Realm of Ruins by Hanna West
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Summary from GoodReads:
Valory’s power is different . . . it’s dangerous, unruly, and destructive. But can she channel it to crush a cunning enemy and save the realm from chaos?
Welcome to Nissera, land of three kingdoms and home to spectacular magic.
A century after her legendary ancestors overcame a bloodthirsty tyrant, seventeen-year-old Valory Braiosa attends a training academy for elicromancers, immortal beings with magical gifts. Yet Valory’s immense power seems impossible to tame, and she faces imprisonment by the Nisseran authorities. Then a forbidden resurrection spell awakens a long-dormant evil, and Valory may be the only one who can vanquish this terrifying villain. Together with a band of allies—including an old friend; a haughty princess; and a mysterious, handsome stranger—Valory must learn to harness her power and fight back.
First off, my compliments to the cover! Wow! It is amazing and it compliments the first book, Kingdom of Ash and Briar so nicely!
This is definitely a companion novel to the first book. It takes place a thousand years after the events in the first book. So you don’t necessarily have to have read the first one to enjoy this one. Although it would be helpful if you did. This world has a very complex magical system, and it is not well explained in this book. Even though I did read the first book, it was long enough ago that I struggled a bit with how the system worked. But it was still a great story.
Unfortunately, the pacing of this book was like the first, a bit slow. All the characters were great and interesting, and there is a very nice romance, and the story is great, it just moves along at a very leisurely pace. There was no urgency to what was happening except for when they were fighting for their survival.
I really liked Valory. She had a very hard childhood, believing she had no magic, then suddenly because she tries to save her friend’s life she becomes the most powerful in the land. She really struggles with her new powers and what it will ultimately mean. She has a destiny to fulfill, but she often feels like she is just not up for the job.
Mercer Fye was an enigma. I was never sure if he could be totally trusted and neither did Valory. But he proved to be more trustworthy than the other men in her life. Their romance was certainly a slow one, but that was mostly due to their running for their lives most of the time. But Mercer does prove himself by the end and is certainly strong enough to be with Valory.
Glisette and Kadri also come along on the journey and both young women prove their worth very quickly, especially Kadri who isn’t even an elicromancer. Neither of them put up with much and take the hardships of a long and dangerous journey in stride.
There are many many characters in this world both good and bad. But not so many that you can’t keep them all straight.
The political backstabbing and betrayals and the domination of the Kingdom by the Moth King are what make this story sing. The ending and the final confrontation between Valory and the King was a tad rushed, but still satisfying. Also the aftermath of the Tyrant’s death was not what I was quite expecting.
And finally just like the first books there are a couple of fairytales woven into the story. They were very much background noise this time though. In the first book I believe the fairy tales were more intertwined with the main story line. Not so much this book, which I kind of missed. But I liked how they were used for important plot points.
I am really hoping that there will be more books set in this world. Even though they are slow reads, they have been thoroughly enjoyable. I think part of the slowness is because it is such a rich world with a lot going on and you need to take your time to absorb it all.
Have read either book? Did you think they were slow, or is it just me? Let me know in the comments.