Today I have the pleasure of reviewing the second novel in Joshua Winning’s amazing Sentinel Trilogy, Ruins. I first reviewed Sentinel back in January, and genuinely loved it, but I am pleased to say that Ruins continues to set the bars even higher. Action packed and expertly crafted, this is a series that is sure to appeal to teens and adult readers alike.
Author: Joshua Winning
Publisher: Peridot Press
Publication Date: May 18, 2015
Genre: Fiction, YA Fiction, Fantasy
Themes: Survival, Family, Apocalypse, Demons, Witchcraft
My Rating: 5/ 5
Filled with monsters, magic and mystery, Ruins is the thrilling second instalment of the critically-acclaimed Sentinel Trilogy.
In his desperate search for answers about the Sentinels, an ancient society of demon hunters that his parents belonged to, fifteen-year-old Nicholas Hallow is tipped into a fresh nightmare of terrifying monsters – and even more sinister humans – which threaten to send the world spiralling into chaos. Can Nicholas track down the mysterious girl who holds the key to their fate?
I loved Ruins, even more than I loved Sentinel. It was so fast paced that I felt as though I blinked and the entire book had gone by. Although the first instalment in this series was absolutely outstanding, the Sentinel trilogy is proving to be one that just keeps getting better and better with every new addition.
As mentioned in my previous review, I was left with a fair few questions at the end of book one and almost all of them were answered right out of the gate in Ruins. We’re given more information about the Sentinel organization, who the Dark Prophets and the Trinity are, more about the Hallow family, and some juicy tidbits about Jessica and Isabel. As each piece of information is handed out, it felt as though puzzle pieces were falling into place and that a complete picture was being painted, even as new twists and turns were being presented.
I really loved the introduction of Rae’s character and the scenes that were written from her perspective. Her fear, anger, and vulnerability really shone through and I ended up feeling far more for her than I ever did Nicholas in either of the books. When contrasted against Nicholas’ curiosity and unending support system, Rae’s presence creates both tension and balance in what can only be described as an already precarious situation.
I have to say though, that I am a little hesitant to get attached to Rae! I mean, at times it feels like Mr. Winning gave George R. R. Martin some license with his books, because seriously! So many of my favourite characters have received the chop at the most inopportune (read dramatic and gut wrenching) moments. However, these loses are balanced out by the introduction of new and exciting characters like Nale and Dawn who bring new skills and facets to the story. I am excited to see where the arc involving Nicholas, Dawn and Rae is going as the start thus far has given me high hopes for the final instalment.
Once again, Winning impress with his historical accuracy on some of our more obscure practices from the past. That part of me that still clings to my degree in history of the book was delighted by the mention of anthropodermic books (books bound in human skin), especially since it was a rather rare and macabre practice to bind copies of the judicial proceedings of criminals in their own skin. This detail was rather poetic given the timing and setting in which it was brought up. I was equally impressed with the mention of the Vikings and their belief in Norns, and the depth of detail with regards to the witch trials that took place in Bury St. Edmunds in the 1600s. And while these details might slip past some younger readers who are simply following the action, they lend a degree of authenticity to a tale that might otherwise be read strictly as fantasy.
Finally, I was pleased to see Ruins stick to the shorter length established in Sentinel. At just over 300 pages, Ruins remains visually approachable for those reluctant readers scared away by behemoth tombs. Now add in the fact that the chapters are fast paced, frequently shift perspective, and the tactful use of dialogue to relay essential information as opposed to exposition and you have a composition that is delightfully easy to follow.
Would I recommend this book? In a heart beat! I was involve with Sentinel and absolutely blown away by Ruins. So much so that I have already given my copies to our school library so that my students have the chance to enjoy it as much as I did. Winning’s books are well written, original, and absolutely riveting. And the best part is that Witchpin is set to come out this summer – I simply can’t wait to see how this trilogy ends!
Many thanks to Joshua Winning for providing paperback copies of both Sentinel and Ruins in exchange for an honest review.