“This thriller falls into that pseudo-religious subgenre made so popular by Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code. But rather than targeting a specific religious sect, Toyne chooses to target the fictitious Christian elite who control the city of Ruin, and their mountain-based Citadel where they guard, protect and a covet a Sacrament so secret that at one time only 13 people know its true nature. Toyne really takes a rather overdone subgenre and twists it into a fresher, and more original novel. He blends a realistic setting with his Ruin very well - though its Turkish location (with everyone an English-speaker) definitely forces some extra suspension of disbelief. The strength of Toyne’s writing, however, makes that suspension well-worth it and surprisingly easy to do.
The characters are all pretty sympathetic and rather likable. The lines between friends and foes remain blurred for a surprisingly long period of time, adding to the suspense. Toyne certainly knows his characters, too, as even minor characters receive extensive backgrounds. And an already fairly large cast feels even larger with the structure of the novel. Toyne’s debut has well over one hundred chapters - and though they are all brief (never going over even 7 pages), the constantly switching perspective breaks up the momentum and dramatic tension built. It really slows down what would otherwise be fast pacing and makes it more difficult than it needs to be in connecting with these characters. But the plot’s originality and the strength of Toyne’s descriptive prose makes me very curious to see where this trilogy will go next! A lot of action takes place in the last section of the novel, and it will be interesting to see where the sequel picks up!”