Rating : 9/10
You are a testament to the power of belief. To what can be achieved through combining belief with will.
This book (and the series so far) made me feel so many emotions. Mostly anxiety to be honest, raw, constant and terrible anxiety! Reading is supposed to be relaxing, no? Well no, reading is supposed to make us dream, make us question and want to see, to know, to learn and more importantly to feel more than what reality can provide ! Well, John Gwynne delivered, once again!
To go straight to the point, this book, and the series as a whole are definitely for you, if :
⚔⚔ you seek larger than life duel and battle scenes in your Fantasy,
⚞⚟ you look for ever expanding worldbuilding (without too detailed or unnecessary descriptions),
☠☠ you’re not afraid of extremely realistic and gory scenes,
♡♡ you’re looking for strong emotions ! This book is in turns thrilling, epic, stressful, heart-wrenching and heart-warming ! I cried a lot (especially while taking the metro, people must have taken me for a lunatic) and I laughed too (Gwynne managed to include some humorous relief! Which was much appreciated! And here I am, thanking my torturer for a few moments to catch my breath…),
I think you’re worth dying for.
♘♞ you love to read about strong and unbreakable human-animal links!
♀♂ you need to read about compelling, flawed, well fleshed out, ever-growing and unique characters ! Whether they are good or evil or hovering in between, all the characters will have their moments in the spotlight. You will either love them and fear for them as if they where family, or you will hate them with a passion and wish to be transported to the Banished Lands to put a sword through their hearts ! Either way, you won’t be neutral !
‘He’s the best of us. […] Honest, brave, fair. Loyal. I’d follow him into any fight.’
☯☯ you love to read about the Good vs. Evil trope. In Ruin, the theme of “things done for the greater good” is continued to be explored, twisted and used to serve personal ambitions, to justify wrong choices or misguided notions of honor and greatness. This is a theme that really appeal to me and I really wasn’t disappointed as it is masterfully developed in this series!
If I had to complain about something though, I would say that the pacing was less even than in Valour. There were lulls and lengthy parts in the middle of Ruin, that could have ruined (yep, pun intended) my enjoyment of the book if not for all the exciting fights and unexpected twists and surprises and multitude of climaxes in the story. The lack of detailed dialogues in some chapters was a bit disappointing too. The interactions between the characters manifested more in their actions and in observing those surrounding them, than in their dialogues and I would have loved more verbal exchanges (as in Malice where the relationships and dialogues between the characters were one of the strongest assets of the book).
“Family. Friendship. Loyalty. These things have been my guiding stars, my light in these dark times.”
If you’re a Fantasy lover, you’re in for an epic, emotional and gripping treat !
Review by Haïfa.
Read in March, 2017.