Review - Ruin by John Gwynne

Ruin by John Gwynne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think I just read the best fantasy book I’ve ever read.

This series has it all, great characters, immersive world, action scenes to die for (literally sometimes) and some amazing twists and turns in terms of plot.

You know a series does well when you want to go back and reread the rest of the series. It feels a bit like, dare I say, A Song of Ice and Fire in that regard. There are also many “Nooooooooooo!!!!!” moments just like George R.R. Martin’s masterpiece.


There are a large amount of characters to follow and sometimes I did get a bit confused. What really helped me was the list of characters at the start of this book, all of which had a mini-recap of where they are in the story. Super helpful and something I wish every epic fantasy series did.

My favourite character has to be Veradis. I love how Gwynne has created a cast of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ characters but they don’t know which side they find themselves on. We have ‘bad’ guys who think they are the good guys and vice versa. The motivations for both sides come across as relatable as a result.

I loved how the Giants aren’t just scary big monsters out to kill anything they stumble across. There are many clans and characters, all with their own motivations and back story. It makes them more relatable and has to be the best use of giants I’ve seen in fantasy.

Great human and giant characters not enough for you? How about huge wolves, honourable horses and draigs? Also, an angel and demon war for ownership of the seven starstone treasures (one of them is the spear on the front cover)?


I managed to fly through this book quicker than a book this size would normally take. It took me three days (with one day off in between). Gwynne’s writing is the reason why. It’s sharp, concise and keeps it simple enough. Gwynne doesn’t waste a sentence. As a result, soooo much happens in this book.

Gwynne creates depth of character and imagery. Here are just some of my favourite examples:

His voice sounded like gravel sliding over stone

’They call Corban the Seven Disgraces, or something like that…’

The lake was a forest of masts and black sails, a Vin Thalun fleet settled on it like crows upon a field of corpses.

The wise man lives a long life, the fool dies a thousand deaths

I have grown up, learned many lessons. The main lesson I learned is that I think I have many more lessons yet to come.

The chapters get shorter and shorter closer to the end which creates a real sense of pace.

Final thought

I’ve no idea why this isn’t up there with the best-selling fantasy books of recent times. It clearly missed the hype train although it deserves all the hype in the world, ever. The one thing I’ve seen said about the series which might have detracted a little is that this is ‘old-fashioned fantasy’. It’s not. I can’t say anything else without spoiling it. Simply put, if you’re a fantasy fan, you must read this series. I cannot recommend it highly enough and Wrath will be getting devoured post-haste!

Just don’t ask me about that ending, I’m not ready to talk about it yet…





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