The latest issue of World Student Magazine features a review of Ruins! Check out what reviewer Sophie Davies Jones had to say about the second book in The Sentinel Trilogy…
The exhilarating conclusion to Winning’s first book Sentinel seemed a tough act to follow, however the second instalment Ruins does not disappoint! Winning continues his captivating blend of magic and folklore whilst running parallel to everyday life – the ultimate combination for any successful teen fantasy. By putting the Sentinel world in our normal one, Winning ensures the concept of a sentinel universe is relatable enough to be believable. Similarly, by having the protagonist be a 15-year-old boy, the trials and tribulations he suffers reflect the anxieties of being a teenager – although on a much grander scale!
The second book continues to follow the adventures of teenager Nicholas Hallow, and particular emphasis is laid upon the emotional upheaval the revelation of the Sentinel world has caused him. As Nicholas is faced with new challenges, he is supported (or sometimes not!) by some familiar characters. The friendly and stubborn Sam is given a more detailed backstory whilst Jessica’s character is developed considerably – is she strong, fragile or a mixture of both? But don’t worry, it’s not all dark pasts and moral dilemmas, Isabel, the old-woman turned cat is always ready to offer a sarcastic punchline.
Winning also introduces some new characters, most importantly Rae and Dawn who join Nicholas in his fight against evil. These two new characters act to successfully represent the anxieties in the life of teenagers, Dawn suffers from being overweight and isolated whilst Rae deals with intense loss. Putting aside their differences, the three characters combine their various strengths in order to tackle evil. With these new characters a deeper insight into the Sentinel history is revealed, which allows a little more context and creates a better understanding of the issues presented in the book.
No fantasy book would complete without a magnificently horrific villain, and Winning does not fail to ensure this. Unlike the rather far-fetched Diltraa from the previous novel, the villain in Ruins is grittier, darker and more realistic. This is mainly because he (I’m not giving names!) is not presented as an unfamiliar, supernatural monster but almost more disturbingly, a distinctly human-like villain.
The ending is particularly good and, as ever with the second in a trilogy, rather frustrating. Just as all previous questions are answered and the plot reaches its dramatic climax, the novel abruptly ends. It gets to the most exciting point then offers new questions which are yet to be resolved.
Overall, the second instalment has proved to be a worthy sequel to book one. The introduction of the two female teenagers is particularly effective as the series now covers issues faced by both genders. The dramatic ending leads the reader to wish for the final book with much anticipation. Joshua is indeed Winning!