August 17, 2019

Review: The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers.

Never get on the bad side of a paladin, especially when that paladin is Eva Forge, avatar of Morgan. This week, we look at The Horns of Ruin, by Tim Akers out this past November from Pyr Books. Mr. Akers is also the author of the Heart of Veridon out in 2009. The Horns of Ruin gives us a sword and sorcery look at a fantastic world ruled by gods and the warriors that champion them.

The story is told from the point of view of Ms. Forge, who is caught in the thick of things as she must battle those who ousted Morgan and restore his name to prestige. The book has some classic lines in the realm of fantasy, with some equally classic passages and battle scenes… love it! The book opens with a knock down drag out fight at the Library Desolate and barely lets up right until the showdown climax.

Smart and fast paced, The Horns of Ruin by-passes many fantasy pitfalls. Many a fantasy tale falls prey to what we like to call the “D&D Effect”: a plot that occasionally sounds perilously like a Sunday afternoon Dungeons and Dragons session, with one plodding conflict (“So I slayed the ogre with my 14-hit point mace…”) after another. This may work for a high school creative writing class, but tends to drag down a serious fantasy tale. The pluckiness of Eva and the mythology of her world thankfully saves us, the reader, from this fate, as we learn her back story and find ourselves cheering her on in her quest for justice.

As she moves through the realm of the city of Ash, layer upon layer of intrigue unfolds. We learn of the conspiracy by Alexander and the like to overthrow the Cult of Morgan, and the history of Eva stretching back to her life and selection as a young girl to rise as a paladin of Morgan. Could Eva reach eventual goddess-hood herself? Only a sequel to The Horns of Ruin might answer that question…

Needless to say, much like in the epic fantasy piece City Without End that we reviewed a while back, the actual science in The Horns of Ruin is a bit sparse. But hey, the mythology is there in a classic sense of the telling, and Eva knows how to wield a Bully and Revolver (complete with ritual inscription issue rounds!) like no other.  The story also transcends the simple fate of a doomed society by giving hope for it through the cause and single mindedness of one girl. In the end, we cheer on Eva as an army of one, set against the forces of darkness gathering to do in the city of Ash. Hey, we’ve all been there on that lonely walk, right?

Read The Horns of Ruin to get a fantastic look at a world where gods, incantations, and girl paladins rule the day. Fantasy fiction may not always be our shtick here at Astroguyz, but from Lord of the Rings to classic mythological tales such as Chaucer and Beowulf, a good fantasy tale such as the Horns of Ruin lays the ground work and then immerses us in a completely interesting universe.

Next Week: We take a look at a retrospective review of the British science with Seeing Further, edited by Bill Bryson. Til then, the sky is waiting!

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