The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I usually don't care much for doorstopper fantasies. I've never been fond of books with casts of thousands and point of view characters in the double digits, which the majority of said doorstoppers seem to have. This book is something of an exception to that rule: for most of the story, the focus is on two characters. Kihrin is the nominal hero, the boy raised in a whorehouse who finds out he is rather more than he thought he was, and Talon, the centuries-old, horrifying "mimic," a shapeshifter who eats the brains of her victims and absorbs their memories and DNA so she can take on their appearance.
Their alternating chapters take the form of the record of their individual stories, inputted into a "recording stone," which is written out later for we the readers and bound, complete with (sometimes annoying) footnotes. (Although the footnotes do turn out to be a method of characterization for yet another character, so I suppose they're tolerable.) Kihrin's chapters are told in the first person; Talon's is a third person narrative, allowing for events Kihrin couldn't or didn't witness. The storyline is the typical epic fantasy, spanning thousands of years, involving gods and demons and backstabbing royal families, and culminating in a plot to bring back long-dead gods and take over the world.
Because of the overall mundaneness of the plot and characters, I couldn't get too invested in it. It was well written, and I liked it while I was reading it, but it's not staying with me enough to go on to the next volume. Your mileage may vary, of course, but for me, books like this are so huge and require such an investment of time to read that they need something outstanding to continue with them. This book doesn't have that.
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