City of Ruin is the second in the four book tetralogy (spelt correctly this time) that are the Legends of the Red Sun. The books follow on from each other, but can be read as standalone novels. As per my other review I have made it clear I am completely hooked on this series. This book is set in the city of Villiren, a similar city to Villjamur, the city from the first and third books, but this book is more at the edge of the empire than the heart, and it’s a bit more of a border town feel, where the laws appear weaker and the villains / cultists a lot more visible. The setting is the same, the archipelago is mired in the onset of an ice age, and everyone is fighting hard to keep hold of what little they have.
The blurb on the cover:-
Villiren: a city of sin that is being torn apart from the inside. Hybrid creatures shamble through shadows and barely human gangs fight turf wars for control of the streets.
Amidst this chaos, Commander Brynd Lathraea, commander of the Night Guard, must plan the defence of Villiren against a race that has broken through from some other realm and already slaughtered hundreds of thousands of the Empire’s people.
When a Night Guard soldier goes missing, Brynd requests help from the recently arrived Inquisitor Jeryd. He discovers this is not the only disappearance the streets of Villiren. It seems that a serial killer of the most horrific kind is on the loose, taking hundreds of people from their own homes. A killer that cannot possibly be human.
The entire population of Villiren must unite to face an impossible surge of violent and unnatural enemies or the city will fall. But how can anyone save a city that is already a ruin?
There are a few of the characters from the first book in the series. Nights of Villjamur: Inspector Jeryd a inspector (don’t let you put the fact that he’s a big lizard put you off), Brynd, a gay albino soldier who is head of the Night Guard and the exiled Empress and her sister, who we catch up with as they crawl through the countryside. Everything that you need to know about these you learn early on, so you don’t have to spend a lot of the story catching up. You hit the ground running and learn what back story you need about these characters throughout the book.
We meet the cast of this novel as they are preparing to hold off an invasion from the Okun, an alien force that has invaded their planet. The Night Guard - consisting of 20 of the best soldiers that the Empire has to offer - has to organise the Cities leaders and rabble to somehow become one cohesive force to hold off this invasion. Will they succeed or die an inglorious death doing their duty? It’s time for the gloves to come off and they will enlist the help of anyone, or anything, that can walk or crawl.
Whilst this is happening the inspector is investigating a bizarre series of missing people that turns out to be rather dark and grizzly. We also have a vampiric gang leader and his cohorts out to take over the city, not caring who the hell gets in their way. There is so much that I want to tell you about this book, but frankly anything else I tell you about their investigation will be a spoiler. There are a few very, very scary characters in this book. By the way, if you are scared of spiders good luck!! The invasion when it comes is quick and brutal; Brynd will do anything to save Villiren. It’s shocking the lengths he will go to, but he does everything that he can to save those that he can.
I am hooked on this series. Each book is very different from each other but still great books in their own way. The first book is a slightly more traditional fantasy book, this, the second book has elements of a detective novel and a horror novel, never mind the big battle to save the city itself. The third book is a superhero story. I cannot wait to see what the fourth and final book in the series is like. I have no idea how the story is going to end... Maybe the planets going to be torn to shreds and eaten by a big space whale... Ok, sorry I’m getting a bit carried away there.
So, how do you classify this book? Weird fantasy? New weird fantasy? Slightly scary horror fantasy?... I’m not really sure; I just know that it’s a really great addictive read. Some of the characters you will love, others you will hate. But either way you will not want to put down the book until you find out what happen to them all. You might even find yourself wanting some of them to die, and creating emotions like that makes it such a good read; it’s not just yet another fantasy book: it’s one that makes you think and you may even shed a tear for the most evil person when you get to know them a bit more. It’s fantasy at its best, it’s like watching a very good movie, as soon as you finish you want to watch it again.
Review by Stephanie Gelder
9.6/10 from 1 reviews
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