Hello, everyone! Today I’m reviewing a popular recent release, Fall of Ruin and Wrath by Jennifer L. Armentrout. This was the first book I’ve read by this author, and I was interested to see what all the hype is about.
SHE LIVES BY HER INTUITION. HE FEEDS ON HER PLEASURE.
Long ago, the world was destroyed by gods. Only nine cities were spared. Separated by vast wilderness teeming with monsters and unimaginable dangers, each city is now ruled by a guardian―royalty who feed on mortal pleasure.
Born with an intuition that never fails, Calista knows her talents are of great value to the power-hungry of the world, so she lives hidden as a courtesan of the Baron of Archwood. In exchange for his protection, she grants him information.
When her intuition leads her to save a traveling prince in dire trouble, the voice inside her blazes with warning―and promise. Today he’ll bring her joy. One day he’ll be her doom.
When the Baron takes an interest in the traveling prince and the prince takes an interest in Calista, she becomes the prince’s temporary companion. But the city simmers with rebellion, and with knights and monsters at her city gates and a hungry prince in her bed, intuition may not be enough to keep her safe.
Calista must follow her intuition to safety or follow her heart to her downfall.
Did Fall of Ruin and Wrath live up to the hype for me? Unfortunately, no. Do I think some others will love it? Of course! There were plenty of things I liked about the book. They were just largely overshadowed by some things I couldn’t look past. I’m going to try to lay out what I consider to be this book’s pros and cons so that others can make an informed decision about whether this book might be for them.
Let’s start with what I consider one of the story’s biggest weaknesses, it’s plot. There wasn’t much of one outside of the blooming relationship between the main characters. The pace was quite slow, especially in the middle, and there were large swaths of the book where nothing happened beyond the characters moving from room to room in the manor engaging in conversation and/or sex. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing on its own, but we’re told of rebellions, monsters, and other exciting things happening all around. The characters and their relationship barely interacted with any of it. Then when they finally did, the book ended.
This leads into the other problem I had with Fall of Ruin and Wrath. The world-building was very underdeveloped. Despite showcasing fascinating powers and cool monsters, very little time was spent exploring them or explaining how it all fit into a larger picture of the world. I also walked away from this book with only a bare bones understanding of the political structure of its world, even though the class system and ruling parties were key to the story and character dynamics. That being said, the little information provided has really piqued my interest, and I’m hoping the society, its factions, and its various magical beings will be explored in more depth in future books.
Fall of Ruin and Wrath did a good job of utilizing common romantasy tropes to set up an enthralling dynamic between the main characters. I always enjoy the combination of headstrong girl down on her luck doing whatever is necessary to keep those she loves safe and brooding princeling whose armor she cracks. I don’t know that I’d go so far as to call whatever they developed a romantic relationship, though. The connection seemed largely physical and driven primarily by lust rather than emotional connection. The steamy scenes were hot, explicit, and very abundant, as the characters had trouble keeping their hands off each other. lol. So, if that’s what you’re looking for, you most likely won’t be disappointed.
I also appreciated the themes in Fall of Ruin and Wrath. The magical powers provided the perfect conduit for commentary on consent, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the author tackle the topic head on throughout the story. The stark contrast between the background of the main character and the other characters from the ruling classes provided a unique look at classism in this world and also highlighted the ill effects of living in poverty. I hope that this theme gets explored even more in future books as we learn more about the societal structure in greater detail.
Overall, Fall of Ruin and Wrath was a mixed bag. The plot, pacing, and world-building didn’t meet my expectations. However, I did really enjoy the dynamic between the main characters and the themes explored in the story. If you are looking for a book focused on the growing lust between two characters set within some fantasy trappings, Fall of Ruin and Wrath will probably be a great read. With all this in mind, I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.
Have you read Fall of Ruin and Wrath? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! If you’d like to read a review from someone who loved this book, check out this review from Celeste @ A Literary Escape.