Ruzniel: The Laws of Magic and The End of the Universe

by Daniel Nanavati

I received a free copy of Ruzniel from Daniel Nanavati early this year (January, perhaps?), and despite reading two books, I somehow still thought it was going to be published as one. Hence one review for two books (silly me). Also, please note that since this was an early beta read, the final products, which were officially published last week, may vary slightly from what I review below.

from Goodreads
Crilodach’s selfishness is legendary. Its desire to rule all life has been the cause of every war and every fight for freedom ever known. Now, in the last three days of the universe, the struggles of the great magicians against It, join forces with a spellmaker, the brilliance of the bears, a cloned human child, the mutated Arvernat, the three dragon brothers and a poet to ensure life in the new universe after the Big Bang will have the chance to be free. But will the laws of magic enable them to outmanoeuvre Crilodach, the first and unconquerable sentient being?

my rating

my review
Ruzniel is brilliantly woven together, and although in the end I decided that it's not "my cup of tea," I have to recognize that it reflects great talent. It is very dark, of course, but also incredibly poetic and even hopeful. When I started the book I felt as if I was listening to a bard.

The book is hugely long and so packed with information and characters that it threatens to be overwhelming, and yet somehow it's not too bad. If something doesn't quite make sense, further along it will fall neatly into place, and you might feel the need to stop reading for a moment to revel in it's brilliance.

While all of the characters are developed to some extent, only a few really have some depth to them. These, of course, were my favorites: Rimfelder the poet and Tobia the Ruzniel, two characters who each shone a light in the violence.

I was not a fan of the violence. The characters did often address and question it, though I was not always happy with their conclusions. I was very uncomfortable with many of the "good" characters' willingness to sacrifice others for the sake of the fight (noble as their cause may be).*

The ending was perfect. I don't really have much else to say about it other than after reading the last sentence, I felt satisfied.

*Daniel Nanavati responded to my concern on this topic, and I'd like to share what he had to say:

"The violence is a difficult one I do agree. Although conflict is the traditional story I am not one to be overly traditional, I felt that underlying this story was an attempt to draw together myths from many nations as well as give an overarching argument as to why nature has chosen to be so red, I have always wondered why life feeds on life it seems such an unethical principle. Yet if nature is unethical there must be a reason. In dealing with murder I didn't want to be unclear because I want readers to feel the horror of it, too often fantasy makes a comic of what is utterly revolting."

The Laws of Magic (Ruzniel, #1)

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