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    Epic Fantasy!

    A Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons is book one in her new A Chorus of Dragons series. First, I must advise that the copy I am reviewing is a preview and not the full novel. The story begins with Talon, a shape-shifting, murderous jailer, encouraging the main character, Kihrin, to tell her his story. The point of view then begins to shift between Kihrin’s narrative and Talon’s version of the same narrative. The story also shifts between first and third person. At first the shifting viewpoints were somewhat confusing, but I eventually caught on. The story then shifts from Kihrin’s past to the present. Thus far, Kihrin has lived an adventurous, but somewhat scary life, and the future promises more of the same. The Ruin of Kings is a true fantasy. The author introduces white and black magic, magical and mystical beings and creatures. There are myriad creatures, castes and characters. I liked that Lyons incorporates actual sea creatures interacting with the mystical marine life. The true Ruin of Kings is revealed in the narrative, if you’re paying attention. The rest of the story will undoubtedly be as fantastical as this preview. I rate The Ruin of Kings 4 out of 5 stars. Sadly, the changing viewpoints may be distracting to some readers, but I highly recommend it to those interested in a complex, epic fantasy. My thanks to MacMillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. However, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine and mine alone.
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    A peek just wasn't enough!

    “Tell me a story” You know, I honestly did not know what to expect when I started reading this book but I know I didn’t plan on liking it as much as I did. Multiple POV’s are always a little tricky in that they can sometimes be hard to follow but the way Lyons wrote this, in a dual story-telling format, was so enjoyable. The addition of the first person narrative was, admittedly, a little unexpected given the former third person story-telling but it didn’t bother me. I’m usually not a big fan of timeline-flipping either, but it worked for me here. Originally, I will admit, I was a bit confused but it didn’t take very long to figure it all out and get me hooked on Kihrin’s story. One thing I’m not sure of is the addition of the footnotes at the end of almost every chapter. The problem with footnotes is that in order to properly reference them you need to be able to keep track of where to find what’s being referenced, which is pretty hard to do in a digital copy of a book. The footnotes themselves are very informative and a pretty great way to incorporate world building but I think they are easily forgotten about unless you have a physical, paper copy of the book that you can easily flip back to. After the first few chapters, I had to pretty much stop reading them. The notes themselves were great, but it was just too hard to keep trying to reference back. That’s really not an issue with the book itself, just a note to anyone that will be buying this upon release. Make sure you grab yourself a paperback or hardcover copy. I think these added footnotes deserve to be read in order to properly immerse yourself in this world and a digital copy just won’t do. I wish this wasn’t just a preview but I’m so happy I read it. The Ruin of Kings has mildly been on my radar for a while but it’s also one of those books that hasn’t been overly hyped and I think that’s a mistake. People need to start talking about this book because, if the preview is any indication, this is going to be something that all fantasy readers NEED to get their hands on! I know I’m dying to get the finished copy.
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    A fun and intriguing world

    Disclaimer - I got an eArc from Netgalley, and I have no idea if I actually got the entire book. I did get 21 chapters though, so consider it a review of that, if nothing else. With that in mind - here’s the review. The Ruin of Kings tells the tale of Kihrin, a thief turned slave (upward mobility?) whose life has been no picnic. Left on a garbage heap as a newborn but rescued by a (now) blind musician, he currently lives in a brothel while robbing from the rich to provide a nice retirement for his disapproving adoptive father. However, he has a gift. He can see through the Second Veil, normally a talent restricted to wizards. While he has no magical powers, it makes him a darn good thief, as he can recognise the true signature (not the best description) of objects. This makes him good at what he does, as nothing can be hidden or disguised from his discerning eye. When we meet Kihrin for the first time, he is a prisoner to Talon, a murderous shapeshifter who demands that Kihrin tell his story. This sets up a story told in two parts, the present (or so), told by Kihrin and in the first person, and the past told in third person. This might be jarring for some, but I’m a sucker for differing writing styles, and this is done very well. In addition, there is the novel addition of annotation at the end of each chapter, as if someone is reading and adding some further information to Kihrin’s story - a nice plus, especially for worldbuilding. The world is dark, one of vast cultural and economic divide, rampant slavery and (potentially) evil cults. Magic is alluded to, but not explained in great detail, but I can see that being added later on. There are monsters galore, so familiar and some not so, but there’s never a feeling of “been there, done that.” It’s also very engaging, I blasted through it over the course of a day and a half, although being laid up and off work sure helped. It’s intended to be part of a series/trilogy, so the book doesn’t end on a “The End” note, but rather lays the groundwork for the next in the series, another thing some of you may hate. For me, though, I liked it. It was funny, clever and well-written. Despite the dark setting, there was a touch of YA vibe, but perhaps that had more to do with a teen in the lead. I dare you not to like Kihrin, or his surly father, and root for them through to the end. Everyone else seems to have their own agenda, but the author keeps this well under wraps so we don’t spoil the end of the tale by guessing the ending (something I am wont to do). So a fun and interesting, but not quite perfect 4 out of 5 stars.
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    Only read an excerpt but it was well written

    First of all, I wish this had been the whole story not just an excerpt and I almost didn't read it because it wasn't the complete work. I liked the story and it was very well written. I found the footnotes to be very distracting. It was annoying to have to go back and forth between the story and the footnotes, if I waited until after I read the chapter then the footnotes didn't make sense and I had to go back to the story. That was very annoying. If it's important enough to footnote, include it in the story. I also didn't care for the alternating POV's. I wish the author had just written the story without doing that because it interrupted the flow of the story. I would have read the rest of the story if this had been complete but I will not remember this story when the complete one is released so I will probably not read the second half. I liked the story but I guess I don't really care how it ends. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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