• Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

Review: League of Legends’ Ruination novel is a competent fantasy story

ByRandall B. Phelps

Sep 7, 2022

Ruinthe first one League of Legends novel, takes place in the distant past of the setting. The novel tells the story of Camavor, a nation founded on conquest, glory and battle. Kalista, a proud general, seeks a cure for his doomed queen, while the king descends into despair and madness.

If you played League of Legendsor if you participated in League ecosystem of cutscenes, comics, champion releases, in-game events, and news, you know how this tale ends. (Spoiler: bad!) The outline of this story has been told many times; Ruin delves into the smallest details. Author Anthony Reynolds had a daunting task at hand: to create something cohesive and engaging for people who have never played a single game of Leaguewhile keeping the tragic story interesting for those who know the story by heart.

Generally, Ruin achieves this balance. The story begins in Camavor’s empire, and the old king has just died. His son Viego was never meant to be the heir, but he was the one who ended up with the crown. Kalista is the general of the Army and the King’s niece, betrothed to Hecarim, the grand master of the kingdom’s Iron Order. She does her best to guide the young man away from his most selfish and selfish impulses and into becoming a true king while juggling military duties, court politics, and the advances of his fiancé.

Kalista’s life becomes even more difficult when an assassin endangers the king’s wife, Isolde, and Viego sends Kalista to find a cure for the blade’s poison. Camavor is portrayed as an empire built on blood, with the kingdom’s chivalrous orders regularly besieging and sacking new territory. Kalista and Hecarim represent two sides of Camavor’s coin. Kalista is noble, caring for her lowborn soldiers, and has a distaste for unnecessary bloodshed. Hecarim is ambitious, skilled in court politics, and ready to crush an enemy beneath his mount.

It’s nice to read a bloody, dark fantasy novel where women aren’t used as props to torment and torture. Kalista is a general and she meets several other women in positions of power and notoriety. The narrative escapes the common whimsical trap of “historical realism” by including queer love and female warriors. Best of all are the beautiful character moments strung between the piles of corpses and the battle scenes.

I just wish there were more of those quiet character moments. League of Legends players have spent years playing as Hecarim or pondering Isolde theories, and that would be great for Ruin to give us a bit more insight on these characters. The book moves at a steady pace, hitting all the beats of the story that have been explained through League early. There are no big surprises here, or plot twists – it’s just a grim march from the story’s origins to its conclusion.

The end result is a novel that I might recommend to someone who loves fantasy books, even if they’ve never played them. League. At the end RuinI also realized the power this book could have as a springboard to greater League traditions. There are post-Ruin stories on the universe website, and Viego appears in the RPG Riot Forge The ruined king. Since Ruin is a competent and well-executed fantasy novel, it will be interesting to see if it emerges from the League ecosystem to attract new fans.

Today’s Kalista and Hecarim haven’t gotten much love or attention in recent lore, and it’s cool to revisit their origins and get some more details. Ruin has a frustrating characteristic, and that is i want more – what are these characters doing now? Where will the Shadow Isles go now that Viego is on the ice at Camavor? With Riot’s vast library of characters and storylines, there’s still a plot of ground to cover. But Ruin is a good start, so hopefully its successes encourage Riot to produce more fiction.