The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

Rereading The Ruin of Kings: Chapters 40 and 41

Hey, Tor.com, is it weird that I think “abattoir” is a fantastic word? It’s probably weird. Oh, well.

Er… blog post? Blog post!

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 40, “Interlude in an Abattoir”, and Chapter 41, “Refusal.” 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 40: Interlude in an Abattoir (Talon’s story)

[In which villains gonna villain, and Talon out-villains us all.]

So okay, for my own sanity, I’mma do a listicle of what we learned in this chapter:

  • “Alshena” is really Talon in disguise (which I knew but is nice to have confirmed), and Darzin had Talon murder her;
  • Darzin is experimenting with some “formula” in a way that would absolutely not be endorsed by OSHA, the CDC, or the SPCA;
  • The real Alshena made herself look like a floozy just to annoy Darzin, LOL;
  • Darzin is not Kihrin’s father, duh, but claimed him as such to gain access to the Stone of Shackles once he found out (a) Kihrin existed and (b) his real father Therin wasn’t going to claim him;
  • Darzin is not working alone on whatever he’s working on;
  • Talon is a lying liar who lies, lyingly, about topics including but not limited to:
    1. Whether mimics can sense tsali stones
    2. What Ola’s deal was, and how she disappeared
    3. That she killed Surdyeh
    4. That she can totally read Darzin’s mind just as well as anyone else’s
    5. That he is any way in control of their partnership;
  • Darzin and Talon like getting their freak on on top of a freshly murdered corpse, which is not an image I needed ever, thanks.

Which basically tells me that Darzin and Talon are super gross pervs, shocker, and that Darzin is evidently dense enough to believe that Therin’s hidden bastard having the Stone is a complete coincidence, which, okay, sure, buddy.

I do think this is the first time we have confirmation that Talon and Darzin are working together, though it was intimated fairly obviously in earlier chapters. Mainly my impulse here (one which our narrator Thurvishar shares, clearly) is to roll my eyes at how Darzin clearly feels he is the more badass of the two of them, when in reality Talon not only beats him at abject villainy, but in fact isn’t even playing in the same galaxy as he is. It’s like a guy who jogs every other day thinking he could take on Usain Bolt: seriously, dude. No.

This is not to say that Darzin is not an extra-special flavor of fucked-up, because he totally is. It’s just that when your competition is a thousand-year-old nigh-invincible monster assassin that eats brains for jollies, follies and lick-‘em lollies, you should probably just stop embarrassing yourself and admit that you’re outclassed. The problem with guys like Darzin, though, is that that is actually impossible, because he’d have to acknowledge the possibility that that is even a thing that can happen in the first place, and that just ain’t gonna happen.

 

Chapter 41: Refusal (Kihrin’s story)

[In which… well, I’ll just quote it, because:]

Words cannot express how much I loathe you.

Do you honestly expect this charade to continue?

Why should it, Talon? For your amusement? Do you think that after you have tormented me, betrayed me, haunted me at every turn, murdered my friends, orchestrated all of this, that I would want play story time with you?

Take back your damn rock.

I’ve had enough.

That’s it, that’s the chapter. If I were Kihrin I would probably have had one of these too, because seriously.

And we haven’t even learned yet about what (in my opinion) is the worst thing Talon did to Kihrin during their time together. Don’t worry, if you don’t remember I will rant about it APLENTY once we actually get to it.

Also, I missed it before, but Kihrin’s words here “orchestrated all this” is the first real hint that Talon had a much larger role to play in the overall plot than “Most Scary Henchman”, which is what I had been injudiciously assuming was her role thus far. But I didn’t catch this on first read-through; it’s only now, with my (admittedly somewhat vague) knowledge of what Talon reveals to Kihrin later about her essential puppeteer role in the events that transpired, that it jumps out at me. And even if I had noticed, probably at the time I would have assumed Kihrin only meant she orchestrated the specific circumstances that led to his incarceration and imminent execution après Storytime With Rock, not in the overall events of the whole story.

Hindsight, as ever, is twenty-twenty. Or at least readable if I squint hard.


And… yeah. Despite the brevity of the second chapter, I don’t want to break up the Talon-then-Kihrin order of the chapter recaps, so I’m going to stop here. Love, luck, and lollipops, my friends. See you next week!

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