City of Ruin
by Mark Charan Newton
Cover Artist: Scott Grimando
Review by Steve Sawicki
Spectra Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345520883
Date: 28 June 2011 List Price $16.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Rumel investigator Rumex Jeryd has fled the city of Villjamur. The new emperor's policies having put him in danger. But he's fled from the frying pan to the fire as the city he has fled to, Villiren, is full of criminals, half human/animal hybrids, a serial killer, and is threatened by an otherworldly army. As Jeryd attempts to make the best of the worst, events continue to move forward. The deposed empress arrives, along with her sister and a scholar. They bring a final hope, for the city and for the realm. But things must align perfectly and in Villiren that's not just rare but darn near impossible.
This is the second book of Newton's series that began with Nights of Villjamur. It continues to follow Rumex Jeryd, a reptillian Rumel investigator who often sticks his nose into places where it does not belong. But it is this very attribute that makes him the successful investigator that he has become.
Newton has created a genuinely unique universe that he then populates with a diverse set of characters that are also unique. Sometimes this leaves the reader in a bit of a confused state, trying to figure out exactly what is going on, but this does not happen often, nor for very long and it is well worth working through these sections because the story is so well done.
I enjoyed the first book in the series and, if anything, the second book is even better. The writing is crisper, the story more complex, the narrative structure tighter. There's a lot going on in this book and it's all interesting. There are sub plots aplenty and quite a few twists to keep thing interesting.
I'm definitely interested in seeing where Newton goes with the series and, at the same time, want to assure you that each of the books can be read independently, which is also saying quite a bit about Newton's talent. Definitely recommended.