TRUTH AND COURAGE! I had to shout that to even start writing this review. Oof, my heart. What a wild ride. 4.5 stars from me.
In Ruin, we get to see our characters really solidify in their roles. Nathair has finally accepted that he’s not who he thought he was. Corban is accepting that he’s more than who he ever thought he was. Our Black Sun and our Bright Star. Nathair is determined to be a leader and he will be that for whichever side will have him. He has lied and killed his way to the top. The power behind him is terrifying. Corban truly becomes a man in Ruin. He has experienced heartache and devastation and manages to go on, amassing an army that follows him out of pure respect and love. The pure of heart are in a desperate battle to escape the clutches of Asroth’s servants. They’re deceived, many times over. Our story and the various scattered characters really start to come together in Ruin.
Lemme tell ya, the title is spot on. Major things that we THOUGHT we knew in this book are dismantled. Families are destroyed. Loyalties are broken. Friends are lost. A lot of progress is made, though. Our good guys get a short reprieve from tragedy, finally. Gwynne continues his spectacular writing of characters that keep us engaged. It takes a special talent to keep your audience hanging on while simultaneously kicking the asses of the best characters. He also starts to introduce personal relationships between characters, which proves to be a bright spot between the tragedies.
‘Three reasons. Three people. Jael. Lykos. You.’ He paused and looked up into her eyes. ‘Two for vengeance. One for love.’
Ruin had a lot of really great moments, we see a lot more triumph in this novel. The tone for much of the novel is hopeful even during the tremulous moments. Reversely, the battles are heavier and more descriptive than the past novels. The losses weigh heavier. The ending was the most powerful and earth-shaking thus far. The only reason I knocked off a half a star was for the revelation at the end which I don’t fully understand yet. I don’t get the specifics of why certain people were chosen or affected by this revelation, or how some of the themes conveniently lined up to what was foretold. There’s not much more I can say without spoiling, but what I’ve already emphasized still stands: John Gwynne is a superior voice in the fantasy world.