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Ruin (The Ruin Saga Book 1)

by Harry Manners

Series: The Ruin Saga (Book 1)

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1851,210,071 (4.75)None
Ruin - The Ruin Saga #1 Before the End there had been great cities, knowledge, power, bustling billions. All silenced when the vast majority of the world's population, quite suddenly, vanished. After forty years, an ominous force is laying waste to the survivors, and famine has struck. Norman Creek is struggling to feed the many mouths of New Canterbury, which clings to life while thousands starve or burn out in the wastes. Yet still they collect books, computers, art, saving all they can. They have a mission: to begin again. And Norman has a destiny: to lead them, prophesized at birth to bring about the return of civilization. But all he ever wanted was to disappear into the crowd, and turn his back on the legend. When a barbaric horde sets out to conquer the British Isles, and past misdeeds spell the city's doom, Norman must overcome self-doubt and mount their final stand, as the last war of mankind begins.… (more)
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Showing 5 of 5
This review was written for LibraryThing Member Giveaways.
An awesome book. Really fascinating post apocalyptic world. I wondered the whole book how everyone just vanished. I found myself wondering how it would be to find yourself in a world like that. I'm still trying to piece it all together. I want to know what happens to Alex, Norman, Allie, James and Billie. It captured me so much I went looking to see if the second book was out. Unfortunately it isn't, but I will be looking for it. I sincerely could see this as a tv series. I would most definitely would watch it. Thank you Harry Manners for a great read. ( )
  deemelody | Mar 28, 2015 |
Harry Manners' Ruin is set in the UK, forty years from now, in a world that is only a generation removed from a mysterious and terrible end that no one has been able to comprehend (I won't spoil it!). After years of terrible hardship and soul-crushing decisions made by bad, good and downright normal people, pockets of survivors merge into small communities and try to regain some of what was lost in the not-so-distant past. Our story picks up during a time in which, after years of growing prosperity, life in the downtrodden, and now-defunct, United Kingdom takes a serious turn for the worse.

Starvation threatens the town of New Canterbury, which is the primary setting in which Ruin takes place. The crops have withered, the game has begun to disappear and, as the reader soon finds out, their dark past comes back to haunt them.

Our main character, Norman Creek, isn't old enough to know a world before "The End", but he is chosen to become the next leader of New Canterbury, their saviour and maker of all important decisions. However, he resists his "destiny", as he feels he is unfit to lead and unfit to fill the shoes of the great Alexander - his older mentor and charismatic town leader. Norman was told from a young age that it was his calling to save the world, to bring back the glorious prosperity that reigned before "The End", and to keep the people of New Canterbury from harm. Alexander reminds Norman of this every chance he gets, as if hearing it enough times would make it true. Norman doesn't think so, but everyone else in New Canterbury seems to be drinking the kool-aid.

This is one of the strongest themes throughout the book. Norman struggles with his ordained role and hates how people look to him to lead even though he feels entirely unworthy. Ruin depicts his struggles well, shows that he is much more than just your typical heroic protagonist sliding into his role of destiny unscathed. He's complex and feels helpless to the whims of fate - something I think all of us can relate to at times.

Beyond Norman, all of the other characters bring key elements to the book that wrap into a cohesive, dramatic package that is full of action and the little nuances that makes great fiction great. There is authenticity in his dialogue, nothing cheesy about it, and while at times Manners' imagery and description can be a bit too flowery for my simple tastes, he really manages to paint a vivid post-apocalyptic world that eats away at you and makes you feel extremely fucking desolate. I felt myself at times praying that a herd of deer would just run through town and a massive feast would present itself and make everyone happy, full and help them just chill the fuck out for once. Instead, they live in fear of an evil that lurks outside their town's borders, and they scrape by on rotten scraps and stale bread. Just thinking about their situation makes me feel sick to my beer-basted, pizza-laden stomach, and I believe this is the biggest reason why I loved Ruin.

Another fantastic element was the intermittent "Interludes" that explained the first days, months and years after "The End." I won't spoil anything, but I believe readers will find these to be some of the best chapters throughout the entire book. Manners ties everything in his two timelines together beautifully, unweaving a tangled web into something that will catch even the most elusive reader. In fact, I kind of hate the guy for doing this so well. A few things caught me by surprise, but I'm kind of a dullard when reading, and I knowingly let the author lull me, so take that for what it's worth.
Now, while I loved the novel as a whole, I can't refrain from sharing a few things I disliked. There are several chapters throughout the book that follow a separate story that I believe will be increasingly important in the next instalment of The Ruin Saga. However, this "side story" was not tied together as well as it could have been with the main New Canterbury plot, and I quickly lost interest. I believe the little girl is very important going forward, but Billy and her father were overshadowed entirely by the ongoings of Norman, Alexander and the rest of the messed up gang in New Canterbury. Hopefully this is rectified in the next book!

The score you ask? Well here's the breakdown. Keep in mind that I value some aspects of literature more than others, so, like any review, take this with a grain of salt:

Writing: Just great. Stephen King-esque, and I don't say this lightly because I LOVE King. Bravo.

Characters: Solid mains, and a few secondaries that I could care less for, but I suppose that's why they're secondary.

Plot: First three quarters of the book had me completely enthralled. I couldn't put the damn thing down. Last quarter was less so, but sets the stage for a big upswing in the next novel.

SCORE: 4.5/5 (Rounded it up to 5 because he sure as hell doesn't deserve a 4)

I highly anticipate the next book in The Ruin Saga, and recommend this one as a highly entertaining, inspired read. Harry Manners has set the bar high, and I can only hope he doesn't disappoint with his next instalment. ( )
2 vote Dbilyk | Jan 8, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Member Giveaways.
[Ruin(Ruin Saga #1)] is a futuristic battle between good and evil except you can't tell which side is which at the end. [Harry Manners] creates characters that I can see becoming old friends to me much like my favorites. Norman is the most complex since he seems to be stuck in the middle. Things are expected of him but no one is telling him the whole truth. It reminded me of [King's The Stand] and [Stirling's The Change Series]. This is a good thing since they are some of my favorite books. I can not wait to read more of the [Ruin Saga] and get to know these characters better. ( )
  MsHooker | Oct 28, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Member Giveaways.
"Ruin" is a fresh take on a post-apocalyptic world. Rather than the zombies, nuclear war, or various other scenarios that have dominated the genre for some time, the world "ends" simply because most of the population disappears with a Rapture-like suddenness. The book focuses not on the event itself, which is a whimper rather than a bang, but on the ensuing breakdown of society. Years later some of the survivors are attempting to rebuild civilization, but encounter an unexpected enemy that threatens to destroy everything they've tried to save. Be aware that the book is the first in a series and ends on several cliffhangers, rather than with any resolution. I found that lack of resolution disappointing, and it prevents the book from being a stand-alone. Still, I was interested enough that I will likely follow the sequel. ( )
  mindy.magee | Oct 14, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Member Giveaways.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and I'm so happy for having this chance! Why?
Ok, this book starts 40 years after "The End", the author introduces us to the characters (the most interesting is the hero who does not want to be a hero) and puts us in this post apocalyptic place, which are beautifully described, noteworthy writing is perfect and the story is impeccable.
From the first page I got lost in this desolate world, and it feels so real that I found myself thinking "'what if the end came today?".
I can not explain my distress when I reached the end of the book and I was left with so many questions!! I'll have to wait for the second part ...
I highly recommend this book to those who are a fan of this genre. ( )
  Julita.Floyd | Sep 30, 2014 |
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Norman Creek was hunting.
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Ruin - The Ruin Saga #1 Before the End there had been great cities, knowledge, power, bustling billions. All silenced when the vast majority of the world's population, quite suddenly, vanished. After forty years, an ominous force is laying waste to the survivors, and famine has struck. Norman Creek is struggling to feed the many mouths of New Canterbury, which clings to life while thousands starve or burn out in the wastes. Yet still they collect books, computers, art, saving all they can. They have a mission: to begin again. And Norman has a destiny: to lead them, prophesized at birth to bring about the return of civilization. But all he ever wanted was to disappear into the crowd, and turn his back on the legend. When a barbaric horde sets out to conquer the British Isles, and past misdeeds spell the city's doom, Norman must overcome self-doubt and mount their final stand, as the last war of mankind begins.

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