*No spoilers I think*
I mentioned briefly in a few other blogs that I was taking a quick respite from the Broken Earth Trilogy and A Land Fit for Zeroes because I thought it would be beneficial to read something else to kind of spice things up. I choose to tackle the heavily marketed The Ruin of Kings, which was touted as the next great fantasy series, getting wild comparisons from everything to A Song of Ice and Fire (if I have to read or hear one more person say “If you like Game of Thrones you are going to love this” I am going to stab that person/screen I am reading) to The Blade Itself. Hefty comparisons. I personally believe that making comparisons is pointless, everything has it’s own unique flavor and saying something is like another thing creates expectations that will invariably not be met.
So here’s a comparison. The Ruin of Kings is a handful. It has elements of so many very familiar aspects of fantasy. It has a magic system, mystical creatures, battle of the gods, and rebirth soul switching thing that would be right at home in the Malazan world. It has the dual storytelling style of both the child and adult versions of the main character that would make Kvothe smile. It has the slightly unbelievable pull-one-over on you charm that would make Kihrin a welcome edition to the Tannen/Lamora dynamic duo. And yet where all those books seem to find their lane and stick too it, The Ruin of Kings attempts to juggle all of this in 560ish pages.
Certainly ambitious. Does it succeed? Here is where I believe that if you had any expectations going into reading this you would say no. And that would make you dumb. What Jenn Lyons did is make a story that is just fun. I am not going to say it is the most profound thing I have ever read. It’s not the most complicated, the most philosophical, the most whatever the hell you want to call those other series, but rather it is just flat out enjoyable as hell. It is so wildly over the top, so unnecessarily convoluted, so all over the place that if you just are willing to stop trying to compare it to other things, you will find yourself going along for the ride with a smile on your face.
You have read this story before. 10 times, 100 times, everyday of your life. You dream this story, you tell yourself this story to stop yourself from cumming too quickly even though you know that never works for me I mean you. That’s how familiar you are with it.
Lets break it down:
Orphan boy with a rough upbringing finds out he actually is a part of a prominent household and struggles to fit in. But he also has magic. But he is also the center of a prophesy. But he is also a famous wizard/god reborn. But he also has to avenge the deaths of his loved ones. But he also has to save the world. Throw in a dragon or two, a god or 8, a few lovely sexual escapades, an ancient artifact. Even some light incest! This would be the type of book that you would think I would have a fucking field day tearing apart. And if I choose to analyze it maybe I would. But I can’t because while it may seem like a mess, it fucking works.
It might sound crazy but this might be up there on the most enjoyable things I have read this year. It reminds me of The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. The Dark Knight is arguably a better movie in every way, Heath Ledger delivers the performance of a lifetime (literally), the plot is masterfully put together, it is the right amount of serious and action packed. It’s captivating, engrossing, subtly and not subtly dark. And yet, I would watch The Dark Knight Rises over it every time, twice on Sundays. Does that make me a small brain? Sure. The story has a billion holes in it, the bad guy’s motivations make no sense, batman recovers from having his spine snapped with prison workouts. You can’t understand Bane at all. But it just works because it toes the line between serious and ridiculous, creating fun. By the way Bane is one of my favorite villains of all time. Might be one of my favorite people. I don’t have many (real) friends.
So in my opinion, The Ruin of Kings is worth it. If you don’t spend any time trying to figure stuff out you will love it. Also the footnotes every two seconds offering commentary and filling in knowledge gaps was clever and funny as hell. Wow this review fucking slaps mannnnnnn.