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The Ruined City by John Wilson
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The Ruined City

by John Wilson

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book follows high school student Howard as strange things start to happen in his life, eventually leading to him finding out that he has supernatural powers and must use them to protect the world from being overrun by terrible monsters. Overall, this was a pretty quick read, but I never felt particularly connected to the characters. The story is an interesting intersection between chinese mythology and Lovecraftian C'thulhu mythos, but overall the connection seems a bit half-baked. This might serve as an interesting jumping-off point for middle-grade readers who are unfamiliar with those genres and histories, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. ( )
  Literate.Ninja | Oct 15, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The first in a series, this is the story of a misfit teenage boy who learns that his world is more than it seems. After learning of that he possesses spiritual powers, he must save the world from a danger it doesn't even know exists.
Overall, I would not recommend this book. I really wanted to like it but just could not get into it. The first 50 pages and the last 50 pages were exciting, the middle 200 pages were far too drawn out. The main character was particularly unlikable, and his constant whining made it very hard to root for him. Maybe I'm just too old for this book, but I can't really imagine a young teen relating to the characters in this book, or remaining interested in the plot, as very little seems to happen. ( )
  Daniwalk | Oct 2, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
What do a couple of servant children, an adept of unknown age, a high school outcast having weird blacking out spells, and an emperor all have in common? The fate of the world may be in their hands. When dimensions come near each other, crazy things can happen.
Would you like reading this book? Do you like fantasy, historical places, and interesting characters? Then you might like this book.
I did find one thing I didn’t like. The back of the book indicated that the children had to find three parts of a mask, but they only found one in this book. This might lead you to believe there is to be a second book, but no mention was made of one so the story seemed a bit unfinished.
  stined | Sep 6, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I really enjoyed reading the Ruined City by John Wilson. I am a fan of Lovecraft and enjoyed ths minor expansion of the Lovecraftian universe written for middle school kids. I also enjoyed the way the story developed in two timelines simultaneously. The main characters consisted of a boy (the protagonist), a girl (the sidekick and mentor), and her psychic cat. The character development was a bit thinner than I would have liked, with no background for the girl, and no indication of her place in the future. Also, the parents of the boy showed promise as characters but were a completely missed opportunity. I have always had a pet peeve for whiney protagonists, and this one surely was. His constant whining and asking stupid questions made it hard to root for him, though of course he came through in the end, largely through no fault of his own. The ending didn't resolve the story well either. I wanted to know how time in Aylford had been affected and if the characters went home for dinner, etc. ( )
  mudroom | Aug 30, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book as an advance readers' copy from Library Thing. “Ruined City” by John Wilson was a slow starter, opening with a rather pretentious little prologue. I did not think I was going to like this book, but I was mistaken. The story is satisfyingly scary, very creepy atmosphere.

Character development is a bit thin, and there is a talking cat who really serves no purpose in the story other than to be a talking cat, but, hey, nothing's perfect.

Overall, it's an entertaining read that looks like the setup for a sequel. Middle School Readers should have fun with this. ( )
  susanehh | Aug 30, 2018 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Jen, who keeps me grounded in this dimension.
First words
Dear reader -- whoever you are, wherever you are, whenever you are -- it is my intention to fill the pages that follow with two tales so curious and singular that they will encourage you to believe in magic and monsters, lost cities and vanished worlds, and realities so fantastical they cannot be imagined in your wildest dreams.
Quotations
[Jingshen has asked Chen why he's moving like an arthritic monkey instead of taking the wushu advice to not fight oneself and relax]

Chen looked up at the emperor, who gave a nod. Slowly the boy unbent until he stood straight. He spun in a circle, raising the tray above his head as he did so. Balancing it on one hand, he performed an ever-faster sequence of complex twists and turns, then placed the tray neatly in the middle of the table. With a mesmerizing series of delicat4e hand moves, he poured the tea and placed a cup before each of the onlookers.



As Chen backed away, Jingshen said, That was well done. I don't believe I've seen tea served that way before.'

'I made up the moves myself,' Chen said as he backed toward the door. [...]

The emperor grumbled and reached for his tea. 'At least he didn't spill much,' he said. (p.8)
[Howard's mom asks him about the friend he was hanging out with]

'Just someone from school.'

'Invite him around for dinner one night. I like to meet your friends.

'Sure.' Howard had no intention of telling his mother that his friend was a girl. She'd be picking out a dress for the wedding before he finished the sentence. (p. 131)
[A cloud obscures the moon so Howard can no longer see the ruined city on the island and what's swimming from it toward him...]

... The unearthly whistling was rising and falling, and getting louder, drowning out the sound of the waves on the shore. Then another noise joined the chorus. It was deeper than the whistling, almost more felt than heard. A dragging, scraping sound, as if something -- or some things-- grotesque and monstrous was slithering and crawling over the cold, slimy stones. (p.85)
[After Cate has told Howard what just attacked them.]

"You know a lot,' Howard said in awe.

'I read too much.'

'Do you think Heimao will be all right?'

A voice echoed from far away. 'I'm a black cat on a dark night. What do you think?' (p.266)
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