I’d never read anything by author Kristine Kathryn Rusch before, so when I received City of Ruins I was a little… nervous, I suppose. Kind of like a first date, where you hope that your date leaves as good of an impression on you as you hope to on them. I’d heard of Kristine, of course, but for some reason or another I never actually got around to picking up a book of hers. I’m thrilled to say that Ms. Rusch’s writing and I get along just fine.
City of Ruins starts us off in a distant future where Boss, the leader of a team of space divers, has recently received permission to explore the vast underground area beneath the Empire’s oldest city. The Empire is an interstellar one, don’t let the name fool you. Boss, who is a part of the Nine Planet Alliance, is searching for something from the distant past called “stealth tech”, unbeknown to the rulers of the Empire. Rumors had it that inside the “death holes” of the city lay something… interesting, and Boss is determined to find out whether or not it’s what they were looking for.
Time is a crucial part of the story, as a ship which had been in fold-space (a part of space where the ship can jump into and out of while moving through time) suddenly arrives in the vast and cavernous underground region where Boss and her team of divers is exploring. This trigger massive “groundquakes” in the city above and, for a time, Boss and her team are cut off from the outside world.
Boss and her team manage to get out, but things become a little strange when the ship they assumed was empty is actually occupied…
City of Ruins is a short book, merely 300 pages long, but tells a lot of story in such a short space. Rusch’s characters are genuine and believable, and the twists and turns that she lets the readers see before the characters figure it out is very well done. The action, while contained in short bursts, creates a tense scene that allows the reader to be immersed in the vastly different worlds of Boss and the crew of the mysterious ship. The pacing is very quick and when you come to the end, you are a little disappointed that the book is over. Rusch makes you want more, and she does it with a style of her own.
I, for one, look forward to her next book. I am going to ensure that I do not remain a stranger to the fantastic writing’s of Ms. Rusch. Highly recommended, go read.
–Reviewed by Jason