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Book Reviews: Ash and Sand books 1 & 2

I’ve been remiss.

I finished reading this books a while ago and I’m only now getting to these reviews.

The basics. A grimdark world portraying two cultures completely unaware the other lies across the sea. One culture is a Scandinavian-like matriarchal society living in a harsh land of ash and cold and generally suffering. The other is an Asian-inspired island chain offer an Asian-inspired mainland. The islands are basically paradise, and the people are much more educated, but not nearly as adept in war because of soft lives and not having iron.

Now we come to our two main protagonists.

Ruka is an ostracized, deformed orphan forced to murder and cannibalism to keep from starving. A horrible life leads him to decide he wants to unmake a corrupt and unfair society. Ruka also has an eidetic memory, a genius-level intellect, and as he grows up, deformed giant size and strength.

I found him far more compelling in book 2 as he evolves as a character.

In book 1, I actually preferred the second protagonist, Kale, a prince of paradise. Kale is something like a fourth son, which means he basically doesn’t matter politically. His father sends him to the navy for training, and he begins as a good-natured slacker … at least until he decides he really cares about the people around him who do not have palaces to go home to if things go south. Then he becomes far more dedicated.

There’s a lot more going on with both protagonists, but their developments into pillars of each civilization is something I don’t want to spoil.

The first book is amazing. The second is even better.

If you like grimdark fantasy that pulls no punches, you need to be reading this series.

Get the now:

Kings of Paradise

Kings of Ash

1 Comment

  1. C.T. Phipps says:

    Excellent review of an excellent book! Thank you.

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