The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

Rereading The Ruin of Kings: Chapters 79 and 80

Happy new decade, Tor.com! Let’s raise some hell! Literally! Seriously, these people should know better by now. But if they didn’t, we wouldn’t be here!

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 79, “Beginning Demonology”, and Chapter 80 “The Blue Palace”. 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 79: Beginning Demonology

[In which sacrifices are made, and fit gets set to hit the shan.]

First of all, if “Beginning Demonology” had been a course offered at my university I would totally have taken it.

Second and much more relevantly of all, this chapter represents something of a sea change in the narrative (as is fitting for the start of Part II), where the previous 1st person/Talon person point of view structure is abandoned, and we appear to move firmly into 3rd person limited POV, where, I’m pretty sure, we stay for the rest of the book. It’s a little strange to experience, after all this time of being in Kihrin’s head directly.

(I mean, yes, technically “Talon POV” worked out to being 3rd person as well, often as Kihrin in particular, but that was different because Talon is also an unreliable narrator. She may have been faithfully reporting her memories of various people’s thoughts and reactions, but given her basic untrustworthiness it’s not exactly a safe bet.)

Anyway, speaking of Talon being hella shady, it should be noted that probably the most significant thing she did in this chapter (yes, even aside from tentacle production, amazingly) is this:

Talon reached over and tore the necklace of star tears from Kihrin’s neck.

“I’m surprised you didn’t do that weeks ago,” Darzin told her.

“I was hoping you’d let me eat him,” she admitted, then shrugged. “But since that’s not going to happen now, I’ll settle for treasure.” She winked at Kihrin and tucked the necklace away before she followed behind Darzin.

Which means, unbeknownst to Darzin but, er, knownst to both Kihrin and the vigilant reader is that Talon now possesses Kihrin’s gaesh. I’m sure this will not come to have any significance whatsoever in future plotlines.

And then yadda yadda yadda, our protagonist is apparently murdered and all hell, not metaphorically, starts to break loose. But! I feel like that is not the end of Kihrin’s story!

 

Chapter 80: The Blue Palace

[But first, his intrepid posse does some stuff!]

I.e. Sandus goes chasing waterfalls Gadrith, Tyentso semi-rescues what’s left of the D’mons, and Teraeth finally gets to use his degree in Assassinating. Well, sort of.

Because on the one hand: Jeez, finally someone lands a freakin’ hit on Talon! Only took the entire novel, sheesh. But, on the other:

[Thurvishar footnote:] Speculation as to what became of the mimic called Talon has been rampant. To my knowledge this is the last time anyone saw the creature. Teraeth later testified he was too concerned over Kihrin’s fate to take the considerable time necessary to destroy her. And the magical spike that kept her paralyzed would not have led to a permanent end. Since her body was not found later, we must assume she remains at large.

Oh, Teraeth. You fell prey to one of the classic blunders! Which is, never go in against a mind-reading, tentacle-having, shapeshifting, flying purple people-eater and then leave them alive! That’s going to come back and haunt alla y’all. This I Foretell.

But, at least Teraeth has Kihrin’s gaesh now? Yay? Yeah, I’m not sure that’s yay. Yes, he’s in love with Kihrin, but in some ways that makes it worse. Especially since so far it doesn’t look like Kihrin loves him back. Just a leeeetle potential for bad things, there.

I mean, assuming Kihrin gets un-dead at some point. Which, let’s be honest, is a pretty safe assumption even without knowing what’s coming, c’mon.

But not without some complications first, naturally:

“If the demon didn’t get [Kihrin’s] soul—didn’t get his whole, entire soul151— that means the ritual failed, right? The demon isn’t bound?”

Everyone paused.

[Thurvishar footnote:] It was never going to work anyway, you see. That’s the funny thing, isn’t it? Neither Gadrith nor Darzin ever really understood just who Kihrin is. If they had, they’d have never attempted this – because Xaltorath had named a price they could never pay. Kihrin’s soul hasn’t, I suspect, been whole for centuries.

This whole bit is kind of complicated to follow, but what Thurvy is saying is that the ritual doubly wouldn’t have worked, because not only is Kihrin’s soul gaeshed, it’s also split between him and Negative Space Man in the ruined city whose name I can’t recall at the moment. So that leaves Kihrin what, a quarter of a soul? An eighth? I mean, at some point one has to wonder by how much a person’s soul can be whittled down before they become a mindless sack of meat, or whatever happens to soulless folks in this universe.

(Judging by Gadrith, though, the effects are mostly cosmetic? Not sure—his personality defects of Very Evil all seem to have been in place before he became soulless, so it’s hard to judge.)

But in any case, they’re gonna try and put Kihrin’s soul back in his body with the gaeshed sliver they’ve got, because what could possibly go wrong?

“This contains all we have left of his soul. Will it be enough?”

The priest shook his head as he examined the necklace. “It would take a miracle.”

Shoutout to The Princess Bride? Well, I’m taking it as one even if it isn’t, because: LOL.


And that’s the story for the norry, glory! Sorry for the delayed return, but I’ll almost certainly be back next week for more! See you then!

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