Hi everyone! I’ve gotten the chance to read and review quite a few books that I am extremely excited for that release this year, and today I’m bringing you the first review for those books! Thank you so much to Orbit for providing me with an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. At this point, I’ll read pretty much anything published by Orbit.
Ashes of the Sun
by Django Wexler
Series: Burningblade & Silvereye #1
Release date: July 21st 2020
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Long ago, a magical war destroyed an empire, and a new one was built in its ashes. But still the old grudges simmer, and two siblings will fight on opposite sides to save their world, in the start of Django Wexler’s new epic fantasy trilogy
Gyre hasn’t seen his beloved sister since their parents sold her to the mysterious Twilight Order. Now, twelve years after her disappearance, Gyre’s sole focus is revenge, and he’s willing to risk anything and anyone to claim enough power to destroy the Order.
Chasing rumors of a fabled city protecting a powerful artifact, Gyre comes face-to-face with his lost sister. But she isn’t who she once was. Trained to be a warrior, Maya wields magic for the Twilight Order’s cause. Standing on opposite sides of a looming civil war, the two siblings will learn that not even the ties of blood will keep them from splitting the world in two.
When I first read the synopsis for Ashes of the Sun I was incredibly excited to read it because I love books that follow multiple perspectives, especially ones that are on opposite sides of a war. This synopsis especially grabbed me because those two perspectives come from siblings who were separated at a young age.
I liked that the chapters alternated between Maya and Gyre, and they were (for the most part) short and fast chapters which made the book as a whole fly by. This was my first time reading a book by Django Wexler so I wasn’t sure what I would be getting into, but I was pleasantly surprised with how smoothly the writing flowed and how FUNNY this ended up being because I wasn’t really expecting that. Wexler also managed to avoid a lot of info dumping, instead weaving the background into the story seamlessly. He also kept his descriptions short and to the point, while still giving you enough that you could easily visualize everything.
Wexler’s world building was incredible, I really got a feel for this dystopian, futuristic fantasy world especially Deepfire which I found to be one of the most interesting settings. As much as I loved the world building, I do feel like there were some things that weren’t explained enough. I know this is a series and a lot of the things I have questions about will be explained later on, but there weren’t really too many questions that had answers within this book. For example, I want to know more about the plaguespawn and where they come from/what their purpose is, what is the black spider thing, what is the Thing that Maya has, etc. The Chosen and the Ghouls are mentioned quite a bit as well and we definitely get more information about the Ghouls, so I’m hoping we learn more about the Chosen in the coming books as well.
That said, that’s really the only “negative” that I had with this book if you can even consider it to be a negative. I loved the characters, especially Maya and Beq. We also get a F/F romance but if romance isn’t something that you like in your books, I can tell you that the romance is very much just something that happens on the side and isn’t a main focus of the story, and felt very natural. I liked how we got Gyre’s perspective since he hates the Republic and the Order and how it contrasted with Maya’s perspective being a centarch and a part of the Order, because it helps you to understand both sides and why Gyre would want to destroy this system built to oppress it’s citizens, but at the same time you see Maya and those around her who truly care about people and do what they can to protect them and be there for them. It definitely creates conflict within you as the reader because you find that you love both these characters but rooting for them both at the same time is almost impossible.
Also, the plaguespawn were so terrifying and horrific, scenes with them could easily fit into a horror book. The plaguespawn hunt down humans and animals alike to take their body parts and incorporate them into themselves, so you could easily run into a plaguespawn that has multiple human arms or eyes, or have a head made out of two fused goat heads, and it’s so gruesome and detailed that every time they showed up, I would shudder.
When the characters fight (both plaguespawn and other humans) it’s fast paced and I really enjoyed the way that Wexler wrote his battle scenes which makes me really want to go back and read some of his older series like the Shadow Campaigns. The different fighting styles were so interesting, especially looking at Maya and Gyre because Maya can also use her magic and has to fight both mentally and physically, whereas Gyre doesn’t have magic, but he is extremely cunning and uses alchemicals to help him (mainly with explosions).
There is so much packed into this book – betrayals, petty vendettas, magical duels, creatures that make your skin crawl, friendship, romance, tons of blood, and lots of scheming. There’s also a glossary in the back of the book, but I never found myself using it because Wexler made it easy to figure out what they mean just while reading the book. I found that I couldn’t put this book down and thought about it constantly. This is almost a 600 page book, and it felt like it was half that because of how quickly I read it. I highly recommend this book and when it comes out on July 21st, you should check it out!