Kings of Ruin by Sam Cameron
Published by Bold Stoke Books
4 out of 5 stars
Format: ARC/eGalley (Published on 19th March 2013)
I did it again. I went for cover love. I was getting a bit bored with the usual YA paranormal stuff, and wanted some good old fashioned action. I was expecting a book along the lines of Alex Rider or something by Charlie Higson.
Kings of Ruin launches straight in, Kevin’s mum is dead. Danny’s Dad is dead. Both died in car wrecks, but Kevin knows there is more to these wrecks than just your normal mechanical malfunctions. There were Ruin’s behind them, I can’t tell you what ruins are, in case I ruin (ha! ruin!) the story, but safe to say there is more to the story than meets the eye, and when a Ruin King arrives in Danny’s town, the boys meet and work together to put an end to its rule.
The book is a sci-fi romp, its great, classic science fiction – a good, a bad and then a scene that could flip it all around, a what you know might not be all there is to know, type of thing. When I requested Kings I didn’t realize that it was advertised as a LGBT book, in fact it wasn’t until the end when I went to review that I realized it was really being pushed for a specific market. I don’t know why. Yes Kevin and Danny are gay, but their story, the feelings they have are not specific to those who fancy the same sex, they are the usual teen feelings, and handled beautifully. There was not a point in the book where the relationship took over the story, it just was. The same cannot be said for mainstream books where the teenage girl is fawning all over said boy that is dangerous/miserable/both, the fact that the boys are gay is irrelevant, the romance in the story would have been a perfect compliment to the sci-fi regardless of the gender of the two leads. I was really impressed with Cameron’s writing of the boy’s relationship, there was no attempt to shove it in the readers face, or tell the reader that it was ‘ok’ or ‘normal’ for them to feel this way, there was just an expectation that the reader should be as ok with it as they would be with a straight couple – and so they should.
I loved the characters, particularly Danny, a lad that is trying his best to do good, to try and fit it, deny who he is, and do his best for his mom, but that seems to end up in trouble anyway. I was ready to hit his step-dad, particularly after the crash, and felt for his mom, who was stuck between the two of them.
There was one major problem with the book, it was over too quick, there was so much scope for the development of the story, the ruins were not explained brilliantly – perhaps that will come from future books in the series, but even more of a clue as to where they came from (rather than the vague explanation about walls) would have been welcomed. I read the book in a day, it was pretty fast paced and a good fun read, but the depth was missing, I will definitely be reading further books by Cameron, and I’m presuming there will be more in the series, but I’m hoping for a little more from them. But for my first (albeit accidental) into the LGBT (try writing that correctly when your dyslexic, its not easy1) genre, I enjoyed it, although I would stress that although its pinned as LGBT, I’d label it as action/sci-fi, well worth a read whether you are LGBT or not.
ARC/eGalley kindly provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest, fair, review.