Lady Ruin is a stand-alone novel set in the Eberron setting of Dungeons and Dragons. Tim Waggoner has written a trilogy that is also set in the Eberron universe titled Blade of the Flame (Thieves of Blood, Forge of the Mindslayers, and Sea of Death). He has written a vast amount of other novels. His work includes; a Hyperswarm novel titled Defender, the Godfire series (The Orchard of Dreams and Heart's Wound), the Nekropolis series (Nekropolis, Dead Streets, and Dark War), Last of the Lycans series (Monarch of the Moon), Dying for It, The Harmony of Society, a Dark Ages: Vampire book called Gangrel, Necropolis, an Exalted novel titled A Shadow Over Heaven, Like Death, Darkness Wakes, Pandora Drive, Cross Country, two novels in the Dragonlance: New Adventures series (Temple of the Dragonslayer and Return of the Sorceress), a novel based on Nightmare on Elm Street called Protegé, and a Stargate SG-1 novel titled Valhalla. He has written a vast amount of short stories for various anthologies and magazines, and has two story-collections titled All Too Surreal and Broken Shadows. Lady Ruin was released in December 2010 and was published by Wizards of the Coast LLC.
Lirra Brochann and her family have served the nation of Karrnath during the Last War. When that war ended, her father and uncle were put in charge of a project to create a new kind of weapon by fusing an aberration called a symbiont to a warrior, with the hopes of creating a type of super soldier. However, aside from one case, the trials and experiments have all met with failure. The warlord who is funding the project decides to pull the plug after catching wind that news of their experiments have found other warlords ears.Read more ›
I picked this book up on BN.com for my Nook based on my interest in the Eberron world from Dungeons & Dragons. I really, really wanted to like it, but there really wasn't much to the story. It was a very quick read and it was a "small" story limited to only one main plot, with no real subplots. The cast was very limited, the action was limited...it made me think of a movie with a very limited budget that kept it from doing very much more than a couple of locations and a few characters. I was also a bit confused at it being an Eberron novel. It could have been set in any fantasy world out there with little to no change. A bit generic for my taste, which was a bummer for as interesting a world as Eberron is.
The writing was ok, but not overly exciting. Very competent, middle of the road story and characters. If you can get it cheap, it's worth reading. Otherwise, I'd borrow it from a friend.
Waggoner tries to make "Lady Ruin" rise above the genre, but the finished product was astoundingly average. The Eberron setting with the chaotic symbiotes, warforged, and shape-shifters felt unique at first, but the formula managed to pound the newness out by the end of the novel. None of the characters were likable, and I found myself not particularly caring if their repressive militant society fell to extra-planar chaos. If you want to read about the Eberron setting, this book does that. If you want a good fantasy story, look elsewhere, this is formula.
Formula? Dungeons and dragon adventure: perspective characters (PC's) are conducting an experiment. It goes wrong. Evil energies (technically Xoriat chaos) infect characters and they seek doomsday. One embraces the same power, but manages to resist and avert the catastrophe. The end.
The main character Lirra gets a tentacle whip, and she loses fine impulse control. Lirra is gritty, a real soldier. She's not funny, and no particular quirk or ability makes her stand out as a character, except for that tentacle whip. It isn't enough. I had a hard time liking her, I never made an emotional connection. It's hard to like the main character when she's constantly suppressing urges to murder every living thing around her, not always successfully.
'OK' genre fantasy. That tentacle whip wasn't cool enough to make me like the novel. Waggoner needed more emotional family relationships, additional backstory, and Lirra's 'trial' period needed something so the reader could actually relate to her. Giving the whip it's own unique voice might have been a good start; instead the whip is an uninteresting reflection of Lirra's darker impulses in italics.
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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A stand alone story that is very confined to a single event. Would have liked to know more background on the characters and why it was necessary to try this experiment in the first place. What was the prior relationship between Eberron and Xoriat? Is there a history here? It was an easy read and would have liked to see a bit of a different ending that might suggest a sequel story.