This book has been popping all over the place. The level of hype was closer to what you would get for a movie or tv show, rather than a debut novel. Does it live it up to the hype? Mostly yes.
The most interesting thing about the book is the structure. The story of Kihrin, our main protagonist, is told in a fragmented form by two narrators. Kihrin narrates the more recent events of his life, those events that lead us to the jail cell where we first meet him. Another narrative (I won’t give that away), tells Kihrin’s story from further back in his past. There is also a third narrator, who will eventually pick up the story, who provides insights throughout both narratives in the form of footnotes. I wasn’t sure how I would like the narrative structure, but once I got used to it, I quite enjoyed it. It did make a good plot better.
The plot itself was intriguing, but at times there seemed to be plot twists for the sake of plot twists. One of those twists was the parentage of one of the characters. It kept changing, to the point where I was not sure what was true anymore. Now, that could very well be the point, the narrators are not entirely reliable, but it was still a bit more twisty than I thought it needed to be. The plot was already compelling, I didn’t find the additional twists to be necessary. On its surface, the story revolves around Kihrin finding his true destiny and saving the world, but there is a nice sort of twist at the end, that really sets up the other books in the series. That was a twist I appreciated and felt was earned.
A very special shout out to the audiobook. There were three different performers used to wonderful affect. I found myself wanting to listen to the book more than reading it.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book. The story isn’t completely unfamiliar to anyone who has read a lot of fantasy, but the narrative device gave it a fresh feel that I really appreciated. I will definitely read this before the next book in the series comes out, since I do feel like I may have missed a few connections on my first read through.
Lillypad Rating: 4 out of 5
Its been awhile but I’m back. Happy New Year! I feel like January was just an extension of 2018, so the new year is really kicking off in February!
There are lots of new releases coming in 2019. Here are some of the ones I am most looking forward to (in no particular order):
- Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian (February 5)
- Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons (February 5)
- Tiamat’s Wrath by James S.A. Corey ( March 26)
- Empire of Grass by Tad Williams (May 7)
- Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi (June 4)
- Age of Legend by Michael J. Sullivan (July 9)
- Winds of Winter by George R. R. Martin (??) Yes, I know this is unlikely, but it always goes on the list. 🙂
There are some other books that I’d like to read this year. Here are few that I didn’t get to last year, or when they were first released, but I’d like to add to my list for 2019. Again, in no particular order:
- Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jessamyn Ward
- Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
- City of Bones by Martha Wells
I finished A Time of Dread by John Gwynne a few days ago. This is a trilogy that takes place about 100 years after events at the end of The Faithful and the Fallen Series. It took me a little bit to remember the events and characters of Faithful and the Fallen, but once I re-oriented myself, I found myself deeply emerged in the world all over again. The characters from the first series are long dead of course, but we do get glimpses of what happened to them, and how those events have shaped the world today. Definitely recommend it . Lilypad Rating:
I am currently reading King of Ashes by Raymond E. Feist. It has been a long time since I’ve read anything from Mr. Feist. I happened to see this on an Amazon recommendation list, and I was excited to dive back into his works. I am enjoying it so far. The world building is almost too detailed. That is quite a bit of info dumping in these early chapters, but I’m invested enough at this early stage to keep going.
What’s on your list for 2019?
I think I heard about this book through io9’s monthly article about books they are anticipating. I’ll leave the link here. They have a really good list. I’m also interested in Dread Nation and Night Dahlia.
Ash Princess is about a princess, Thora/Theodosia, of the conquered nation of Astrea, who is held hostage by her nation’s conquerors, the Kalovaxians. Thora is used as a tool to keep the Astreans in line. Step out of line, and the princess is beaten. She is the princess of ashes only, and is treated at times like an honored guest, and at other times like a criminal. Of course, rebellion is in the air, and Thora soon becomes involved in a plot to overthrow the Kalovaxians and take back her kingdom.
As I was reading along, I thought this was a stand alone novel. The plot moved along at a very brisk pace, with just enough information about the characters, culture and circumstances to advance the plot. There were breaks in the story for exposition about the use of gems in the Astrean religion, a little bit of background on the Kalovaxians, and the destruction they have wreaked not only on Astrea, but other nations in this world. But it all seemed pretty surface, no real depth. Which I expect when a story is a stand alone. More emphasis on plot and less on character development. This isn’t a criticism, it was just the impression I got while reading. As we get nearer to the end, it becomes obvious that this won’t get resolved by the end of the book. And I find that I don’t mind that. I am actually curious about what will happen next. I like a good story about the oppressed rising up against the oppressors!
That would be the main criticism I had. I wished that this felt like a first book in a series, rather than a stand alone novel. This may be my own fault for not researching more on this book, but I would like to have seen more world building. The Kalovaxians have a history of concurring and pillaging other countries, so I would like to know more about that. This will probably (hopefully) happen in the next book (or books), but more world building now would have made the story a bit richer, for me.
Lilypad Rating: out of 5