Book Review

Ruination: A League Of Legends Novel

Ruination: A League of Legends Novel

  • Author: Anthony Reynolds
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Publication Date: September 6, 2022
  • Publisher: Orbit

Thank you to Orbit Books for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

CONTENT WARNING: blood, gore, violence, murder

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Camavor is a brutal land with a bloody legacy. Where the empire’s knights go, slaughter follows.

Kalista seeks to change that. When her young and narcissistic uncle, Viego, becomes king, she vows to temper his destructive instincts, as his loyal confidant, advisor, and military general. But her plans are thwarted when an assassin’s poisoned blade strikes Viego’s wife, Isolde, afflicting her with a malady for which there is no cure.

As Isolde’s condition worsens, Viego descends into madness and grief, threatening to drag Camavor down with him. Kalista makes a desperate gambit to save the kingdom: She searches for the long-lost Blessed Isles, rumored to hold the queen’s salvation if only Kalista can find them.

But corruption grows in the Blessed Isles’ capital, where a vengeful warden seeks to ensnare Kalista in his cruel machinations. She will be forced to choose between her loyalty to Viego and doing what she knows is right—for even in the face of utter darkness, one noble act can shine a light that saves the world.

Ruination is an epic tale of magic, revenge, and an empire on the verge of ruin.

When I was offered the opportunity to read this novel, I was initially reluctant, since it’s promoted as a League of Legends novel, and I have no idea what that is. I’m not a gamer at all, and was worried that I’d be lost without having any knowledge of the world it is set in. But I’m so glad that I decided to give it a shot, and fellow non-gamers, have no fear! You don’t need to know anything about the game to be able to follow along in this story.

The first few chapters set the tone—we’re given background about the setting, the major players in the book, and what is going on in the world in which the story takes place, while avoiding any info dumps. I never felt lost or confused or overwhelmed with the information that’s presented, and got accustomed to the characters really quickly.

The story and the characters pulled me in very quickly. It’s got almost a Game of Thrones kind of feel to it, but without the rape and misogyny—this is a world that easily incorporates feminism. Our POV character is a woman who acts as both an advisor to her uncle, the king, but also as a leader of the army of Camavor, and is highly respected by basically everyone. She moves easily in both high society and amongst her soldiers, while acknowledging her privilege and not looking down on them. She treats everyone as an equal and earns respect by offering respect to others, which earned her major points. Not only that, but she’s tough as nails. She’s a warrior to the bone, and clearly earned her position as general not because of her position as a princess, but because of her skills, which are highlighted during the battle scenes.

The battle scenes are absolutely amazing. Although the book starts right at the tail end of a battle, there’s more throughout the book. Not only does it showcase Kalista’s prowess, but it also shows off Reynold’s ability to write an incredible scene, to the point where I can accurately visualize it in my head, blow-by-blow, as if I’m watching it in slow-motion on television, or right in front of me. On top of that, there’s an emotional component to them, where I’m invested in the outcome, but can see how the characters feel about the impending battle and what’s going on in their heads both before and during the battle:

“Bravery, she knew, was not the absence of fear; it was doing what needed to be done, despite being afraid.”

This is one of the few epic fantasy books that I’ve read lately that don’t get lost in a romance. It focuses on what is happening within the kingdom, the crafty maneuvering of various characters, and their aspirations towards power or whatever goals they have. We have a mad king, a general-advisor doing whatever she can to keep her kingdom from falling apart, others who are trying to achieve their own ends, and corruption in the Blessed Isles, led by a man who has been denied what he feels is owed to him. 

There’s an amazing magic system, tons of action, and so many plot twists that I never saw coming. Reynolds has an incredible way of writing depictions that make it easy to visualize without ever seeming overly wordy or flowery, and I couldn’t put this book down. The writing flows smoothly and the story pulled me in and didn’t let me go until the end, although the ending was a bit more open-ended than I would have liked. It almost felt as though the door was left open for this to be a series, yet it doesn’t seem to be as far as I know. This is the kind of story that will stay with me, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more League of Legends novels now.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 14

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