The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

Rereading The Ruin of Kings: Chapters 62 and 63

CAKE OR DEATH, Tor.com? Cake? Well, we’re OUT of cake! So instead, have a RROK Goddess of Death with your afternoon tea, won’t you? I thought you would!

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 62, “The Gryphon Ring”, and Chapter 63, “Tea with Death.” 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 62: The Gryphon Ring (Talon’s story)

[In which a boy, a thief and an expository interlude walk into a bar, and stop me if you’ve heard this one]

You probably haven’t heard this one, actually. But basically that’s what happens here; it’s mostly setup for what’s going to happen later on. But we do learn about the Gryphon’s Men, which is a thing that is Important.

(Footnotedly, “the Gryphon’s Men” is Thurvishar’s name for them, which I think shows a little lack of imagination, especially considering they supposedly don’t care about gender. Come on, Thurvy, you can do better! How about: Harry Potter and The Order of the Gryphon. The Gryphonites! THE GRYPHONES. No? Nothing? Hello is this thing on)

Also, I would want to be Tauna when I grow up, except that Tauna lives in a hell city that’s about to be torn apart by demons, so on balance I’ll accept my lack of cool in exchange for not having to deal with all of that. Crazy, I know.

Speaking of Thurvishar, is he Sandus’s son, or is that whole story Gadrith aka Dead Man told about Sandus rescuing his to-be-mother from Pedron’s evil demon-summoning clutches all a bunch of hooey? I seem to recall that Gadrith is actually Thurvishar’s father, but maybe he’s only adoptive. Or he’s lying. Or something else I’m totally remembering wrong.

Either way, Kihrin’s not wrong in his comment that Sandus would be very interested indeed in learning about Darzin’s imminent demon-oriented activities, regardless of whose father he is or is not. Unfortunately, as I dimly recall, Sandus’s ability to be interested in anything, including breathing, is due to be cut painfully short real soon now. Oops?

 

Chapter 63: Tea with Death (Kihrin’s story)

[In which EVERYTHING IS EXPLAINED – hahaha, of course it isn’t, you’re so gullible]

But, admittedly, a lot of things are – at least enough that now we’re all confused about a whole different set of things than we were previously.

However! We do know some things now. Is Kihrin a god? Sort of! Is he a reincarnated human who was previously a god? Also sort of! Good, glad we cleared that up.

Non-flippantly, it’s actually a pretty interesting complex of situations, in that (as I understand it), Relos Var offered Thaena and her friends a way to take a level in Deity in order to fight more better against the demons who were kicking their asses, expecting that he would be picked to be one of them. When his brother S’arric, aka Kihrin, was picked instead, Relos got mad jealous, and took revenge by having S’arric be possessed by… something, that started eating the other gods and the powers they represent, more or less literally, including his own self. Nice.

And since Kihrin S’arric was a sun god, this is the book’s fantasy-meets-sci-fi explanation of why this world’s sun is a red giant long before its time. Because it done got et, you see. Which is pretty cool, if you ask me.

What I don’t get, though, is if Relos Var had a way to turn people into gods, why did he have to have permission from “the government” (as Thaena puts it) to be one of them? Why couldn’t he be all, “screw you guys” and do it to himself anyway? I’m sure there’s a perfectly cromulent thaumatological explanation for this, I just don’t know (yet) what it is.

In any case, I’m rather a fan of this whole “created gods” thing as a trope. I feel like it makes more sense to think that it was humans who inflicted sentient control of elemental forces on nature, rather than the other way around, because that’s exactly the kind of bullshit humans with access to more magic than sense would pull. People, man.

Relos Var, though, wins a special prize in the “wow, people are bullshit” stakes, because deliberately sabotaging a possibly-world-destroying demon war because you’re jealous of your little brother is a level of petty to which most of us could scarcely dream to aspire. I mean, damn.

Thaena (who is also Khaemezra, a detail I had totally forgotten) also switches Kihrin’s gaesh bond from the ugly cheap hawk necklace to his priceless star tear necklace he stole about a million years ago, or so it feels, subjectively. She does this maybe because of the reasons she gives Kihrin about it being better protection for him, but mostly (he and we both suspect) because the gods are apparently engaged in a game of prophecy chicken with Relos Var, and if she has to make “And the prince of swords shall keep his soul in the stars” work for them instead of him by forcing it through, she will, by gum. Which is also a fun take on prophecy that I enjoy, being as it were a fairly efficient commentary on the inherent manipulability of the whole prophecy gig in the first place.

Then there’s Thaena’s comment on our possibly-reliable narrator:

“…and you have seen for yourself what Gadrith has twisted his adopted ‘son’ Thurvishar into. He may well be beyond our aid.”

Which puts paid to my earlier confusion about whether Thurvy was really Gadrith’s son or not, but far better is his footnoted comment on her comment:

Let’s just comment that I’m glad I wasn’t written off as unsavable. I found that “may” to be very reassuring.

This is a hilariously blasé reaction to a goddess calling you “twisted”. You have to wonder what Thurvishar’s initial, unedited reaction was to hearing what Thaena and the rest of the gods think of him. Maybe we’ll find out at some point.

Last but most definitely least: the chapter title, “Tea with Death” sounds like a short story I really would love Neil Gaiman to write, if he hasn’t already.


And, yep, that’s what I got today. Good movement! Things be happening! Come back next week for more!

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