Bonjour, mes amies de Tor! Êtes-vous prêt pour les démons, les dragons, et beaucoup de blasphemes? Oui? Oui! Je vous adore.
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 81, “The Borderlands”, and Chapter 82 “A Meeting of Wizards”. 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 81: The Borderlands
[In which a boy slays a dragon, but does not save the girl. OR DOES HE]
ROK’s version of Hell is effectively Do Not Want:
The grim, dark forest gave no shelter or warmth. The woods were freezing cold and murky, covered with a perpetual layer of ice and swampy muck from the unending drizzle of sleet. The ice shattered beneath his steps, sucking him down into the sticky mud, leaving an obvious track for any who would follow him. The winds howled, tearing at the branches of willows and yews which clutched at his clothing and hair with homicidal intent. The roots of trees, tangled poisoned black lotus and deadly herbs, tripped at him—while thorns and bramble formed unassailable walls to block his flight.
I remember being surprised when I found out that the lowest circle of Hell in Dante’s Inferno was frozen (seemed pretty contradictory with its own title, if you asked Young Me), but it makes more sense to me now. As does this variation: if there’s a more reliable recipe for unending misery than being cold, wet, gross, and hunted, without even being able to remember why it’s happening, I don’t want to know about it.
The hunting demons that chase Presumably-Kihrin (it is Kihrin, of course, but this chapter doesn’t confirm that) to the dragon cesspool is your basic nod to the Wild Hunt, of course. No afterlife is complete without one!
As for what actually happens, at this point it’s pretty unclear. We still don’t know who Elana is, really, or why she’s a demon (or at least demon-adjacent) now. And we can presume that Presumably-Kihrin’s defeat of the dragon with Actual Sunlight™ means that he has regained some (all?) of his phenomenal cosmic sun god powers along with his memories, but the chapter pretty much leaves us on a cliffhanger at that point, so there’s not much else to say here.
Except that dragon-slaying with sunlight thing = pretty cool.
Chapter 82: A Meeting with Wizards
[In which Xaltorath demons, Tyentso cusses, and Sandus makes a huge mistake.]
Wizards’ duels, man. There’s always a loophole. As Sandus should have known.
Granted, I didn’t realize just how big Sandus’s mistake was—or even what it was—until Tyentso obliquely reminded us later in the chapter just whose shiny body-swap-happy necklace Gadrith had been wearing when Sandus struck him down.
So, that’s not good. Bye, Sandus! We hardly knew ye. (We really didn’t. I’m admittedly not sure where it would have fit in, but I kind of think we could have done with a little more screen time/character development for Sandus. But he’s super dead now so I guess it doesn’t matter.)
So now Gadrith not only has a non-corpse-like body at his disposal, he has Sandus’s semi-phenomenal regionally-cosmic (maybe just galactic?) powers as well. Double-plus ungood.
Meanwhile Tyentso, Teraeth, Therin, and General Miiligreest are having the world’s grimmest reunion in the local death cult church, and it looks like the general’s son Jarith is dead. Again? I thought he died earlier. Maybe I’m remembering that wrong. Maybe I was just convinced he was going to die because he was a nice guy and therefore automatically doomed.
Well, either way I was right. Being nice doesn’t get you far in a lot of universes, but especially not in this one.
I did have to LOL that Thurvishar decided to edit Tyentso’s cursing diatribe down to merely a phrase that included the words “goat-raping”. Well, what can you expect, she lived with sailors for X number of years, it had to have rubbed off. I would rather love the ability to creatively and extemporaneously cuss a blue streak, but I always end up thinking up the best profanities long afterward. L’esprit d’escalier d’impiété, if you will.
And because nobody ever learns nothin’, Tyentso is off to try to kill her now-Emperor-body-wearing ex-asshole-husband. We can do nothing but solemnly wish her the best of fortune on such a noble quest.
And that’s what I got for now, so come back next week to see who kills who! Yay!