No matter whether your watch has a minute hand, a millennium hand or an eon hand, Tor.com, it’s still time: RROK time! Yay!
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 58, “The Price of Freedom”, and Chapter 59, “Kharas Gulgoth.” 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 58: The Price of Freedom (Talon’s story)
[In which Kihrin steals some thieves. For thievery. Of stuff.]
Potential stuff, anyway. None of which I remember if anything ever came of it, except that Star the Joratese horse thief is a character that has More Significant To The Plot Than He Seems written all over him, so probably something will.
Maybe not for Merit, though, who unlike Star, has Third Goon From The Left written all over him, and is the vaguely evil version of a redshirt. I don’t recall precisely what comes of his errand to steal Surdyeh’s crap for Kihrin, but I feel pretty comfortable in assuming that whatever it is, he is unlikely to survive it. (And Kihrin’s remark to Talon at the start of the next chapter more or less confirms that, so ha.)
Which is fine, because he is also almost definitely going to try to betray Kihrin in some way anyway (is this how Kihrin ends up sold into slavery, maybe?), and we do not like people who screw over Kihrin, no we do not. Which is a shame, really, because it means that we have to dislike an awful lot of the characters in this book. In fact, depending on how you define “betrayal”, you could argue that that set includes literally every other character, at one point or another. Cheery!
Still, though, as usual I enjoy seeing Kihrin from an outside perspective, even when that perspective is from a guy like Merit. What can I say, outside POV is one of my not-so-secret narrative kinks, it just does it for me. mrow.
(LOL, what am I even talking about sometimes)
Chapter 59: Kharas Golgoth (Kihrin’s story)
[In which Tyentso and Kihrin definitely took a wrong turn at Albuquerque, and we meet at least two Big Bads. Or one and a half Big Bads. Something like that.]
So the rule is, anytime you see a fictional place whose name is any variation whatsoever on Golgotha, you can be sure that that is a bad bad place to be.
Also, any group of things/people/beings whose name contains the syllable “mor”? Also bad news. Though admittedly in this case, I had some trouble divesting myself from the connotation that “morgage” was something you owe a bank.
(ooh, Divesting myself, I’m sooooo clever, y’all)
Anyway, Lyons’ version of this place and those people being Bad did not disappoint, certainly.
I shuddered and was sick again, sick until I dry heaved. Logically, I had no idea who Vol Kalroth or Kharas Golgoth were. Although as the son of a minstrel, you’d think I’d be slightly more familiar with stories concerning the destruction of an entire race. Yet it didn’t matter: I knew this place. I knew that creature. I knew him in my soul.
Bad, and also confusing, because I know that later on we get the significance of the Mural of Eight or Maybe Nine People Stabbing Star Man to Make Negative Man explained to us, and even at this point it’s pretty obvious that Star Man = Kihrin and Negative Man is the Hyde to his Jekyll, but the details escape me. Except I remember that the Eight and/or Nine Stabbers are the gods, though whether they were already gods when they did the stabbing or became so afterwards, I’m less clear on.
But we do get a name for Negative Man, at least: Vol Kalroth. Which is good because my name for him is more likely to invoke They Might Be Giants earworms than terror. “Vol”, also a very bad syllable to have in a name, as Harry Potter taught us. (Also, I know I sound mocking about the name thing but I actually quite enjoy it. Etymological nameplay is a timeless trope in sf for a reason.)
Also, Kihrin finds out, almost in passing, that Tyentso was married to Gadrith the Twisted, and thereby gains a big chunk of the reasons why Tyentso has baggage. Ugh.
And then, morgage stabbage, ow, and then: Relos Var. Who, despite not having any of the obvious Bad Syllables, is nonetheless about the last person we wanted Kihrin to meet. The shitteth mayhap hath just hitteth the faneth, boyeth and girleth.
And what happens next? I don’t remember! And I won’t be finding out next week either, because Labor Day, and also moving. So come back in two weeks to find out what I eventually found out! Cheers!