ARC Review – Ruination

Hello, everyone! Today I’m reviewing the first novel set in the world of League of Legends, Ruination by Anthony Reynolds.

The first ever novel set in the blockbuster universe of League of Legends, one of the most popular video games of all time, Ruination is an epic tale of magic, revenge, and an empire on the verge of ruin.

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.

***Thank you to Orbit Books for providing a copy of the book. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***

I was drawn to this book because I immediately fell in love with its cover. That being said, I’d like to start the review by talking about the physical aspects of the hardcover version of the book. In short, it is remarkable. The cover, of both the dust jacket and the book itself, is gorgeous in person, and the artwork on the inside of the dust jacket is beautiful. There is also a great deal of character art at the end of the book, and it looks fantastic, as well. All in all, it is a stunning edition of the book, and I definitely recommend getting your hands on the hardcover if you are trying to decide which format to buy. In my opinion, it is definitely worth the price.

As for the story, I came to it with practically no knowledge about League of Legends. Surprisingly, this wasn’t a problem at all. The writing and world-building are straightforward and easy to follow. The prose was easily accessible, almost a bit too basic at times, but it still managed to keep me engaged and set the tone of the world and characters well. The pace was steady and built to an explosive finale, and I never felt bored, even in the slower moments, because it always seemed like I was learning some new tidbit about the magic or history of the civilizations.

The characters all had clear motivations and interesting arcs. I appreciated the multiple POVs as they provided looks at parts of the kingdoms and history that wouldn’t have been possible with only one point of view. I honestly wish there had been even more of them, maybe from the eyes of Viego or Hecarim. They were both fascinating characters that got relegated to the sidelines, especially in the middle of the book. Kalista’s journey was a fascinating one, though, and it was sad to see her unwavering loyalty be answered time and time again with betrayal and destructive duplicity. The ‘villain’ of the book was probably my least favorite character. His actions and their justifications made sense, but he felt a bit too cartoonishly one-dimensional for me to really relate to him. Ryze, on the other hand, was one of my favorite characters. He was an impetuous youth that learned some really difficult lessons, and I found his character growth to be the most compelling. Another favorite was Vennix. I just loved her sassy attitude and her ability to steal any scene.

In general, I think the major lesson of this book is the danger inherent in selfishness. Every bad thing that happens in this book does so as a result of selfish action. Whether it was lust for power, desire to hoard knowledge, the wish to avoid loss, or hunger for revenge, selfishness was at the heart of all the chaos, devastation, and ruin. Many character moments in this book, especially of Ryze and Viego, reminded me of Anakin from Star Wars. There were even a couple lines that felt like they were pulled directly from those movies, which was a fun thing to come across whether intentional or not. The level of self-destruction in this novel is definitely on par with Anakin’s undoing, and the general lesson was much the same.

Overall, this was an excellent introduction to the world and lore of League of Legends. Whether you are a fan of the game or not, I definitely recommend this book if you enjoy epic fantasy. It was filled with interesting magic, political conspiracies, and fascinating characters while managing to maintain accessibility to readers unfamiliar with this world. I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

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