Happy Wednesday book friends! Last Monday I finished reading Legacy of Ash, which I’m low key proud of. One of my goals this year is to read more adult literature, especially fantasy, but my single brain cells can’t always keep up. The funniest thing about me reading this book is that I was planning to pick up something light and quick. And instead I picked up a 700+ page epic fantasy…
Brain cells aside, I ended up really enjoying Legacy of Ash! It’s a bit slow, but also a lot more political which I greatly enjoyed. It gave me Game of Thrones vibes when it came to the level of scheming. It’s a little older in that it was published in 2019, but the third and final book comes out next week, so I wanted to bring this series to your attention. There are some content warnings for this one, so take a peek if you want, and then read on for my review!
Legacy of Ash
By Matthew WardMy Rating: ★★★★.5☆
Published 5 November 2019 by Orbit
Epic fantasy | War | Politics
A shadow has fallen over the Tressian Republic.
Ruling families — once protectors of justice and democracy — now plot against one another with sharp words and sharper knives. Blinded by ambition, they remain heedless of the threat posed by the invading armies of the Hadari Empire.
Yet as Tressia falls, heroes rise.
Viktor Akadra is the Republic’s champion. A warrior without equal, he hides a secret that would see him burned as a heretic. Josiri Trelan is Viktor’s sworn enemy. A political prisoner, he dreams of reigniting his mother’s failed rebellion. And yet Calenne Trelan, Josiri’s sister, seeks only to break free of their tarnished legacy; to escape the expectation and prejudice that haunts the family name.
As war spreads across the Republic, these three must set aside their differences in order to save their home. Yet decades of bad blood are not easily set aside. And victory — if it comes at all — will demand a darker price than any of them could have imagined.
What I Liked
There is a lot to like about this book. It’s actually hard to believe that this is a debut, as it reads as if the author has been writing for ages. Like I said before, it’s not a fast read, but it is an enjoyable read. Even if the plot doesn’t go as quickly as you’d like, the chapters are still satisfying. In the beginning the world felt quite complicated to me. There are lots of terms that meant absolutely nothing to me at first, so this book could have used a glossary. But, I did like the set up of the world as it raises some interesting questions regarding governance and independence. Another thing to love is that in the Tressian Republic, women are completely equal to men, which is unusual in a fantasy setting. One taking up arms or being the head of a family is completely normal here.
There are quite a few POVs, which I loved. The characters were by far my favorite aspect. And the best part is that the youngest is 21. The rest are all in their 30s, so no teenagers saving the world in this one. I think that the first half is really the story of the women in this book. Calenne, who is trying to escape here mother’s legacy, struck me as incredible naive at first. However, I think I like her arc best. Melanna, who is trying to please her Hadari father without giving up who she is, almost made me root for the enemy. And then there’s Ebigail… Hate her. But in a “wow, she’s an amazing villain way.” Her attempts to strengthen her grip on the Tressian republic make her extremely schemy, and also extremely manipulative. She’s truly the worst type of person.
I liked the male POVs too, but perhaps slightly less. I at first couldn’t stand Josiri, because it felt to me like he was wallowing, and I can’t stand that in real life either. Viktor was likable enough, though sometimes he felt a little bit too righteous. Of the male POVs, I liked Malachi best because he’s very real, and I enjoyed reading from the POV of a characters who isn’t a natural fighter. There are many more POVs besides these, but these ones are the most important ones.
What I Liked Less
The only thing I didn’t quite like as much is the ending of the book. It kind of felt like after the initial conflict is over, another one got taped to the end. I would’ve loved for this conflict to be expanded more, but I can’t tell from the blurb of the second book whether that is going to happen. I could go find out though, considering that the second book has been out for a while now. Anyway, that ending just didn’t sit entirely right with me, even though it was incredibly dramatic and well-written in terms of wording and actions taken by the main characters.