I recieved a copy of this book by Orbit books in exchange for an honest review. Ruination has the makings of an epic tragety with mystery and non-stop fight scenes. At the same time, it reads like an opening prologue to a much bigger series on the horizon. This is probably the most complex feeling I have ever had finishing a book, so lets get into it.
Kalista is a knight of Camavor and has vowed to the now dead king to protect her uncle Viego from all enemies even if that enemy is Viego himself. Viego has ascended the throne of Camavor after the death of his older brother and is now out for military campaigns and destruction. During a victory dinner, an assassin secretly enters the hall trying to destroy Viego put is quickly killed by Kalista but not before the queen Isolde is struck by the poison dagger. Viego seems to go mad with grief, anger, and pain as no healer nor potion can cure his beloved wife. Viego doesn’t sleep or eat anymore but reads the old histories looking for an answer. He finds an entry regarding the Blessed lands of Helia where a cure can be found. The Blessed Isles are just a myth but Kalista agrees to go anyway hoping to save Viego from himself.
Erlok resides on the Blessed Isle’s themselves as a Warden of the Threshold in the catacombs beneath the city. Everyday Erlok takes his oil lamb and keys inspecting the hallways and making sure the archives are not touched. Long has he been waiting for his opportunity of vengeance against the masters who put him in this miserable position. Erlok soon discovers a secret door that may provide him with the very answers he seeks. His revenge might be coming sooner than he thought but he will need the assitance of a powerful mage to get what he wants. Thats when strange ships are seen on the horizon and the tables are starting to turn.
There are more POV’s in this story but this is the basic set up for the plot. The writting is fast paced and any reader who decides to pick up this book will have no problem adjusting to the style. Although not a grimdark novel, there are some dark scenes in Ruination so be forewarned. My main issue with Ruination is not so much the plot nor the characters but how the book was constructed especially towards to end. The way the story flowed didn’t really make sense to me and it felt like upon finishing the novel that this was just one very long prologue. In addition, the epilogue takes place thirty years after the completion of the novel which tells me that we will be getting a new set of characters for the sequel. I have nothing against this type of storytelling but I was not expecting it to say the least.
Ruination is a very enjoyable first novel for Anthony Reynolds and many fantasy fans will enjoy it. I probably will pick up the sequel novel when published and I hope that I will enjoy it more than I did Ruination.