The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

Rereading The Ruin of Kings: Chapters 70 and 71

Look, we all go way back, and I owe you from the thing with the guy in the place, and I’ll never forget it, Tor.com. In gratitude, I will help you rob a casino offer you this RROK post! Don’t say I never did nothin’ for ya!

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 70, “The Raven Returns”, and Chapter 71, “The Trip Home.” 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 70: The Raven Returns (Talon’s story)

[In which there are reunions, one more pleasant than the other.]

Honestly, at this point I’ve forgotten what exactly Kihrin did to Faris to make him want to kill Kihrin so much, but it’s not like it really matters. Lethal rivalries within a criminal organization aren’t exactly shocking developments, after all. A million mob movies can’t be wrong!

Kihrin really was being exceptionally stupid here, though. I keep forgetting that he’s only a dumbass fifteen-year-old, and I don’t know why, because he’s constantly doing things that make me want to smack him upside the head and send him to bed without supper. Like sneaking off with his brother in the middle of Pickpocket Central while wearing clothes that scream “I’m an idiot noble, please rob me!”, for example. Sheesh.

But more importantly, Ola’s back! …Yay?

Not really. I don’t remember the exact upshot of this scheme for Kihrin and Galen and (I’m assuming) Miya to escape with Ola to Places Not Quur, but I feel like I’m on very safe ground in predicting it’s not going to go well, if it even happens at all. What I also don’t remember is whether Ola is on the up-and-up here and just gets screwed, or if she’s going to betray Kihrin like just about every other damn character in this book.

I guess, just for fun, that I will assume she is on the up-and-up until I’m (probably) proved wrong. Innocent until proven guilty is the responsible way, right? Riiight.

 

Chapter 71: The Trip Home (Kihrin’s story)

[In which Kihrin comes home, more or less.]

“Why do you hate Quur so much?” In all the years I’d known him, [Teraeth’s] hatred for my homeland had never wavered, not once. Ola hadn’t shared the smallest portion of his animosity, and she had been an actual slave in Quur.

Teraeth scoffed. “Because I’m capable of observation? Ask the Marakori how much they like being under the Quuran thumb. Ask the Yorans. Ask any slave. The corpse looks whole and healthy on the surface, but scratch past that and it’s nothing but rot and worms.”

I sort of have to agree with Teraeth here over Kihrin, who spends the first bit of this chapter reflecting that he’d actually been homesick for Quur. This is a little inexplicable to me, considering what his life in Quur had been. I mean, I think most people are a little irrational about devotion to their hometowns (I certainly am about New Orleans even when I’m vociferously complaining about it), but then most people weren’t tortured by a sadist and sold into slavery in their hometowns, either. (At least I hope they weren’t.)

Sadly, though, as usual Kihrin is forced to have a very different perspective on what he gets to be nostalgic about, so I suppose I should cut him some slack. You take what you can get, after all.

Master Mivoli raised his head and scanned the crew and passengers until he stopped dead at me. He swallowed.

I smiled, but he couldn’t see it, since my face was covered by a mask.

“Witchhunter Piety?”

Honestly, I’m not even sure why he felt he had to ask. Nerves, probably. My identity was not in question. I wore the black colors of House D’Lorus, including a deep hood and, in case there was any doubt, the carved wooden skull mask of the professional witchhunter. A thin gauze cloth covered the eyeholes, making it impossible to see what color my eyes might be. The rest of the outfit fell into the established theme: the coat of talismans, so covered with octagon-shaped coins they took on the look (and role) of scale armor; the belt of daggers made from different metals and alloys.

Apparently witchhunters are Very Scary People. So much so, that it’s sort of disappointing that Kihrin literally only uses the costume long enough to disembark from the ship before discarding it. I get that he would rather have active magic to use rather than an only-partly-effective defenses against it, but it still seems kind of a shame to waste a disguise that seems guaranteed to keep people from looking too closely at what you’re doing. C’mon, that’s a conspirator’s wet dream!

Oh well. I would say that Kihrin et al know better than me what will work, but given their track record thus far I’m not quite prepared to give them that much credit. I have no idea how this goes in detail, but I know it doesn’t go anything like Kihrin, Tyentso and Teraeth want it to. Not that it ever would have, of course, but you know what I mean. Ocean’s Eleven these kids are not.


But finding out whether I’m right is for next time, kids! Have a lovely November day, stay warm, and come back next week for more!

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