Review: City of Ruin

This post will include my review of the book City of Ruin by Mark Charan Newton. The second book in the Legends of the Red Sun series, released in June 2011.

The text below is taken from the blurb on the back of the book.

In the frozen north of a far-flung world lies Villiren, a city plagued by violent gangs and monstrous human/animal hybrids, stalked by a serial killer, and targeted by an otherworldly army. Brynd Lathraea has brought his elite Night Guard to help Villiren build a fighting force against the invaders. But success will mean dealing with the half-vampyre leader of the savage Bloods gang. Meanwhile, reptilian rumel investigator Rumex Jeryd has come seeking refuge from Villjamur’s vindictive emperor—only to find a city riddled with intolerance between species, indifference to a murderer’s reign of terror, and the powerful influence of criminals. As the enemy prepares to strike, and Villiren’s defenders turn on each other, three refugees—deposed empress Jamur Rika, her sister Eir, and the scholar Randur Estevu—approach the city. And with them they bring a last, desperate hope for survival . . . and a shocking revelation that will change everything.

Anyone who has seen my Goodreads page might have noticed that this book has been sitting in my “Currently Reading” list for over a year. The truth is I bought it ages ago, started page one, then got distracted reading other things. I was able to get back to it a couple of weeks ago and I am now kicking myself that I didn’t finish it sooner.

Put simply it is a really good read.

The world that Mark has created is really unique in its mix of magic and technology (or more correctly technology interpreted as magic), and the races that inhabit it are different from the typical fantasy fare. It is set in a frozen city on the edge of the world facing the threat of attack from a brutal yet mysterious enemy and is populated by gritty characters with their own demons and their own agenda.

There are several storylines interwoven, the war, a murder mystery, and the exile/escape of the former ruler of the Empire that come together to set the series up for an exciting continuance in book three. There’s something for everyone in this book and lovers of (I hesitate to say) dark fantasy should find plenty of enjoyment in these pages.

My advice to anyone reading the series is not to get too attached to the characters because not all of them make it.

One benefit of waiting this long to finally read this is that I am now able to jump straight into books 3 and four of the series and will endeavour to do just that.


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