In this tepid sequel to The Ruin of Kings, Lyons once again experiments with narrative as demon-cursed Janel Theranon tells her tale to the demigod Kihrin D’mon in a storm shelter, recounting battles with demons, encounters with ancient gods, and a rebellion. There are a handful of familiar characters and a few events that intersect with the first novel, but this is an otherwise parallel adventure that explores a smaller part of the Empire of Quur. Janel and her close friend Brother Qown provide alternating perspectives of their attempt to slay a dragon that was under the control of the wizard Relos Var, and how they led a revolution in the province of Jorat. While previous protagonist Kihrin plays a small part, the focus is on Janel and her close encounters with gods and dragons. Though the complexity of plot and worldbuilding are still present, this second installment tackles smaller problems with far lower stakes, and the climax is less gratifying and coherent. Readers who enjoyed the sweeping epic feel of the first book will find this one disappointing. Agent: Sam Morgan, Foundry Literary + Media. (Oct.)
Simply put: This is top-notch adventure fantasy written for a 21st-century audiencehighly recommended.”Kirkus, starred review for The Name of All Things
“Lyons proves she is worthy of comparison to other masters of epic fantasy.”Booklist, starred review for The Name of All Things
“Lyons is creating a complex and wonderful series that will immerse and delight.”Library Journal on The Name of All Things
Praise for The Ruin of Kings:
“An impressive and highly accomplished debut . . . both an ideal introduction to epic fantasy and a rewarding read for fans of the genre.”The Los Angeles Times
“Ms. Lyons is all set to take her readers on a long journey indeed, unfolding and unfolding like brilliant origami. So far, though, not a hairy chest in sight, nor a languishing maiden. Fantasy has moved on, and is all the better for it.”The Wall Street Journal
"[A] jaw-dropping, action-packed story of betrayal, greed, and grand-scale conspiracy . . . Lyons ties it all together seamlessly to create literary magic. Epic fantasy fans looking for a virtually un-put-down-able read should look no further."Kirkus, starred review
“Tightly plotted . . . will leave epic fantasy fans eager for the second volume.”Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Those who enjoy the works of Brandon Sanderson and George R.R. Martin, with a grand cast of characters and a doublecross in every chapter, will find this on par with their beloved authors. . . . [A] stunning debut.”Library Journal, starred review
“With the scope and sense of fatality of Patrick Rothfuss and the well-choreographed action sense of Brandon Sanderson, Lyons leaps into the big leagues of epic fantasy and sticks the landing.”Booklist, starred review
“I couldn't stop. It's smart, it's innovative, it has absolutely bonkers action, and it has just enough humor to keep it from being too grim. it's irresistible, in other words. So don't resist. Just get ready.”Geekly
“The Ruin of Kings has everything you could want from an fantasy epic: Dragons! Demons! Krakens! Gods! Prophecies! Body-swapping! Ghosts! All of these elements might make it sound like The Ruin of Kings makes for a busy tome, but author Jenn Lyons weaves the tale beautifully, parsing out narrative information at a masterful pace through the story's cleverly structured fram tale.”Den of Geek
"Everything epic fantasy should be: rich, cruel, gorgeous, brilliant, enthralling and deeply, deeply satisfying. I loved it."Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians
“It was one hell of a ride. I gobbled it up and was hungry for more.”Glen Cook, author of The Black Company
“The Ruin of Kings is a fascinating story about a compellingly conflicted young hero in an intriguingly complex world.”L. E. Modesitt, Jr., author of the Recluse series
The second installment in Lyons' Chorus of Dragons saga (The Ruin of Kings, 2019) continues the grand-scale fantasy adventure with a parallel story revolving largely around the demon-tainted noblewoman Janel Theranon, whose heroic exploits helped trigger a revolution.
Trapped together in a storm house as a blizzard rages outside, Theranon and her acolyte guide Qown take turns recounting their epic adventure to Kihrin D'Mon, a reincarnated god and protagonist of the first volume. The story involves their attempt to save a massive city—the magical city of Atrine—from destruction by killing the largest dragon the world has ever known. After witnessing the devastation of a smaller city by blue "witch-smoke," Theranon realizes all the supernatural chaos and prophecies surrounding the awakening of the dragon are part of a much larger conspiracy that has been meticulously plotted out by a mysterious mastermind. Magic and manipulation abound as Theranon and company desperately race to save the day while wizards, demons, gods, and humans do battle. While the pacing of this second installment struggles in spots—due in part to the repetitive nature of the points of view—there are numerous elements worthy of mention. The intricacy of the storyline, the bombshell plot twists toward the end, and the humorous, snark-filled footnotes are high points, as is the author's talent for descriptive prose. So many images are made memorable by excellent description, including the city of Atrine, the subterranean cave systems of Yor, and the metal dragon Morios. "Steel and iron...every metal, a thousand metals, all twisted together in sharp swordlike tangles to form the dragon's body. It resembled a porcupine warped into nightmare, formed by an insane and malevolent god." Also intriguing is the genderfluid culture of Jorat. Theranon, in particular, is a wonderfully complex and endearing character whose gender mutability enriches the narrative tapestry: "I am in fact a female man."
Simply put: This is top-notch adventure fantasy written for a 21st-century audience—highly recommended.
Janel Theranon is a young woman who stands as the powerful Count of Tolamer in the Jorat Dominion, a land where gender is fluid and not determined by sex. Some of her power, however, comes from the demon Xaltorath, who spared and cursed her as a child: Janel battles demons every night. As cities in her land face Hellmarches by demons, with death and destruction in their wake, Janel searches for the truth of her own power in order to save the magical city of Atrine, aided by the help of her friends: a priest healer; a bandit; and some new allies, specifically Kihrin D'Mon. The continued past and present narratives by Janel, Brother Qown, and Kihrin, along with liberal footnotes from witch Serena, keep this prophetic fantasy grounded in the feelings and experiences of the characters. Lyons continues her expansive and diverse worldbuilding in a tale readers will stay up all night to finish. VERDICT The second of Lyons's "Chorus of Dragons" series (after The Ruin of Kings) carries on the epic settings, memorable characters, and broad mythological foundations. Lyons is creating a complex and wonderful series that will immerse and delight.—Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., Northampton