Hi diddly dee, a RROK post for thee!
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 74, “Thefts and Murders”, and Chapter 75, “Confrontations.” 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 74: Thefts and Murders (Talon’s story)
[In which there is, uh, well, a theft, and a murder. Descriptive chapter title is descriptive, if needlessly plural, what can I say?]
So, Sheloran’s role in the book was that she… watched Kihrin watch some people from a balcony? Well, no wonder I didn’t remember her. It’s always nice to find out the thing I’ve forgotten was completely irrelevant anyway.
Caerowan put a knee to the young man’s chest and bent down. “She will be returned to you, Your Majesty. This I swear.”
“You’re crazy,” Kihrin said, as best he could while struggling to draw breath in his lungs.
[Thurvishar’s footnote:] Caerowan would know the correct form of address is ‘Your Highness.’ One may surmise Caerowan didn’t believe Lady Miya’s assurance of Kihrin’s non-involvement in matters of prophecy.
This, as you may or may not recall, is a reference to Kihrin, Miya, and Caerowan’s conversation in the previous flashback chapter, in which Caerowan referred to the prophecies about a person named, among other things, the “Demon King”—prophecies which he clearly thinks refer to Kihrin. It’s kind of oddly irritating that he’s completely correct.
I don’t even remotely remember why Caerowan felt the need to steal Kihrin’s harp Valathea (the “she” referred to above), but since the harp is clearly what tipped Caerowan off that Kihrin is Prophecy Guy in the first place, it’s probably safe to assume that has something to do with it. Look at me, I’m like Hercule Poirot over here.
But more importantly, Galen comes out to Kihrin in this chapter! And Kihrin is adorably supportive of him even while still denying his own bisexuality! Which, perhaps oddly, makes me like him so much more. It’s very easy to be cruel to others about the thing you’re insecure about in yourself, but Kihrin didn’t take that route at all, and I’m very proud of him for it.
As a side note, the amount of diverse representation in this novel in general is lovely.
Also, Alshena is poisoned, and I’m trying to remember whether this is Talon playing possum or the actual corpse of Alshena, produced to be useful now that Talon is moving into the next phase of whatever her Byzantine mastermind scheme thingy is. I think the latter, if for no other reason than that I can’t see Talon being willing to play a corpse for any length of time unless absolutely necessary. And why would it be necessary if you’ve got the original body to fill in for you?
Lastly, Galen and Kihrin make plans to run away and be gay/bi bros somewhere far far away, and boy I wish they had managed it.
Chapter 75: Confrontations (Kihrin’s story)
[In which an emperor, a thief, and a witch walk into a bar…]
And then a whole lot of shit starts to happen.
There’s a pretty evident shift in momentum here. The preceding chapters have mostly been short bits of building the scene and tension, but here it feels like the ball finally has started to roll. In just a few pages we meet the Emperor and get secret Batphones magic communicator rings from him, Kihrin comes home (or maybe “home”), confronts his ridiculously dysfunctional family, baits his father/brother Darzin into (presumably) running to fetch two stupidly powerful wizards to kill him, all before merrily waltzing off to confront a mimic by his damn self.
Which, sheesh, Kihrin. Anyone could have told you that is at least a boss level battle, hubris much? Let’s not be blasé about fighting the nigh-invincible shape-shifting brain-eating supermonster, mmmkay? Don’t you know it’s dangerous to go alone?
Kihrin kind of hilariously bulldozes through a soap opera’s season’s worth of family drama here, while he’s at it. Like, yeah, DAD, I know you’re my dad and not my grandpa, and Darzin’s my brother not my father, and Miya is… still your slave, but ALSO my mom, and Lyrilyn is sort of dead but is also now a brain-snarfling monster, you all suck, peace out, bye Felicia.
Lastly and most irrelevantly:
My hand shook as I picked up one of the rings.
You see, it was set with an intaglio-carved ruby.
Somewhere in here I’ve missed (or forgotten) what the big deal is about “intaglio” rings, and how they are different from tsali stones, though I’m sure they are different. I’m not sure if they are important magically or just symbolically. Maybe both?
Either way, “intaglio” is a very cool made-up word, so I’ll roll with it.
…Of course, seconds after writing that, it occurred to me that maybe it isn’t a made up word, and sure enough, Google allows that I am a dummy, whoops. So it just means a stone carved with a particular insignia, one that evidently all the guys in Sandus’s Sooper Sekrit Magical Friends Club shared, including Kihrin’s foster father Surdyeh and a whole bunch of other suspiciously significant bit players in Kihrin’s life.
The explanation of the significance of which shall have to wait for a bit, my friends! Have a lovely Thanksgiving if that is a give you like to thank, and I’ll see y’all in two weeks with more! Cheers!