Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Today's read... Legends of Ash and Dust by Kate Cowan

It's been awhile since I've picked up a fantasy saga. This one had such the fitting cover and a wonderful blurb. So, I was thrilled to have the chance to dive in. I'm expecting (of course) tons of action, intrigue, fight scenes, conquests, evil villains, traitors, hidden agendas, rich scenes...yeah, I have a lot on my list. 
Let's take a peek and see if this one meets all the things I hope it holds (or am I expecting too much?)

The Fearless Saga, #1
by Kate Cowan
YA Fantasy
312 pages

JANUARY 24th!!!

A dark YA Fantasy set in a sprawling Eastern world...

They forged her into a weapon. Now, she is the last.

Aerona was raised by legends. The Shae Warriors are the closest thing the Six Kingdoms have to the supernatural: fearless warrior monks who train their entire lives to protect the realm. Or, they were — until the massive Red Wolf army attacked, slaughtering them all in a single night.

Now, brokenhearted and defeated, Aero is the last Shae. Tasked with protecting Niran, the prince her people were caring for, she journeys to his home in the Golden City with one thing on her mind: revenge.

In the Palace of the Golden City, nothing is as it seems. The Red Wolves are in the pocket of the royals, the Emperor is blackmailing Aero into becoming his assassin, and an ex-Shae librarian is convinced that Aero has a long-forgotten power hidden inside of her.

On top of it all, a demon is wandering the halls of the Palace. If Aero can’t stop the demon and figure out the ancient and supernatural origins of the Shae, every life in the palace might be at stake.

There is a terrifying evil in the palace, and it’s hunting Aero down.


Tension and action drive this tale forward with a strong character to root for the entire way through.

I picked this one up hoping for a fast-paced tale and rich fantasy world, and it does a good job with both of these. The story begins with Aerona as the only female in a monk society, known for their fearless and amazing fighting strength. She rescued a young man, who's lost his memory, but with care and time, he gets it back, and when he does, the world flip-flops. Aerona's people don't even see the danger coming, leaving her as the last known survivor. Now, she has to stop an evil force and live up to her upbringing.

This is a rich read with many unexpected plot twists, tons of intrigue, quite a few fight scenes, and a heroine, who will not stop until she achieves her goals.  Not only is she strong, but she has enough weaknesses and softness to make her likeable. It was easy to root for her and hope she makes it through. There is a hint of romance, but I was happy to see that this is very slow burn. Instead, it's the challenges Aerona and the others face, which weaves the tale. 

The world building is done well enough to allow the story to flow and the scenes to come to life. Most of the characters carry enough depth to make them interesting, although a few were a bit light. The first page did distract thanks to the heavy use of italics. Luckily, this changed, and the tale immediately pulled in after that. The story does hold the reader in the pages and offers plenty of layers and richness. There was a scene (a major one) in the beginning, which I, unfortunately,  just couldn't find peace with (nothing major but it hit me wrong), and then, the ending came with a rush.  So, I'm not sure I'll be heading on to the next book, although I did enjoy this read and do recommend it.


Natalie Aguirre said...

I haven't read an epic fantasy in awhile either. I've been reading more contemporary fantasy. The fact that this is a page-turner makes me think I might like this one. Thanks.

Tonja Drecker said...

Yeah, that's been my lean this last year too. But this one wasn't what I'd consider epic fantasy, either. It is heavy fantasy but doesn't have elves or dragons or those types of creatures. But now, I want to read one of those again, too. Happy reading!