‘Fall of Ruin and Wrath’ book review: Jennifer L. Armentrout lays firm foundation for new adult fantasy series

My Fall of Ruin and Wrath review thoughts can be wrapped up in one question: When do we get book two?

I’ve been a huge Jennifer L. Armentrout fan since I first picked up Wait For You… eh, let’s just say a few years ago. I devoured her contemporary romances one after another, including the de Vincent series, which I highly recommend for anyone looking for a contemporary romance with just a hint of spooky. Those books definitely fit the fall-reading vibes. I have also dipped my toes into her fantasy and paranormal series, with the exception being the From Blood and Ash series (I know, I know, I’m disappointed in me, too), but, despite that gross oversight, I am pretty well-versed in her writing.

I’ve read her versions of demons and gargoyles, greek demigods, aliens, and, now, I’m so glad she decided to dip her toes into the wild, wonderful world of Fall of Ruin and Wrath. I absolutely devoured this story. I was taken in from the beginning by Lis as a character, and I challenge anyone reading this story not to fall head over heels for the sarcastic and deliciously sardonic Thorne. But, more than any character or plot point, it’s the quiet and layered world-building that has me aching to read book two.

I guess that’s the most stand out part of Fall of Ruin and Wrath. It’s a quiet type of fantasy, at least so far. This isn’t a book full of battle sequences, ultimatums, and love triangles. Instead, Fall of Ruin and Wrath takes its time, putting details on the page that are DEFINITELY going to matter down the line, but that right now, just feel like more of the detailed and delicate world Jennifer L. Armentrout is building here. After reading this book, I feel like I have a vast knowledge of the inner workings of this world that is absolutely going to inform my reading as the series continues. Learning not only about the political and caste systems in place in this story, but also about the history of this land and the time period this book is set in, you get a really good idea of how this story is built differently than your average fantasy tale.

Fast-paced novels are easy to be sucked into (see my absolute feral love for Fourth Wing), but I am beyond excited to return to the rich, decadent world of Fall of Ruin and Wrath. I really hope Jen Armentrout has plans to get back to this world sooner rather than later. Like, if I can get more of this series in early to mid-2024, that would be amazing. I really don’t know how well I’m going to survive a long wait for the next chapter in this saga.

fall of ruin and wrath book review

Time to dive into some character dynamics, because this is definitely one of the strengths I was most excited to discuss in this Fall of Ruin and Wrath book review.

Lis is a complicated character who has lived a hard life. Her childhood was no picnic, and she is lucky to have picked up a fiercely loyal and dedicated friend in Grady. I really appreciated their relationship in this first book. I like that their history gives them a closeness and a shorthand that neither has been able to develop with anyone else. I am really desperate to see this insanely deep platonic bond continue to hold fast despite whatever Jen has in store for them down the line.

We also meet Thorne, a Hyhborn who takes a liking to Lis after she does him a solid and, you know, saves his life. Watching Thorne and Lis’ relationship develop, her dictating her needs and navigating his limitations when it comes to understanding her mortal concerns and customs, as well as Lis’ struggle to understand how Thorne’s feeding on her pleasure didn’t necessarily have to feel transactional. There is a fine line regarding consent in this relationship that Jennifer L. Armentrout navigates expertly here. I loved seeing Lis make peace with Thorne’s needs, but also be clear about where and when she has to draw lines for herself.

There are so many more relationships in this book than I have time to write about here, but rest assured, each and every one goes a long way to building this incredibly three-dimensional world, full of complicated motivations, idiotic power-hungry fantasies, and a survival caste that will do whatever it takes to hold on to whatever comforts they’ve been lucky enough to gather.

I highly recommend picking up Fall of Ruin and Wrath when it hits stores and e-readers this week. It’s a truly wonderful, stunning fantasy world that I can tell we are just skimming the surface of in book one. I hope Jen Armentrout has a long, complicated, but ultimately wonderful arc planned for this story, because I can’t wait to return to this insanely decadent world.

‘Fall of Ruin and Wrath’ by Jennifer L. Armentrout publishes on September 12, 2023

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