Ruins by Joshua Winning
Please note Ruins is a direct sequel to Sentinel and if you have read book one in this series it is entirely possible that this review might contain the odd spoiler or two. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
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?
Ruins picks up events not long after the end of book one. Nicholas Hallow is starting to settle into his life as part of the Sentinels. He is beginning to accept his place as part of a secret society tasked with protecting all humanity. Nicholas still has lots to learn however and so some on the job training is required. Working as Sam Wilkins assistant is the best way to learn, the old man has a knack for locating evil in all its many forms.
I was glad to see Sam appear again, he was probably my favourite character from Sentinel. I love his world weary, slightly jaded character. Liberty makes a welcome return, but there are also some cool new characters in Ruins. I particularly liked the trio of Benjamin Nale, Zeus and Merlyn. I hope they will all pop up again in the future. Though the focus of the novel remains fixed on Nicholas, it’s nice to learn a little more about some of the other Sentinels and their origins.
Winning has also introduced some characters roughly Nick’s age, and it acts as a good reminder that Nicholas is still young and has much still to learn. Getting different perspectives on events is a welcome inclusion. Dawn and Rae have both seen far more than your average teen and it is interesting to see how they have learned to cope. Rae has developed a defensive, spiky attitude, while Dawn is more withdrawn and shy.
Once again the demonic forces are directing all their energies towards raising the Dark Prophets and bringing about the end of all things. Nicholas learns that he may well be directly targeted, and that there is also another teen who is as equally important to the demon’s plans. What follows is a race against time. The Sentinels need to stop the forces of evil and their human thralls from unleashing an unspeakable evil.
When it comes to the second book in a trilogy, I am always on the look-out for a couple of things. The continuation of the plot has to make sense and fit well with the events that have transpired before. The narrative also has to point towards the overall conclusion of the series. The writing in Ruins accomplishes both of these tasks with ease. The feeling of urgency present in book one feels like it has increased exponentially. Events in the world of the Sentinels have consequences and repercussions. It is nice to see that things never happen in isolation. There is an over-arching story developing that is pulling everything together.
The good news is that my minor concerns in book one regarding all of the secrets and mysterious characters have been suitably addressed in book two. We learn more about the origins of both Nicholas and the always enigmatic Esus. Actually, the origins of Esus and the Trinity he serves are particularly cool. I would happily read an entire book based just around that.
Ruins feels like a more confident and self-assured book than its predecessor. This trilogy is shaping up nicely, and I have high hopes regarding book three. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing where the final book is going to take us. My nephews are avid readers and I reckon they would enjoy both Sentinel and Ruins. They just can’t get enough horror, especially demons for some reason*, and this series is turning out to be a damn good introduction to the genre.
Ruins is published by Peridot Press and is available now.
* I suspect this may be because they are demons themselves. Unfortunately, I have no conclusive proof.