Okay, so we weren’t playing.
[…] What can I say? I don’t think it was anything personal, just that Brotherhood members are trained to kill. Once you get that instinct into your system, it’s a hard thing to get back out again.
Um, no. “Old habits die hard” is not an acceptable aphorism when in the company of assassins, y’all. I’m glad Kihrin can take that with aplomb, but that shit would not sit well with me, I can tell you. Frickin’ Teraeth.
Actually, “frickin’ Teraeth” is a pretty accurate summation of this chapter. Everyone accuses Kihrin of being immature in this story, mostly correctly, but Teraeth doesn’t have a leg to stand on, if you ask me. Sure, letting your jealousy goad you into trying to make the object of your desire feel like shit is a time-honored trope, in fiction and in real life, but that doesn’t make you any less of a pissy buttmunch for doing it, Teraeth. Ugh.
Plus, mocking a relationship that Kihrin has just told us was key to his recovery from severe demonic sexual trauma and baiting the closeted bisexual? Not cool, dude. Not cool at all.
And then feeling hurt because Kihrin doesn’t trust you after you taunted him with the image of a girl only a demon and a mimic had known about other than you? Whatever, Teraeth. Get the fuck over yourself. I don’t remember how exactly Teraeth does know about the Jorat girl (anymore than I remember who the Jorat girl turns out to be—is she the one in Demonland? Not sure), and yeah, probably that turns out to have some extenuating circumstances attached to it, but even so, it’s not like anyone reasonable could blame Kihrin for being suspicious as hell about it.
But then, “anyone reasonable” is a set of people which has clearly never contained Teraeth, so. I get that you’re in love with Kihrin, dude, but have some goddamn dignity about it, sheesh. Some compassion wouldn’t hurt either.
Youths, I swear.
And with that, get off my lawn, this post’s over! Come back next week and I’ll tell you more, if I have time to spare from my busy cloud-yelling schedule. Skedaddle!