Ruin by John Gwynne – Review

Cover- Ruin

Published: October 13, 2015 (US)

Publisher: Orbit

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 751 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0


The cunning Queen Rhin has conquered the west and High King Nathair has the cauldron, most powerful of the seven treasures. At his back stands the scheming Calidus and a warband of the Kadoshim, dread demons of the Otherworld. They plan to bring Asroth and his host of the Fallen into the world of flesh, but to do so they need the seven treasures. Nathair has been deceived but now he knows the truth. He has choices to make, choices that will determine the fate of the Banished Lands.

Elsewhere the flame of resistance is growing – Queen Edana finds allies in the swamps of Ardan. Maquin is loose in Tenebral, hunted by Lykos and his corsairs. Here he will witness the birth of a rebellion in Nathair’s own realm.

Corban has been swept along by the tide of war. He has suffered, lost loved ones, sought only safety from the darkness. But he will run no more. He has seen the face of evil and he has set his will to fight it. The question is, how?

With a disparate band gathered about him – his family, friends, giants, fanatical warriors, an angel and a talking crow he begins the journey to Drassil, the fabled fortress hidden deep in the heart of Forn Forest. For in Drassil lies the spear of Skald, one of the seven treasures, and here it is prophesied that the Bright Star will stand against the Black Sun.

After much anticipation, I finally got my hands on a copy of Ruin by John Gwynne. I’ve been waiting to get it since it released in October, but October was a busy book month and I had to make my choices. I was initially drawn to the series because the covers and font were awesome, so I picked up the first book and never looked back. There is a depth and complexity to the series that rivals Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, with good and bad being relative terms and a massive amount of politics and violence for good measure.

I find that these books are best read in close sequence to one another because there are so many characters to keep track of. If you wait a few months (or more) in between like I do it will take awhile to remember who’s who and what was going on during the previous book. I get drawn back in after about a hundred pages and can’t put it down after. The story switches perspectives every chapter, which keeps you from getting burned out on a single character and leaves you wanting more. This constant change of view also keeps the story moving all across the continent, switching sides from good to evil and back again IF those terms even really apply to individuals being manipulated by otherworldly beings.

Speaking of the characters, each and every one gets fleshed out so much more after each book and in Ruin the characters are beginning to converge with one another. This is making for epic battles, betrayal, and so much WOW that I can hardly stand it! The Old Wolf, Maquin is becoming one of my all time favorites, though at times I just had to shake my head at his decisions because he gets himself in the worst situations and it makes me cringe. Corban of course had a great narrative throughout and the ending chapters left me stunned and I even cried a bit. And then babbled to my poor, unsuspecting mother about what just happened, but we won’t go there. Ruin had some of the best twists that I’ve come across in ages – like I said, I was stunned and just couldn’t believe the words before my eyes.

The Faithful and the Fallen series is fantastic, definitely deserving of the time spent reading these enormous novels. Each novel has gotten better and better, which is a sign of a great writer (and planner) in my opinion, as many series fail to impress or get progressively worse with each installment. The cover art alone is worth appreciation – no real flashy artwork, but the font is gorgeous and there’s a surprising amount of detail put into the faint images in the background. I’d love to know the reasoning behind each of the titles because it’s not obvious in the books, though you could certainly find plenty of examples where the words would apply. Check it out and share the book love and let me know your thoughts!


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