Title: Ash and Echoes (2nd Edition)
Series: Blessed Epoch 01
Author: August Li
Genre: High Fantasy/ M/M/M/ Medieval setting
Length: Super Novel (360 pages)
Publisher: DSP Publications (9th December 2014)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 4 ½ Hearts
Blurb: For the past few years Yarroway L’Estrella has lived in exile, gathering arcane power. But that power came at a price, and he carries the scars to prove it. Now he must do his duty: his uncle, the king, needs him to escort Prince Garith to his wedding, a union that will create an alliance between the two strongest countries in the known world. But Yarrow isn’t the prince’s only guard. A whole company of knights is assigned to the mission and Yarrow’s not sure he trusts their leader.
Knight Duncan Purefroy isn’t sure he trusts Yarrow either, but after a bizarre occurrence during their travels, they have no choice but to work together—especially since the incident also reveals a disturbing secret, one that might threaten the entire kingdom.
The precarious alliance is strained further when a third member joins the cause for reasons of his own—reasons that may not be in the best interests of the prince or the kingdom. With enemies at every turn, no one left to trust, and the dark power within Yarrow pulling dangerously away from his control, the fragile bond the three of them have built may be all that stands between them and destruction.
Purchase Link: http://www.dsppublications.com/books/ash-and-echoes-by-august-li-29-b
Review: This is the second edition and there are no changes from the first edition… I mean come on; it was perfect the first time around 😉
Yarrow is called upon to escort his cousin to his wedding. It is something that he would rather not do, but for his aunt he will. It is a journey that brings him into contact with Duncan, a Knight who thinks little of him and Sasha, an assassin who could end up betraying them. It is a journey that brings danger, betrayal, political intrigue and exposes secrets and all three men have to band together to survive and expose the truth.
This is an absolute must read if you love high fantasy. Whoop, so happy! *little dance*. Yarrow is a magic user, the most powerful magic user of the time. But, Yarrow has a secret that makes him dangerous and he can’t trust anyone. So, he travels by himself keeping a distance from those around him… until he meets Duncan and then Sasha.
But how can he tell them his secret without losing them both? Duncan is a Knight, he will do his duty and make sure his charges reach their destination, but Yarrow calls to something inside him and then Sasha does as well. But, he hates Sasha for how he conducts his life and now Duncan is confused about his forbidden feelings. Sasha can’t love, it was trained out of him at a young age, but Yarrow causes him to begin to question what he has learned and Duncan drives him crazy and it ends up making Sasha make a choice that shouldn’t be a choice. After all, he is a cold-blooded assassin.
So, this is high fantasy at its highest and it is beautifully done. The world building is great, the backgrounds of the characters are well done and give us enough information to relate to them and the storyline and plot is wonderful. Although Yarrow is a powerful magic user, none of his magical scenes are overdone and there are even times when you think, he could have used more: but, as you learn, there is a high price he has to pay if he uses the most powerful magic, so, you can understand why he tries to limit what he does.
The main storyline is quite simple get the prince to his wedding. But, it is quickly quite apparent that there are plans afoot to derail the wedding and then the betrayals begin and the three men have to band together to ensure the prince lives and to save the kingdom.
There is a lot going on in this book with some interesting twists and turns. There are secrets that come out, political intrigue, betrayal, murders, traps, pursuits, battles, confrontations, lies and love. The relationship between Yarrow, Sasha and Duncan is complex and far from easy. There is plenty of hot sex, but these three men each have their own problems that they have to work through before they can fully accept the others; and Yarrow’s problem is a doozy.
You do not want to miss the fighting scenes or the battle scenes because they are brilliant, all the attention to detail was great and I loved it (have I mentioned I’m a bit Blood Thirsty). I loved each of the MCs as they were all completely different, with completely different values and attitudes towards things, so much potential conflict between them.
This is not the book to read if you want a nice light romance. The romance is hard going, but well-earned. The storyline is intertwined with danger and betrayal from all directions, the characters all have problems but aren’t too angsty and the action is great. The ending is one that leaves you wishing that the next book was already published so you can continue the journey.
So, I recommend this to anyone who loves high fantasy, difficult romances, hot sex, difficult journeys, betrayal, secrets, lies, action, battles, some bloody gore and three very intriguing heroes… oh, and an ending that will make you grit your teeth and scream silently for the next book.