The Name of All Things is almost here, and we could not be more excited! But to fully appreciate all this truly epic follow-up has to offer, here are the the 10 things you need to remember from the equally excellent–but admittedly convoluted–Ruin of Kings.
Spoilers follow, obviously.
1. This book starts almost as soon as the last book ends, when Khirin D’Mon killed his greatest enemies. These included his father (actually his brother) Darzin, and Gadrith D’Lorus, who was inhabiting the body of the late Emperor Sandus. Kihrin accomplished this by finding and using Urthaenriel, the sword that destroys magic, and destroying the Stone of Shackles that Gadrith was using.
2. The Stone of Shackles, one of eight Cornerstones (stones of immense magical power expressing a certain concept, much like the Infinity Stones), was destroyed in the fight. Previously, the Stone of Shackles allowed the wearer to swap bodies with the person who killed them, resulting in the murderer dying and the would-be victim taking the murderer’s body. Neat trick. The Stone of Shackles also provided the power that enforced all soul bonds—which were used to bind slaves as well as to bind demons.
3. Gadrith served Relos Var, a sorcerer of immense power and deep plots who is also orchestrating evil goings-on in The Name of All Things. In his past life he was known as Rev’arric, brother of S’arric (Kihrin).
4. Past lives are going to be important. Kihrin was previously S’arric, one of the Eight Immortals. Janel was previously Elena Milligreest, former Empress and the woman who freed S’arric’s soul from imprisonment. All the past lives seem to be around the time of the great expansion of Quur, conquest that made it the empire it is today.
5. In this life, Janel and Kihrin met when Kihrin was dead. Real meet-cute. Whenever Janel sleeps, her soul travels to the Afterlife in order to battle demons. Both have spotty recollections of each other, but both also feel a strong connection.
6. Demons are going to be even more central. Particularly Xaltorath, whose appearance early in Kihrin’s story set off this whole chain of events. Demons can be summoned or can possess the bodies of the dead, and with sufficient magic can invite their buddies to join them, setting off a frenzy of murder and torture called a Hellmarch. The emperor of Quur wields the crown and scepter, which have the power to banish demons.
7. Quur is the empire that encompasses many distinct countries/cultures. Quur is also the capital where the first book mainly took place. This book takes place in a different setting, the country/dominion of Jorat.
8. The vané are a bit like elves in their longevity and skill with magic. They come from different territories (Kipris and Manol, most prominently) and do not feature as heavily in this story as in Ruin of Kings.
9. Two of Kihrin’s BFFs do make appearances: Teraeth, a vané assassin and the son of the Goddess of Death, and Thurvishar D’Lorus, formerly enslaved to Gadrith D’Lorus and actually the late emperor Sandus’s son.
10. The Eight Immortals, or the Eight Gods, are playing a long game against demonic forces and Relos Var. Their game has so far produced the dragons, a corrupt empire, and the barely-contained horror that is Vol Karoth. Tya (goddess of magic), Taja (goddess of luck, Kihrin’s patron), Thaena (goddess of death and resurrection), and the others aren’t doing so hot, but at least they seem to be trying.
This is not a complete list of things you need to remember for the entire series—there are plenty more tidbits, details, and hints that I’m sure will find their fruition somewhere further along in this five-book series. But given how amazing The Name of All Things is, you’ll want to jump right in, so hopefully this will be enough to get you ready to read as soon as possible.