Cover illustration: Benjamin Carré
CITY OF RUIN
LEGENDS OF THE RED SUN BOOK TWO
MARK CHARAN NEWTON
Publisher: Tor UK
Publishing date: 4 June 2010
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 Viliren 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 Investigator 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?
The second book in a series can be a tricky one, but Newton pulls it of with his effort. We pick up the story a short while after the events of Nights of Villjamur. All the main characters have relocated, and most of them is now to be found in the city of Villiren.
Newton doesn't waste any time here. By the end of the first chapter we are already re-introduced to some of the main characters from book one, and have gotten our first glimpse of their new situation.
Again most of the story is bound to a city, with only the occasional foray to other locations. But although the overall structure of City of Ruin is similar to Nights of Villjamur, this is not in any way a retelling of the story of book one. In fact the differences between the two cities serve to flesh out the world Newton has created, and also gives the reader an appetite for more.
The action is on a much grander scale than in the last book, we get a battle that in some ways reminded me of the real world battle of Stalingrad. Newton handles the battle action very well., and as in real life, you are never quite certain who is going to survive in the end.
There's a second story-thread following other characters from the first book, this is in many ways different from what I expected. This part of the story is pretty weird compared to the other. And I had a bit of trouble getting them to fit together in my mind at first. But as the story progresses Newton manages to make it not only understandable, but important to the overall story.
I had one problem with this book, and that was connected to a death. Newton brings one character I was interested to know more about back from book one only to kill him almost instantly. This felt unnecessary to me, and it annoyed me for quite a while.
In fact it seems like Newton has a predisposition to kill off characters that he has finished with instead of letting them fade away from the story.
This is not a major issue, but just a small annoyance for me personally, that I think not everyone will notice or be affected by.
I'll end this review by saying that I find Newton's ideas and writing engaging and intriguing. City of Ruin got me even more hooked on this world than I was after Nights of Villjamur, and I am certainly looking forward to the next installment: The Book of Transformations.
My review of Nights of Villjamur can be found here.