My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Review: Emperor of Ruin

Emperor of Ruin Emperor of Ruin by Django Wexler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the final book of the Burningblade and Silvereye trilogy that began with Ashes of the Sun. The world building remains an exemplar of the craft that was one of the primary reason for why I loved the first book so much and why I continue to rank the series as a whole so high. The combination of sci-fi and fantasy elements inserted into a dystopian and apocalyptic world was perfectly done and slowly revealed in each installment. The dual magic system of deiat (innate power wielded by The Chosen) and dhaka (learned power wielded by ghouls and dhakim) was a unique take on the concept that was compelling for me. The peoples of the world were well done as well (Chosen, Republic, Independents, Rebels, Ghouls and Plaguespawn) and the interactions realistic and believable. There are a lot of complex ideas and concepts to track, but there is a gloss at the end that helps if you lose the thread.

In this book, we finally get the full story of the fall of the Chosen and the raise of the plaguespawn amid the blasted remains of civilization (again … very well done). From the beginning it hits the floor running picking right up from where the second book left off; unfortunately it starts to drag a bit in the middle as the pieces are all prepped and positioned for the final boss fight (which would have been worse if not for the instant travel permitted by magic gates/portals). I am not a fan of a drawn out finale … so for me the rush to the end was perfect (but admittedly not for everybody) and was pretty much as anticipated well in advance.

Then we get to the characters which I felt were complex and richly developed with the main two (2) being a brother and sister separated at a young age and raised on opposite side of the main conflict and only recently reconciled enough to work together against the greater threat … the Corruptor. The supporting cast was also fun: Kit (Gyre’s wise cracking dead lover, now embodied into a swarm of constructs), Beq (Maya’s alchemist lover), Elariel (an exiled ghoul), Sara (a talented alchemist), Varo Plagueluck (a Republic scout) and Xalen (a socially awkward librarian) that together help keep the whole plot moving just ahead of total failure. For me … the minimal relationship drama and gratuitous violence was perfect for me (rated PG); however, YMMV.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#EmperorOfRuin #BurningbladeAndSilvereye #NetGalley

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.