Ice and Embers by August Li, 2nd edition

o-ice-and-embersTitle: Ice and Embers (2nd Edition)
Series: Blessed Epoch 02
Author: August Li
Genre: High Fantasy/ MMM/ Medieval type setting
Length: Super Novel (380pgs)
Publisher: DSP Publications (17th March 2015)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 4 ½ Hearts
Blurb: Despite their disparate natures, Yarrow, Duncan, and Sasha united against overwhelming odds to save Prince Garith’s life. Now Garith is king and the three friends may be facing their undoing.

Distraught over Yarrow’s departure to find the cure to his magical affliction, Duncan struggles with his new role as Bairn of Windwake, a realm left bankrupt and in turmoil by his predecessor. Many of Duncan’s vassals conspire against him, and Sasha’s unorthodox solutions to Duncan’s problem have earned them the contempt of Garith’s nobles.

When word reaches Duncan and Sasha that Yarrow is in danger, they want nothing more than to rush to his aid. But Duncan’s absence could tip Windwake into the hands of his enemies. In addition, a near-mythic order of assassins wants Sasha dead. Without Yarrow, Duncan and Sasha can’t take the fight to the assassins. They are stuck, entangled in a political world they don’t understand. But finding Yarrow may cause more problems, and with his court divided, King Garith must strike a balance between supporting his friends and assuaging the nobles who want Duncan punished—and Sasha executed.

ISBN: 978-1-63216-685-2

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Reviewer: Pixie

Review: This story is part of a series and must be read in order. This is the 2nd Edition and there are no changes from the 1st edition.

Duncan and Sasha are trying to settle into life at Windwake, but it is a struggle for both of them when many of Duncan’s vassals are against them. Sasha’s assassin ways are frowned upon and Duncan’s refusal to reward the conspiring vassals cause unrest, Duncan and Sasha cross swords when Sasha seeks to protect Duncan.

Yarrow has left the men he loves behind to seek a way to final part with the creature within him, but it is far harder than he ever imagined to even finding any clues, but his one slim hope is an old map and journal and with his friend, Sai, by his side he sets off. When Duncan and Sasha learn of Yarrow’s perilous journey, they race to be by his side, but what faces them all when they return home could end up destroying what the ancient being couldn’t.

Whoo *wipes sweat off brow* what can you say about a book that can weave a tale exceptionally while leading you in different directions and dangerous adventures… brilliant!! We re-join Duncan, Sasha and Yarrow as they love, argue and despair of the circumstances as they all try to do what is best for them and their country.

Each and every character is exactly as we remember them, Duncan is still devoted to what is right, Sasha still loves being an assassin and Yarrow is still a confusing jumble. As they progress in this story each man has his fears about the other two really accepting them and those fears are hard to put away when the politics of the country is determined to interfere.

The adventures that they face are astounding, the danger inherent and their love tested. I would love to say that we get all the answers that we want, but August Li leaves us with more questions, and I can’t wait for the answers.

We finally discover who the creature was in its previous life, we discover the truth of the Thirteen Goddesses and Yarrow faces up to his past, but it doesn’t end there as bargains are struck and new discoveries are made. I love this epic adventure and its incredible descriptions, I hate the circumstances that our men fall into, but adore the devotion they show to each other and I really can’t wait to see what happens next to our trio of characters.

I have to recommend this story to those who love high fantasy, bloody battles, escaping port, strange lands, incredible turns, dangerous sea journeys, binding love and an ending that makes you secretly grin in delight.