- The Name of All Things (A Chorus of Dragons #2).
- Jenn Lyons.
- 592 pages.
- Epic Fantasy.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
You can have everything you want if you sacrifice everything you believe.
Kihrin D’Mon is a wanted man.
Since he destroyed the Stone of Shackles and set demons free across Quur, he has been on the run from the wrath of an entire empire. His attempt to escape brings him into the path of Janel Theranon, a mysterious Joratese woman who claims to know Kihrin.
Janel’s plea for help pits Kihrin against all manner of dangers: a secret rebellion, a dragon capable of destroying an entire city, and Kihrin’s old enemy, the wizard Relos Var.
Janel believes that Relos Var possesses one of the most powerful artifacts in the world–the Cornerstone called the Name of All Things. And if Janel is right, then there may be nothing in the world that can stop Relos Var from getting what he wants.
And what he wants is Kihrin D’Mon.
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The Name of All things is the second book in the A Chorus of Dragons series following on from the first book, The Ruin of Kings. The Name of All Things features a new main character in Janel Theranon and runs parallel to that of Kihrin’s story in The Ruin of Kings apart from the final part of the book which moves the present storyline forward.
The Name of All Things starts two days after the climactic ending of The Ruin of Kings. After destroying the Cornerstone, the Stone of Shackles and unwittingly releasing demons across the Empire of Quur Kihrin has escaped to Jorat where a stranger, Janel Theranon and her acquaintance Brother Qown are inexplicably waiting for him at a tavern. Janel needs Kihrin to help her kill a dragon before it destroys Atrine, the capital city of Jorat. Janel has her own story that is full of adventure and exploits to tell. With a storm raging outside, trapped in the tavern until it passes both Janel and Brother Qown recount everything that has led to the present and their meeting with Kihrin.
Brother Qown narrates in the third-person reading from his own written journal and Janel in the first-person, from her memory as they share the telling of the story and trade storytelling duties back and forth. Just like in The Ruin of Kings there is also a chronicler who has transcribed the whole story and who has added their own footnotes throughout. For The Name of All Things, the chronicling duties are undertaken by a different chronicler to The Ruin of Kings and they raise the snark bar to a whole new level of snarky awesomeness with their droll, sarcastic and wry footnotes.
At the beginning of each chapter, the story reverts back to the tavern. The interludes are entertaining and act as stop-gaps, breaks and breathing room for the main story to settle. They give the characters a chance to add context, digest and discuss what they have just heard and learnt.
The Name of All Things is told in a very similar way to how the story was told in The Ruin of Kings. But, at the same time, it is also more straightforward, which I mention for those that found the first book hard to follow. The Ruin of Kings wasn’t told in a linear fashion, it jumped around a lot and could be confusing to keep track of events and timelines. This time, in The Name of All Things the story is told chronologically making it more accessible to read and far easier to follow.
Through tragic events, experiences and hardship we get to see Janel grow as what she endures changes and shapes her. She is a terrific and fully-fleshed main character, fearless, flawed, headstrong, stubborn, strong and tormented. There are plenty of other well-drawn and individual characters (Dorna, Ninavis, Qown and Arasgon) that have roles to play in the story too.
By setting the story in different locations to The Ruin of Kings and by featuring a (mostly) different set of characters (some familiar faces from The Ruin of Kings do pop up during Janel’s story and for the finale too) it really aids in expanding the world. There is a depth to the world-building and every aspect of Lyons creation is complex and elaborately stitched together. It is a cruel world, hard, harsh and savage. A world that is sharpened like a blade and that will cut you if you let it. It is a world that is steeped in history, a rich and bloody history that has continued to echo through the ages with reverberations that are still felt in the present. The history, the lore, the mythology, the politics, the different cultures (the Joratese and Yoran are both fascinating) and religions are singular, all highly impressive. But, put all together, they are all pieces of a puzzle that fit perfectly and form an exquisitely constructed and intricately detailed world that feels real and that comes alive on the pages.
Throughout Janel’s story, there are occasional references to Kihrin’s own story. The slight overlapping of events serves to add depth, an extra layer and give a slightly fuller picture to the whole story. Allowing you to glimpse the impact that certain events that took place in The Ruin of Kings had at the exact moment that they happened in a different location.
The story is complex but never overly complicated to follow including plenty of action, politics, rebellion, prophecies and some twists along the way. There are demons, dragons, bigger metal dragons, firebloods (fanged, intelligent, resilient and loyal talking huge animals that are descended from horses), gates/portals, gods and goddesses, magic, magical artefacts, vampires, wizards and witches.
The writing is detailed, descriptive and easily evokes vivid images of the various locations visited during the story. The dialogue between the characters is absolutely superb including emotion, dry humour, barbs being traded and it is lively with feeling. It is only a little thing, inconsequential to the story but under each chapter heading is a subtitle, a droll sentence referencing events from The Ruin of Kings. Those subtitles never failed to make me smirk and just go to show the extra thought that Lyons has put into her work.
For those expecting The Name of All Things to be a direct continuation of Kihrin’s story. Well, you will need to alter your expectations or be left disappointed. Janel is the main focus in The Name of All Things and, for the most part, Kihrin only has a minor role to play, appearing in the tavern interludes and acting as a listener to Janel and Qown. It is only in the final part where the current story moves forward that Kihrin has a larger role. I have to admit that I did wonder if I would enjoy The Name of All Things and reading about a new character (she does briefly appear in The Ruin of Kings) in Janel. Or, would I be left yearning to carry on with Kihrin’s story? Honestly, within a few pages of starting The Name of All Things, I was hooked and I didn’t want to put the book down. I loved The Ruin of Kings, it was a tremendous debut and start to the A Chorus of Dragons series. But, The Name of All Things raises the bar and from start to finish, it is an exceptional read. For me, it is better than The Ruin of Kings and builds to an edge-of-your-seat and thrilling climax that leaves some tantalising threads dangling and I didn’t want it to end, next book, please!
Simply, the Name of All Things puts the EPIC in epic fantasy.
Purchase The Name of All Things (A Chorus of Dragons #2).
Follow The Tattooed Book Geek: