The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

Rereading The Ruin of Kings: Chapters 64 and 65

What is a Caucus race, you ask? No idea. But this is a RROK, I know that for sure!

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 64, “The D’Lorus Fete”, and Chapter 65, “Hangover Cures.” 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 64: The D’Lorus Fete (Talon’s story)

[In which the party don’t start till Thurvy walk in]

…with bloody hands, of course. The symbolism, it is not subtle.

Or so Kihrin is irresistibly being led to believe, anyway. By circumstance or other parties or Thurvishar himself I’m not sure.

I find I’m having a bit of trouble reconciling Thurvishar as a maybe-not-totally-evil-but-definitely-deeply-shady character with his role as our chronicler/quasi-narrator. I’m sure this is not the first time in fiction that such a character should turn out to be the villain or on the side of the bad guys, but I have such strong unconscious expectations that the role of chronicler will be either a neutral or pro-Lightside character that Thurvishar is throwing me all out of whack.

A chronicler should be neutral, dammit. But since we’re dealing here with not just the unreliable narrator trope but layers of unreliable narration piled on top of each other, I guess the idea that the chronicler should be any more reliable than the chronicles he’s chronicling is kind of silly, in the end.

And yes, the word “chronicle” and all its permutations have ceased to make any sense to me as a word now, and probably to you too. You’re welcome!

Talea’s entrance here (she’s Morea’s sister, remember, who Thurvishar bought before Kihrin could a few chapters ago) was weirdly concerning, given that she seems to regard Thurvishar as a source of safety when just about everyone else (including Thurvishar himself) agrees he is scary af. Behold the wonders of Stockholm Syndrome, perhaps? I don’t remember how this plays out.

This is very random, but I kept inexplicably associating the House name “D’Lorus” with Alice in Wonderland, enough that I had to go check and find out what the hell I was thinking of.


Chapter 65: Hangover Cures (Kihrin’s story)

[In which you drink if (a) you were briefly dead for tax reasons and now you aren’t, or (b) your mother is a former elf queen trapped in the gaeshed body of the handmaiden who assassinated her. You know, like always happens.]

Because seriously. Under the circumstances, getting blackout drunk is probably one of the more healthy coping mechanisms Kihrin and Tyentso could have come up with, which just goes to show you.

I was reasonably certain a healthy chunk of MY lower soul was currently living in an imprisoned demon king in the middle of Kharas Gulgoth.

Also, that.

So here’s my question: if Queen Khaeriel was possessing Miya’s body when Kihrin was conceived and born, does that make him Miya’s son, or Khaeriel’s? I mean, logically DNA is going to go with what the actual body is, so biologically he’s probably Miya’s, but if we’re going with the more metaphysical interpretations of souls being the most relevant part of a person, the argument can be made that in this universe at least, Kihrin would be Khaeriel’s. Or maybe he’s both, who knows?

Well, Khaeriel’s got the cooler name, so she’s got my vote, anyway.

I suppose it’s a little shallow of me that when Doc told Kihrin about what happened to his mother(s?), I immediately wondered whether Khaeriel thought Miya’s body was an improvement over her own. Not that it would be any kind of real consolation if it were so, but think of how much worse it would be if you got body-switched and your killer was also super-ugly. Or deficient in some way that your former body wasn’t, like you could eat anything, but your new body is lactose intolerant and prone to acid reflux. That would suck. Not that I speak from experience, there. noooope

Or! What if you ended up in the wrong gender body? I don’t think we’ve seen that in the book thus far, but it’s perfectly possible with the parameters given. Yeesh, talk about body dysmorphia.

It’s a situation which might actually come up in an even more extreme way, considering Gadrith is looking to use the Stone of Shackles to trade up from “reanimated corpse” to “literally anything else, but preferably a young healthy man like Kihrin”. That knocks “body dysmorphia” into a cocked hat, probably.

Though there is the question of how to make someone kill you when they know damn good and well what will happen if they do. I mean, would it fly if Gadrith, for example, tied a dagger to Kihrin’s hand and forced Kihrin to stab him? Can you make someone murder you and have it work?

I feel like that shouldn’t work, though, since we’ve already established that will and intent are involved with the Stone. That’s why Gadrith can’t just take the Stone from Kihrin; it has to be given away freely, according to… er, whoever told Kihrin about that. So if intent matters with giving the stone, I have to assume intent also matters when invoking the stone. If so, Gadrith couldn’t force Kihrin to kill him while wearing the Stone even if he somehow got Kihrin to give it to him, right?

(Eh. He can’t do it physically, maybe, or rather mechanically. But as Tyentso points out, you can do an absolutely appalling amount of things to people short of killing them, and everyone has a breaking point. It’s perfectly possible that someone like Gadrith could torture someone into doing anything he wants them to, up to and including participating in their own very weird form of suicide. Ugh.)

But Kihrin doesn’t care about any of that because he is a naïve idiot, and Has A Plan for getting him off the island. All he has to do is blow it up! What Could Possibly Go Wrong?


Well, I don’t exactly remember, but I’m sure it will be something. Come back next week and find out! Cheers!


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