When I was a kid, I had my own imaginary Kingdom, where battles decided who would be king and if his army might find the secrets hidden within. The garden sported potholes in many places as I dug tirelessly to excavate the Kingdom’s precious artefacts. The trouble usually started when I trudged the mud indoors, and the queen of the house despaired at my discoveries. I loved the worm which turned into a snake-like sword – I’m not sure the worm took kindly to my imagination.
Discarding the dirty treasures, I decided to opt for more personal items. A train ticket, a ribbon, a colourful pencil, you get the drift. These I stored in a cardboard box and labelled “Private, keep out Margaret’s precious hoard. Anyone caught stealing will be executed!” Even though I collected everyday objects to me the items were otherworldly, they could turn into whatever I wanted.
I read somewhere that this type of imagination is called “thinking outside the box.” Well, Kingdom of Ruins by D.C. Marino is a prime example of this form of vivid of creativity.
Check out my review below and read why this book deserves to be on your TBR list, that is if you enjoy the world of fantasy. And don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY.
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My Penny’s Worth
Having read D.C. Marino’s Points Worth – A Kingdom of Ruins Novelette the prequel to Kingdom of Ruins, I knew the story would be refreshing in its originality. The saga is built up carefully like an archaeological dig, with each piece meticulously brushed to its original form so that the reader can see its exquisite outline. The cracks of old age crafted by words to complete the ornate discovery.
Each find tells a broader tale and points to clues that later reveal the missing pieces in the jigsaw.
Trees that talk?
Talk about turning things upside down, with trees communicating, soil passing messages and all contributing to a cacophony of sounds. Everything in nature appears animated as the Kingdom prepares for war.
I love the fact that the main character Lori, an archaeologist has a phobia of ruins. Such a handicap tickled my odd sense of humour.
A reader’s delight, well at least for me!
There are some writing gems such as “His team had uncovered an Anglo-Saxon church in Yorkshire. Its muddy walls were half-exposed and gulped the fresh air. After eleven hundred years they were raised. She pressed her ears to one of the crumbled walls to see if she could hear a heartbeat. She blew on it because maybe it needed to remember how to breathe.” I wanted to hear the wall breathe too.
What I loved
I love the way Lori talks to inanimate objects; this is so me! “She (Lori) could feel their silent judgement, (in this case she is looking at two black banners heralding her Grandfather’s exhibition), so she asked them, very politely, to please shut up.” The book is full of these conversations, exchanges that bring to life, life that does not exist in such objects. However, they do “Once the glass was removed, Lori picked up the potsherd. It slipped into her palm, blood-warm and with a pulse. No. She curled her fingers around the potsherd. No, I don’t feel a pulse. But there it was: a rapid thump-thump against her fingertips, the heartbeat of someone nervous or scared.” What wonderful writing. Again this book like Points Worth had me hooked.
A Kingdom of hidden secrets
If I said this book is about something hidden from the past that needs restoring in the present, to protect an unsuspecting community who knows nothing of their history, then the seed is only just being planted in your mind. This is the kernel of the story. A fantastic web of threads weaving in and out, drawing you in and refusing to let go until you reach the final page. But hang it all you might not like fantasy, if not think of classics like Lord of the Rings or Narnia. Did you enjoy them? If so take a peek at this novel.
What would I award it?
4.5 stars because I have to wait for the next book!!
Thank you D.C. for writing a cracker of a novel.
*I received this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.*
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About the Book
Title: Kingdom of Ruins
Author: D.C. Marino
Release Date: July 27, 2018
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.
About the Author
D.C. Marino is a dedicated reader of history books and fantasy novels, both of which occupy an equal amount of space on her bookshelves. But it wasn’t until she realized how one breathed life into the other that she became addicted to finding the intersections of the real world and the fairy story. Still more: what those intersections about us as a creative, curious people. Kingdom of Ruins is her debut novel.
Guest Post from D.C. Marino
I’m so excited to share Kingdom of Ruins with you! This story has been on my heart and mind for over ten years now, so this feels a bit surreal. I’d love to tell you a bit about why I wrote this book. But in order to do that, I need to tell you why I almost didn’t.
Fantasy. It isn’t real. Why should I spend time writing a story that doesn’t grapple with the actual issues of the day? Why not speak plainly, instead of inventing another world to explore the real one? These were the questions I asked myself every night before I fell asleep. I adored fiction that transported me to factual events or introduced me to historical figures, but every time I picked up a pen, the fantastical wiggled out of it.
I was afraid I was writing the wrong story.
This story oddly (or not so oddly) enough began with Lori, an atephobic archaeologist. Meaning she had a passion for archaeology, but a phobic fear of ruins. Why would she shrink back from the work she loved? Because no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t make whole the broken. Life ends in dust, and that’s all there is to it. I felt the same way. Not only was I writing something I wasn’t sure would be relevant, but could it mend anything? Make a difference? Or was it futile, like trying to resurrect the past?
What I found was exactly what Lori begins to find in Kingdom of Ruins. That even though things seem unfixable, it isn’t the end. The world Lori enters is full of darkness and peril, but it also holds a chance for her to heal from more than just her fear. While I wrote, and especially as I neared the last chapter, I realized she and I had both overcome a great challenge. Of course, I won’t tell you her conclusion, but I will tell you mine:
I wrote the right story.
I hope you enjoy every bit of the journey as I did, dear reader.
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