Kingdom of Ruins: The book that made me realize I want a grumpy traveler of my very own…

Kingdom of Ruins by D.C. Marino

Rating: 4.5/5

Release Date: July 26th, 2018

FYI: I received a copy of this eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Synopsis from Goodreads.com:

“In the Lands Within, history does not rest. Each archaeological layer communicates with the living generation, choosing its friends and enemies—and its kings. But an alliance has been struck no one could have anticipated, and an ancient evil is soaking into the soil. History is being erased, purchased and re-written at a terrible price. And a kingdom that shouldn’t have been forgotten is fading from memory.

In the Lands Without, archaeologist Lori Brickland has found a pottery shard with a heartbeat. The pulse might be a trick of the mind, or it might be the first sign of life in a world of ruin. An exiled traveler will say she shouldn’t search for the truth, a calculating ruler will say she’s the one he’s looking for. And the kingdom? The kingdom will need her before the end. It’s time to accept what she’s always known…

This isn’t archaeology.

This is war.”

Have you ever read a synopsis and immediately thought “I MUST HAVE THIS BOOK IN MY EYES NOW!”? Because that was my exact reaction when I read the synopsis for Kingdom of Ruins by D.C. Marino. Archaeological adventures in a world where the very ground communicates with the people of the land? Exiled travelers and calculating kings? Sign me the heck up!

And this book did not disappoint. We meet Lori Brickland when she is ready to walk away from her archaeological career due to the onset of atephobia (fear of ruins, which I didn’t not know was a thing and had to google when I read it), but through some meddling by her grandfather, she ends up following a particularly stern traveler through a rip in reality and into the Lands Within. I won’t go into the particulars of what follows Lori’s world jumping because I don’t want to spoil the adventure, but I will say that I enjoyed this book from start to finish.

The characters were all well developed and I could grasp their personalities pretty quickly. I understood their motives and could see how they got to where they were for this story and where they were going. I have a three-way tie for my favorite characters: Lori, who deals with her atephobia head on and also does whatever the heck she wants (Thane: “Lori, don’t do the thing.” Lori: *does the thing*). Meridian, who has a violin, is delightfully aware of who she is as a person, and has THE BEST expressions (I nearly died when she used the world “buckets” as an exclamation…I use that expression all the time and I’ve never heard of anyone else doing that). And then there is Thane, my grumpy, leather bound traveler with a mysterious past and just the right amount of sarcasm. I lived for the exchanges between Lori and Thane (*heart eyes forever*).

The world building was thorough without overdoing it. I got a clear image in my head for each location that Lori traveled to and that is a huge thing for me. I have to be able to create the world in my mind from the bones the writer leaves behind. The descriptions were absolutely divine and every once in a while, I would just stop to reread a sentence and savor it. The way the ruins and nature were described in the same way that a living creature would be gave the story a layer dark whimsy that I loved. There were a few instances where dialogue was written into the paragraphs of exposition, which robbed the reader of the breaks that a dialogue exchange can bring, but that was really my only complaint.

The long of the short of it, folks, is that I quite loved this book. I think it is a fun and whimsical adventure story with great characters and I am desperate to read more from this world. It should be said that the book has a complete ending but it leaves it open for more books (MORE BOOKS NOW PLEASE!). I’ll be writing a more in depth, spoiler-y review on my blog after the book is released and I have my final copy (you best believe I have this beauty on pre-order at B&N).

Tomorrow I’ll be posting a review of the Rule by Ellen Goodlett! Have a grand night, book people!

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