Happy mid-December, Tor.com! Sick of Christmas yet? Well, then, come on down here, where there are demons and zombies and betrayals and not one single iota of holiday cheer! Hurray!
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 76, “Betrayal”, and Chapter 77, “Gadrith’s Way.” 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 76: Betrayal (Talon’s story)
[In which it all falls down. Poor Kihrin.]
“You wouldn’t…” Kihrin said.
Thurvishar raised an eyebrow. “Truly?”
Kihrin stared at him, his expression obstinate. “Why do you want [the tsali stone] so badly?”
“Because you have no idea what you wear around your neck,” Thurvishar said. His voice was sad.
[Thurvishar’s footnote:] Of course, I was sad. This was starting to seem like a scheme that might work.
The trick to understanding any scene with Thurvishar actually in it, I think, is to remember that whatever he’s trying to do is not what he wants to do, but what his leash-holder Gadrith wants to do—which seems to be the exact opposite of what Thurvishar wants to do, understandably. Hence his disappointment that his scheme to coerce Kihrin into giving up the tsali stone was actually working.
Well, it was working until Talon showed up to drug, kill, and/or enslave everyone, anyway, because Talon is the actual worst.
[Thurvishar footnote:] [re: Kihrin’s disappearance] Talon apparently failed to find any answers—and what she told Darzin to excuse her failure here was equally misleading. I think I can say with some conviction, however, that the Gryphon’s Men now count a mimic amongst their members. I am unsure whether that is a good thing, or horrifying beyond belief.
Whatever, I don’t care if she’s working toward some greater good (and the jury is still definitely out on that conclusion), or even that she “saved” Kihrin from the clutches of Gadrith-via-Thurvishar here, she is awful and she sucks. SCHOOL /= SLAVERY, TALON. There’s a difference between tempering a person and just traumatizing them, ffs. I strongly disagree with all her command decisions, and also would like her to die, pls, kthxbi.
I wonder when exactly Talon killed Talea and took her place? Sometime after her former Alshena cover was “murdered”, of course, but it took place off screen so I’m not sure. I also wonder what the hell her larger scheme is, but I know we don’t find that out in this book, so I’ll have to settle for just hating her a really really lot.
Chapter 77: Gadrith’s Way (Kihrin’s story)
[In which Kihrin loses.]
And Gadrith wins, at least for the moment, and in the most reprehensible way possible. It’s amazing, the douchosity level one can achieve by just deciding people’s lives have no value except in what they can get you.
Tishar’s death was pretty sad in particular, since she was apparently the sole member of the D’mon household who was a genuinely nice person with no agenda to push or vices to feed. Innocents don’t do well in this world, that’s for sure.
It’s sort of sad (though at least realistic) how utterly outmatched Kihrin is by Gadrith—to say nothing of Gadrith plus Thurvishar. Basically this chapter was like watching someone swat a fly with a sledgehammer, and it was pretty unpleasant. As it was meant to be, of course. Something tells me that Kihrin has a few more levels in Badass to take before this is anything like an even fight.
Sadly, by contrast, the sweet boy Galen we left in the last flashback chapter has taken a couple of levels in Doucheass in the intervening years, judging by his admittedly very brief interaction with Kihrin before the killin’ gets started. This is no doubt as a result of being forced to be in proximity to Mr. OG Douchecanoe himself, Dear Daddy Darzin, for all these years, but it’s still sad to see. However, if I remember correctly this is about to become an extremely moot point in any case—unless I’m right that there’s some Thaena-related resurrections in some of the D’mons’ futures. Which I may not be. But I hope I am!
Undead soldiers, still wearing the livery of the house, stood watch along the walls and all their unliving attention focused on their prisoners.
Also, apparently zombies are a thing? They might have been a thing before; let’s be honest, with all the gods and demons and dragons cluttering up the landscape I may have just missed them previously.
Other interesting tidbits: Thurvishar’s “witch-gift”, or particular trick he learned early that almost every music-user has, is apparently something like being able to know other people’s secrets. It’s probably more specific than that, but clearly we’re not going to learn in what way it’s more specific until later. But it’s interesting to contemplate, since there’s no logical way Thurvishar could know that Kihrin loved Miya enough for her to be an effective hostage. Telepathy, maybe? Who knows.
But the upshot was, Kihrin gave up the Stone of Shackles to save her. Which we all know—which even Kihrin knows—was a foolish bargain at best, arguably a criminally stupid one. Logically the death of one person can’t come close to outweighing what Gadrith is going to do with that stone now that he has it, but logic, as usual, had nothing to do with it.
And that’s the end of my story.
I lost. You all won.
And we all know what happens next.
Well, we don’t, actually. I don’t, anyway, even though I’ve read this before, because sieve-like memory is sieve-like, except I remember that it’s going to involve a trip to Hell, yay! Just what we all wanted!
And on that note, we out! There will definitely be a post next week, but after that I’m not sure, I’ll keep you posted. Until then, ciao!