Ashes of the Sun (Burningblade & Silvereye, #1)
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 trilogyGyre 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.

Ashes of the Sun (Burningblade & Silvereye, #1) Details

TitleAshes of the Sun (Burningblade & Silvereye, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 21st, 2020
PublisherOrbit
ISBN-139780316519540
Rating
GenreFantasy, Fiction, Adult

Ashes of the Sun (Burningblade & Silvereye, #1) Review

  • Petrik
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by the publisher—Head of Zeus—in exchange for an honest review.4.5/5 starsA captivating start to a series; if you’re worried whether Ashes of the Sun will be as good as The Shadow Campaigns or not, feel free to incinerate those doubts away now.Almost three years have passed since I finished reading The Shadow Campaigns military fantasy series—a very underrated series—by Django Wexler, and ever since I heard that Ashes of the Sun will mark Wexler’s return to the adult fantasy scene, ARC provided by the publisher—Head of Zeus—in exchange for an honest review.4.5/5 starsA captivating start to a series; if you’re worried whether Ashes of the Sun will be as good as The Shadow Campaigns or not, feel free to incinerate those doubts away now.Almost three years have passed since I finished reading The Shadow Campaigns military fantasy series—a very underrated series—by Django Wexler, and ever since I heard that Ashes of the Sun will mark Wexler’s return to the adult fantasy scene, I was excited, to say the least. My excitement was further increased when I saw the gorgeous cover art by Scott M. Fischer. Now that I’ve finished reading the book, I have to conclude by saying that my excitement was satisfyingly fulfilled. “This is not a Star Wars novel, but it definitely originated, back at the beginning, in a series of conversations about Star Wars. My list of people to thank therefore needs to start with Star Wars and everyone involved with it…”—Django Wexler Hundreds of years ago, a magical war destroyed an empire, and a new one was built in its ashes. Ashes of the Sun is the first book in the Burningblade & Silvereye trilogy, and the story follows two main characters, Maya and Gyre, a sibling who were separated from each other since they were young. Fast forward twelve years later to the present timeline, Maya is now in the Twilight Order, while Gyre lives for revenge: to destroy the Order. Truthfully, I was a bit scared with this premise because earlier this year, Orbit released a new novel with a similar premise—The Ranger of Marzanna by Jon Skovron—and that one didn’t work for me; I was scared this would end up the same. But no, what a fool I was that I even felt that way, Ashes of the Sun was one of the recently released SFF novels that manage to thoroughly steal my attention from the beginning until the end. This is a Star Wars inspired fantasy, its influences on the world-building—more on this later—can be found everywhere, and the themes of family, duty, order, freedom, and justice are prevalent throughout the narrative. “Why, she thought, do I have a bad feeling about this?” I’m pretty sure that line is a nod to Star Wars.If you haven’t read The Shadow Campaigns, you probably don’t know about Wexler’s capability in writing superbly-written heroine and f/f relationship. I mean it, Winter from The Shadow Campaigns is still one of my favorite heroines in a fantasy novel. From this promising start alone, Wexler’s characterizations of Maya seems to be on its way to reaching the same quality Wexler exhibited for Winter. There’s a charm in Wexler’s portrayal of f/f relationship that feels well-developed and genuine; the relationship between Maya and Beq was gradually developed, and their development with each other was easy to care for. Maya, on her own, was already a well-written character, but it’s her relationship with Beq, Tanax (her rival), Jaedia (her mentor), and Gyre that made the variety of tones in her story more compelling. More or less, the same level of characterizations can also be said for Gyre. This, of course, doesn’t mean that Gyre has a similar personality to Maya; he’s on a completely different spectrum, the one on the dark side, or at least falling towards it. After what happened in the prologue and the twelve years gap, Gyre’s fury towards the Order is now unstoppable; he detests the notion of being protected by them just because they have deiat (the force in Star Wars) inside them since they were born. “The Twilight Order defends the Dawn Republic. That’s how it’s always been. But they defend us like a suit of iron armor. It might stop a knife, but it weighs you down until you can barely move.” As the POV continuously (and alternately) shifts between Maya and Gyre, I found Wexler’s writing and the pacing he brought with his narrative to be greatly-paced. Seriously, due to the current world situation, it’s not easy for me to finish a 600 pages novel within three days; it could’ve been done in two days for this book, if I may be honest, I just wanted my time with the novel to last slightly longer. Regarding the Star Wars influences, there’s quite a lot to mention. Some of the most obvious ones are Haken, equivalent to a lightsaber, is a sword hilt and a crossguard with no blade that can be used by manipulating deiat. Then there’s also Centarch—pretty much a Jedi—and Agathios—a padawan training to be a centarch—from the Twilight Order (similar to Order of the Jedi). It’s all very cool and fun, but most importantly, Wexler was skillful enough to incorporate all the Star Wars elements into the world-building and story without making the book feels like it’s a Star Wars rip-off. The post-apocalyptic world, the plaguespawns, constructs, and the combination of sci-fi, technology, and fantasy all contribute to making this an immersive and imaginative world to dive into. With all of these in mind, Wexler’s well-spread action sequences in the book were all exciting; the clash of elemental deiat scenes was vivid and kickass, and one ability reminiscent of Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson or Sharingan from Naruto seriously made me went: “whoa, this is so cool!” “The Chosen are gone, but as long as their heirs hold their weapons over the rest of us, who can stand up to them? They say they have the right to rule, out of a duty to keep the rest of us safe. As though we were children, inferior, just because we weren’t born with whatever special trick that lets the centarch touch deiat.” Ashes of the Sun is an insanely fun and engaging Star Wars inspired SFF novel. If the intention of this novel is to entertain, it had succeeded exceedingly; I absolutely enjoyed it. Imbued with well-written characters and relationships, exciting action scenes, and an immersive world-building, Ashes of the Sun is a complete triumph. I have only one regret upon finishing this book, and that’s the next book isn’t available for me to devour yet. I need the sequel last week, Wexler.You can order the book from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository (Free shipping)You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel NotionsSpecial thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing!My Patrons: Alfred, Alya, Annabeth, Devin, Hamad, Jimmy Nutts, Joie, Mike, Miracle, Nicholas, Zoe.
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  • James Tivendale
    January 1, 1970
    I received an uncorrected advance copy of Ashes of the Sun in exchange for an honest review. I'd like to thank Django Wexler and Orbit Books for the opportunity.The first entry in the Burningblade and Silvereye series begins when Va'aht Thousandcuts - a centarch of the Twilight Order - turns up at a farm dwelling to take away a child from the family that resides there. The youth in question, five-year-old Maya, does not wish to leave the household. Unfortunately, as she suffers frequently from p I received an uncorrected advance copy of Ashes of the Sun in exchange for an honest review. I'd like to thank Django Wexler and Orbit Books for the opportunity.The first entry in the Burningblade and Silvereye series begins when Va'aht Thousandcuts - a centarch of the Twilight Order - turns up at a farm dwelling to take away a child from the family that resides there. The youth in question, five-year-old Maya, does not wish to leave the household. Unfortunately, as she suffers frequently from peculiar illnesses, she has no choice and will have to be raised as a member of the Twilight Order. Gyre, her eight-year-old brother, upon seeing his little sister resisting and screaming acts on impulsive and makes a foolhardy mistake in stabbing the centrach. This was a life-altering error to make as Va'aht Thousandcuts retaliates and leaves Gyre scarred for life."He was falling backwards, hitting the floor shoulder-first, feeling nothing but the searing agony in his face. He mashed his hand against it, and blood squished, torn skin shifting nauseatingly under his fingers. He only realised he was screaming when he had to stop to take a breath."Ashes of the Sun follows the point of view perspectives of Maya and Gyre, alternating every chapter. After the prologue, the action recommences twelve years later. The siblings are living very different lives.Maya is training to be a centrach under the guidance of Jaedia Suddenstorm. The Twilight Order follow the teachings of the Chosen and are the protectors of humanity. Members of the order can use a form of magic known as deiat and weild legendary blades called haken. Haken are akin to element-fused lightsabers. The magic that Maya can display is that of fire. We join her on her travels with her tutor and a fellow student trying to eradicate monstrous oddities called plaguespawn. Plaguespawn are described as "the product of a mad taxidermist, given the run of the contents of a butcher shop and human morgue."Gyre hasn't seen Maya since the day she was taken away. He is now known as halfmask and operates in a gang of rebels who are extremely anti-state and authority. The mask her wears is to hide the hideous scar from when he lost his eye. Gyre has a seething hatred to authority but the Twilight Order in particular and will do all he can to oppose them and bring them down.Ashes of the Sun was my first time reading a novel by Django Wexler and I was very impressed by the top-notch writing, quality storytelling, and the fine worldbuilding. In fact, I completely lost myself in Wexler's world. The concept intrigued me from the very start. Two siblings on opposite sides of a looming civil war in a dystopian, futuristic fantasy world. Will their paths cross? What will the consequences be if they do? What will they say when finally reunited?There is a huge glossary of Burningblade and Silvereye unique words such as cognomen, unmetal, dhakim, panoply field, ghouls, the Chosen etc which may seem confusing initially but soon fit perfectly and make complete sense. If confused at any point though the glossary can be found at the rear of the novel and is extremely detailed and useful.The members of the supporting cast were a joy to follow too. Most of whom have extremely colourful hair. Personal favourites were rival/soon to be centarch Tanax, love interest and arcanist Beq, rebel influencer Yarrow, and the amusing scout Varo. The latter frequently discusses how his friends have died in humorously horrific fashion on former missions. The mysterious, frivolous and kooky Kit Doomseeker is a belter of a character too.Ashes of the Sun is a real high-octane, dystopian fantasy thrill-ride. The action throughout is scintillating. There are some extremely exciting showdowns, skirmishes, and fights against grotesque monstrosities. Some scenes are unpredictable and shocking too. There is a large amount of violence and gore but the way I envisaged it was extremely heightened and colourful. Almost like a mix between an ultraviolent anime and a futuristic JRPG like Star Ocean. This might just be the way my mind pictured it and there aren't any other reviews on Goodreads yet to see if anyone else visioned the action in this way too. The finale of Ashes of the Sun is fantastic and was completely thrilling. This novel acts as a complete standalone yet there is still so much to see and explore in Wexler's world and I'll 100% be continuing the adventure of Burningblade and Silvereye when the subsequent books are released. Highly recommended.*Quotations used in this review are subject to change for the final release.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    My thanks to Orbit, Django Wexler and Netgalley.It's funny, "in an odd way funny." Two or three years ago I would never have read a book like this. My idea of fantasy was very fantasized! I still believe that Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series is the best thing ever. Sanderson also rock's, although he will never finish the books I want him to. Not in my lifetime. However, somewhere between waiting for Sanderson, and Martin, I discovered Jay Kristoff and his Nevernight trilogy. Mark Lawrence an My thanks to Orbit, Django Wexler and Netgalley.It's funny, "in an odd way funny." Two or three years ago I would never have read a book like this. My idea of fantasy was very fantasized! I still believe that Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series is the best thing ever. Sanderson also rock's, although he will never finish the books I want him to. Not in my lifetime. However, somewhere between waiting for Sanderson, and Martin, I discovered Jay Kristoff and his Nevernight trilogy. Mark Lawrence and his Red Sister trilogy.If not for them and a few others, I never would have given this book a chance. I will admit that immediately I was drawn into this story. From there, I expected a whole bunch of lame. Until the last 30%. You know, strong start, boring middle and action packed ending. It is a trilogy after all!I was wrong.Gyre is almost the anti-hero. So set on a path that he's willing to sacrifice "friends." He has 2 books to make that up to me! Until then? I don't care how great he is. He's a loser.Maya? She's everything any woman or anyone really would aspire to be. I love her completely! Together? I look forward to both taking down the system. Maybe?If you want an in depth review, look elsewhere. I don't do that. I review only on feelings. This book and it's characters gave me the feels! I have no problem recommending this book! Be warned though. Once you read it, then you'll be scrabbling for the next two!
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  • Django Wexler
    January 1, 1970
    ASHES OF THE SUN is finally out! I hope you all have as much fun with it as I did.
  • Dave
    January 1, 1970
    Ashes of the Sun is a fast-paced, exciting epic fantasy that pits siblings against each other in an epic battle of good and evil. Four hundred years earlier the great civilization of the Chosen defeated the ghouls and their army of constructs, vanquishing them forever. On the ancient ruins of empire, a select few are trained from a young age to be the guardians of the Republic and carry on the traditions of the Chosen, the Twilight Order. They are trained to wield the light of the sun and gradua Ashes of the Sun is a fast-paced, exciting epic fantasy that pits siblings against each other in an epic battle of good and evil. Four hundred years earlier the great civilization of the Chosen defeated the ghouls and their army of constructs, vanquishing them forever. On the ancient ruins of empire, a select few are trained from a young age to be the guardians of the Republic and carry on the traditions of the Chosen, the Twilight Order. They are trained to wield the light of the sun and graduate to become feared Centarchs, hardened to battle and exercising magical powers. Beneath the cities though in hidden tunnels and secret hollows are plague-spawn, Frankenstein like creations that combinations of all kinds of body parts. And, there are more fearsome things (like Tolkien-style Balrogs) that should not be awakened. Two siblings are separated at a young age. The sister, Maya, is raised to become a Centarch. The brother was struck down trying to protect his five year old sister from being taken away. The brother, Gyere, is now a bandit and a rebel, willing to do anything to take revenge on the Centarchs. Having not heard from each other in twelve years, every reader knows they are on a collision course, a dangerous collision course. Great world-building background with a lengthy glossary to help those not following everything. Lots of action. Very imaginative creations of plague-spawn and other constructs.Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.
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  • Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
    January 1, 1970
    [3.5 stars] Although there were a lot of things I really enjoyed about Ashes of the Sun, I didn’t like it as much as I think I should have… and I can’t quite pinpoint why. From an evaluation standpoint, it had all the elements I expect from a high fantasy: intriguing world-building, great characters, an interesting plot, good pacing, and a more than adept writing style. It had a good mix of exciting action scenes and slower character development moments. So what’s my malfunction?I think part of [3.5 stars] Although there were a lot of things I really enjoyed about Ashes of the Sun, I didn’t like it as much as I think I should have… and I can’t quite pinpoint why. From an evaluation standpoint, it had all the elements I expect from a high fantasy: intriguing world-building, great characters, an interesting plot, good pacing, and a more than adept writing style. It had a good mix of exciting action scenes and slower character development moments. So what’s my malfunction?I think part of the problem may have been the audiobook narrator. In some ways the characters felt over-performed, coming across as more caricatures than real people. On one hand it set the tone for cheeky characters who I think were supposed to bring a bit of lightheartedness and fun to the novel (which they did), but on the other hand it made a couple of them come across a bit juvenile even though on paper they were actually pretty badass. The final nail in the coffin in this regard may have been how recently I’ve read Wexler’s YA Ship of Smoke and Steel. Both female leads, Maya (AotS) and Isoka (SoSaS) were a bit more similar to each other than I’d have preferred.Also, based on the name of the series and where the story culminated, it kind of read like a prequel.Also, also, I don’t know who had the idea first, but the magical constructs in the book were very, very similar to the villain in season 3 of Stranger Things. It’s entirely possible both ideas originated organically (much like the monsters themselves, lol), but either way the timing is quite unfortunate. Had I read this a year ago I think it would’ve come across a tad more original.Okay, so on to the things I liked, which were plentiful. The world-building. Perhaps not completely original, but the framework for the story – an empire still suffering the after-effects of a war for power fought hundreds of years ago – set a wicked cool atmosphere with a city divided into factions, underground vies for power (often literally underground), and ongoing biases of politics. I loved the expansive feel of some of the settings and felt completely satisfied at how much Wexler helped me explore in this first book. It also added another great dynamic that the main characters fought on opposite sides of the conflict.Another thing I liked was the overall character construction and how the author treated them. The beginning had a lot of great camaraderie, which really connected me to the characters. I like that he gave some of the minor characters a bit of a spotlight here and there because the way he did it felt unconventional. I’m not sure I liked where the story headed for many of them because I’m trying to wrap my head around what to expect in the sequel, but for this novel alone it was great.So overall I’m battling between a rating based on comparable merit (solid 4 stars) and my own personal enjoyment of the book (3 stars). There were parts that had me glued to it mixed with others that had me wondering if I should consider a DNF. I’m going to split the difference with a 3.5 rating with the disclaimer that I think others will enjoy it a lot more than I did. It has a lot of things going for it.Recommendations: this is a great high fantasy novel for fans of Wexler’s work. Dive in if you’re looking for great character dynamics, a cool world, and good action scenes. Maybe, just maybe, consider skipping the audio version.Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.NikiHawkes.comOther books you might like:
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  •  Charlie - A Reading Machine
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first book I’ve read by Django Wexler and I really enjoyed myself. It’s main strengths are it’s characters and their believable and stakes raising relationships, a mysterious magic system that offers great fun especially in terms combat, an exciting style and pace and of course a story that puts all of these things to excellent use.Ashes of the Sun revolves around two main characters, Maya, a young farm girl who suffers mysterious bouts of sickness and Gyre her loving and protective This is the first book I’ve read by Django Wexler and I really enjoyed myself. It’s main strengths are it’s characters and their believable and stakes raising relationships, a mysterious magic system that offers great fun especially in terms combat, an exciting style and pace and of course a story that puts all of these things to excellent use.Ashes of the Sun revolves around two main characters, Maya, a young farm girl who suffers mysterious bouts of sickness and Gyre her loving and protective older brother. One fateful day a Centarch of the Twilight Order, sort a ‘Jedi knight’, arrives at their home offering a cure for Maya and proceeds, despite her screams, to try and take her away. Her older and protective brother Gyre intervenes and loses half his face as punishment resulting in a serious revenge obsession and an overwhelming desire to see the entire system destroyed.Years later life has gone on. Maya is still alive, a powerful junior Agathios on her way to becoming a full Centarch, and fully indoctrinated into the system she now serves. She believes that everything they do is for the greater good and this is in large part down to her mentor Jaedia, who has taught her that she must be decent and wise to the people she protects not laud over them with her power. Her heart is still in tact and with much of her time spent chasing plunderers of illegal old world magic she genuinely wants to do what she thinks is right. Gyre has grown into the leader of a group of bandits who disrupt and harass the authorities always seeking access to some sort of raw power or ancient technology that will eventually give them the edge of the magically infused Centarchs. He is driven by a need to overturn and destroy the system, to claim his own autonomy and to see the heavy-handed tactics of those that hold all the power and its possibilities usurped by those that live and work in the dirt.Now obviously the two will meet up again but that’s pretty much the end in terms of predictability and I loved this part of the book. Even when prophecies appear and you’re thinking oh here we go, they’re never ponderously explained or vital enough in the moment to encumber the story. I truly never knew what was coming round the corner, I didn’t know who I was going to like from chapter to chapter and I didn’t want to know in case it brought the story to an end. There is a real skill in keeping someone that reads 50 fantasy books a year guessing and if you look very closely at the picture above you might be able to spot some very slight damage to the cover when something particularly surprising happened that caused me to throw the book across the room. I savored the moments of discovery but never felt distracted by a lack of information if you know what I mean.The world is a crazy one. Ancient ghouls wielding powerful magic, the Centarchs and their desire to protect/control (again I come back to a comparison with the Jedi and their order), horrific beast’s joined with each other creating hybrid voluminous heaving sacks of guts and teeth and deep underground pits full of as many untold horrors as untold riches, I could go on and on. Ashes of the Sun is great unpredictable fantasy that packs a serious punch and I'll definitely be picking up some of Django's earlier series to fill the gap before the release of the next book. It's an exciting and positive start to what could be one of the epic series of the Covid19 age.8.5/10Ashes of the Sun is published by Orbit Books and releasing on the 21st of July 2020. Thank you to Orbit for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Sahitya
    January 1, 1970
    Though I had never read anything by this author before, I dont know why had a bit of high expectations from this one and I guess that’s the main reason it didn’t seem to wow me.Maya was definitely a standout character with both her badass as well as vulnerable moments whereas Gyre felt a little one dimensional with just wanting to burn everything down. I really didn’t connect much to any other characters and I never got the emotional payoff I always expect from a good fantasy novel. I was also n Though I had never read anything by this author before, I dont know why had a bit of high expectations from this one and I guess that’s the main reason it didn’t seem to wow me.Maya was definitely a standout character with both her badass as well as vulnerable moments whereas Gyre felt a little one dimensional with just wanting to burn everything down. I really didn’t connect much to any other characters and I never got the emotional payoff I always expect from a good fantasy novel. I was also not a particular fan of the writing style, which kinda made it hard for me to read quickly. The world building was okay but nothing really stood out as very different from other fantasy worlds.I still think this is a fun novel, especially if you like the writing style and the extremely fast pacing of the plot which doesn’t leave a lot of time to explore the nuances of the characters. And I definitely appreciate the queer rep and it’s always exciting to see more f/f main couples in fantasy. I still haven’t decided if am gonna continue the series but I’m keeping an open mind.
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  • Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
    January 1, 1970
    Putting it out there that this has f/f! One of the POV characters is a lesbian. Ok, continue scrolling.
  • Esme
    January 1, 1970
    The theme to my life recently, it seems, is being late. This released last week, gah!I actually picked up the audio already for this, I had 20% left to go on release day and I needed to get through it quickly and I didn’t have time to physically read. The audio is pretty good, although, the first rating on audible was a 1 star. I do think this narrator could be marmite-like. She is a very expressive narrator that uses a lot of accents and tonal changes to create the characters voices. She also h The theme to my life recently, it seems, is being late. This released last week, gah!I actually picked up the audio already for this, I had 20% left to go on release day and I needed to get through it quickly and I didn’t have time to physically read. The audio is pretty good, although, the first rating on audible was a 1 star. I do think this narrator could be marmite-like. She is a very expressive narrator that uses a lot of accents and tonal changes to create the characters voices. She also has a very storyteller quality to her narrations which may or may not work for you. Personally, I enjoyed it. Anyway, this is a story about two siblings and their polar opposite roles in society. When Maya was very young she was taken away from her family by the Twighlight Order. She was constantly sick, and it was getting worse as the years progressed. The Twilight Order said they could help, but, unfortunately that also meant she couldn’t go back and visit her familt until she was done with training. ..which takes over a decade to finish. As the years went by they faded from her memory, and the Order became more like a family to her than the one she left behind. She had a mentor who I really liked and want to see more of in the next book.Her brother, Gyre, tried to defend his sister when she was being taken. Maya was crying and screaming and didn’t want to go, so he stabbed the order member in the leg. He lost an eye for it, and he’s been bitter ever since. Bitter that his family was torn apart. Bitter about his parents subsequent deaths and depression. Bitter that there’s an organization thats above the rest, and dictates what magical items can and cant be used. As the years marched on he became a rebel leader, and a thorn in the Order’s side that they would like to eliminate.Maya’s perspective paints the Order in a complex light, making them not the evil enemy that reading only Gyre’s POV would lead you to believe. I love when each side of a war is equally represented and neither side inherently wrong. The Order serves as a protection from dark magic, and from plaguespawn.This is a really neat world, I love old school epic fantasies with tons of magic. I love the gross horrors of the Plaguespawn, which are monsters of a frankenstein nature…put together pieces of animals and humans to make a functional, albeit terrifying creature.I enjoyed both Maya and Gyre, they were both relatable in their own ways, and had compelling arcs. I was waiting and waiting for them to finally meet up and it doesn’t happen until like 60% through the book. I was hoping their meeting would have held bigger consequences for their arcs, but it didn’t, yet. That could be coming in later installments.The prose was excellent, as to be expected of Django. The pacing threw me off a bit at the end. It seemed like the story was wrapping up and setting up for the sequel and… lol it just kept going for a while. All things considered that’s not a huge problem, and I did enjoy what came later.I recommend this to people who enjoy dual povs, sibling povs, lots of magic, old school epic fantasy, and two sides of a ‘war’. (Not a war yet, just rebellion from the lower class).Ratings* plot: 12/15* characters: 12.5/15* world building: 13.5/15* writing: 13.5/15* pacing: 11/15* originality: 11/15* personal enjoyment: 8/10Final Score: 81.5/100 or 4/5 stars
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  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    Devoured this.Love the world, great fight scenes and some nifty character moments.More soon!*copy from Netgalley in exchange for a review*Ashes of the Sun is the start of a new fantasy series from Django Wexler, whose Shadow Campaigns series I’ve gushed about repeatedly in the past.This is a new series, in a new world, and, just to get it out of the way, it’s really rather good.One of the reasons that’s the case is the world, and the hisstory that weaves its way through the background of the mor Devoured this.Love the world, great fight scenes and some nifty character moments.More soon!*copy from Netgalley in exchange for a review*Ashes of the Sun is the start of a new fantasy series from Django Wexler, whose Shadow Campaigns series I’ve gushed about repeatedly in the past.This is a new series, in a new world, and, just to get it out of the way, it’s really rather good.One of the reasons that’s the case is the world, and the hisstory that weaves its way through the background of the more immediate narrative. Because our eyes are focused on a society built on the ruins of magic. Humanity lives in walled cities and agrarian communes, but those population centres are built on the broken bones of someone else’s shattered empire. That empire was filled with magic and high technology, with craft that flew through the sky, and hand weapons that can fire quickly and melt stone. Humanity scavenges over the remains, often unable to differentiate trash and treasure. Sometimes both of those things explode messily. Sometimes they end up being exactly what you need to get rich and retire. Magic is, mostly, a half-understood remnant of power pulled from someone else's corpse. That doesn’t apply to everyone, though. There are the elites. Those who were handed power directly from the survivors of the conflict that shattered high civilisation, before those mysterious beings disappeared. Their heirs took power as a right, and as necessity, keeping back the swarms of biological monstrosities that remained in the post-conflict gloom. Centuries later, those with the ability to use this legacy are found, empowered, and trained to serve and protect the people around them, and to hunt down any possibly dangerous piece of techno-wizardry. Given that service comes with both supernatural power and essentially unlimited legal authority, and that the only challenge to that authority is dangerous pieces of techno-wizardry, that’s going about as well as you’d expect. There are simmerings of rebellion in out of the way places. Rumours of guardians misusing their power for their own aggrandisement, of corruption and abuse of power. The world is, basically, not in a great state, and as we can see, it didn’t start in the best place either. But in terms of depth, of detail,of scope of imagination, this world is marvellous.Maya and Gyre are our protagonists, siblings on different sides of a simmering war. Maya was taken by the magical elites as a child, her potential honed, her skills sharpened, her sense of purpose shaped to the mission of keeping humanity safe. Maya is, basically, a heroine. She believes in her mission, she believes in the basic worth of people, and she’s committed to fighting off the various ghouls, biological horrors and more human monsters that plague the world. It’s refreshing to see someone with this level of virtue front and centre in the story. That isn’t to say that Maya is uncomplicated - she struggles with her own sense of inadequacy, and trying to twin her values with the pragmatism of someone required in the field. And her greatest failing is, perhaps, her inability to map her own personal virtues against the systemic oppression, corruption and broadly problematic stances of the organization in which she as raised. The exploration of same, incidentally, is a wonderful arc in her growth, and also something it was a pleasure to explore as a reader. But still, she shines, a champion for a different age, unfortunately cast into this one. Watching her find her feet and start figuring out who she is was an interesting and emotionally affecting journey.In contrast to Maya, her brother is...well, I’ll call it morally flexible. Gyre has one goal - the overthrow of the system which took his sister from him. In service to that goal he’ll do pretty much anything, pair up with pretty much anyone. He has friends, and colleagues, and they have ideals and want to serve up revolution and compromise. But Gyre, Gyre is ready to tear down the system, whatever the cost, and doesn’t really care what happens next. He’s ambitious, fights like a demon, and has a core of charisma which comes off the page and grabs you. Gyre is perhaps less individually “good” than Maya, but may serve a more sympathetic cause - though, like her, he could stand to examine the ideals he’s in service of a little more closely. Still, as a contrasting (and conflicting) duo, they’re a joy to follow on the page. They live, laugh and love as people do, and feel their woes and tragedies just as strongly. In short, we can empathise and sympathise with them both, even as they struggle with their internal problems and, well, each other.In this they’re helped by an absolutely top notch supporting cast, from archivists to revolutionaries, smart-arsed scouts to mildly-insane scavengers, and, indeed, monsters of all varieties. Though not centre stage, they provide colour and texture, romance and heartbreak in equal measure, and always manage to make the reader, well, feel.The story I shan’t spoil for you, but it’s a firecracker. There are magical duels, with more than a little stabbing. Horrifying villains who’ll make your skin crawl, and antagonists whose very plausibility makes them rather disturbing. There’s petty vendetta’s and world-scouring vengeance. There’s the quiet warmth of friendship, and the searing joys of romance. There’s love and death and blood and grief. There’s techno-mage archaeology, and chases which, somehow, managed not to feature giant boulders rolling after you, but felt like they could. This is a complicated, human world, with characters you’ll care about, and a story which I, for one, couldn’t put down. Go pick it up!
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  • Travis
    January 1, 1970
    Well it's not often that I read a 600 page book in a few sittings, but this sucked me completely in. I should have a longer review to come, but damn that was a fun book.
  • Andreas
    January 1, 1970
    Synopsis: When they were young children, Maya was separated from her family and from her brother Gyre: one of those single-man-army centarchs of the Twilight Order took her away. Gyre stood ground, but lost an eye, and ever since was called Half-Mask.In alternating chapters, the story follows the faith of the siblings twelve years after Maya's kidnapping: 20 years old Gyre in a Robin Hood like behavior steels from the Order and passes some wealth to the forgotten folk of the undercity. 17 years Synopsis: When they were young children, Maya was separated from her family and from her brother Gyre: one of those single-man-army centarchs of the Twilight Order took her away. Gyre stood ground, but lost an eye, and ever since was called Half-Mask.In alternating chapters, the story follows the faith of the siblings twelve years after Maya's kidnapping: 20 years old Gyre in a Robin Hood like behavior steels from the Order and passes some wealth to the forgotten folk of the undercity. 17 years old Maya travels with her mistress solving mysteries of smugglers of forbidden arcanes, showing her cunning sword art, wielding her legendary blade called "haken" and weaving magics spells. They never met since their rough separation and fight on opposing sides: Gyre ultimately seeks revenge, risking anything to wield enough power to destroy the Order, while Maya tries to rise to an accepted member of the Order.Review: This is the first entry in the Burningblade and Silvereye fantasy series, but could very well be read as a standalone. It concludes with a few dangling threads but brings the plot to a satisfying ending.There is a lot of SFional influence drippling down into the fantasy setting: gigantic flying fortresses crashed into the earth generations ago, and many of the magical artifacts are driven by a force I often read as electricity. The "haken" felt like a Star Wars lightsabre.But Wexler not only integrated SF into this fantasy novel, but also horror elements: necronomists creating monsters called the "plaguespawn" which range from rat sized up to bear large entities driven by their yearn to destroy anything living and incorporating remains into their own bodies. Both siblings fight against numerous of those beasts, mostly in cellars or labyrinthic tunnel systems fitting to a wonderful Dungeons&Dragons session.In fact, a huge part of the novel describes fights very detailed, bordering LitRPG, and very bloody. The first 50 pages was nearly continuous fighting with only small breaks in between. While I liked the diversity of the fights - Gyre mostly with alchemical bombs and weapons, and Maya as sword wielding magician - I could have lived with half the amount of action. In between, I yearned for a chapter just settling down a bit - well, there was one, but it was short. Action oriented fantasy fans will find their needs filled to the fullest, no mercy given.Both main characters were relatable and believable in their youthful recklessness and naivety. Some teenage angst drove me nuts when Maya unfolded her virgin lesbian drive to fellow character Beq, taking them nearly half the novel to come to fruition. That was clearly too much romance suspense for my taste. The complete opposite was frivolous and mysterious Kit Doomseeker, acting as a quest giver for Gyre.Also, this novel wins the "Most grins" Award. My Kindle counted 100 occurences, and given that its used mostly in the chapters featuring Kit Doomseeker, that's awfully often.The novel is a really high-octance, mostly underground, thriller fantasy, tending towards YA in some aspects. It shines with character, plot, and setting, and sometimes just has too much in it. I found it very entertaining and recommend it.
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  • Maddy
    January 1, 1970
    The copy of Ashes of the Sun I recieved was provided generously by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!By first impressions, Ashes of the Sun was a book I was incredibly excited to read: the cover is beautiful, the description presented a new and interesting fantasy world with a unique spin, and the author is an already well-known fantasy aficionado. And, largely, my first impressions of the book carried through with surprising longevity, and the novel was a great experience to The copy of Ashes of the Sun I recieved was provided generously by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!By first impressions, Ashes of the Sun was a book I was incredibly excited to read: the cover is beautiful, the description presented a new and interesting fantasy world with a unique spin, and the author is an already well-known fantasy aficionado. And, largely, my first impressions of the book carried through with surprising longevity, and the novel was a great experience to read. This review will contain some spoilers, so please read with caution!First, I must praise Wexler's writing style, because it is something that captured my attention at page one. With a lot of epic fantasy and high fantasy stories, the writing can become very long, explanatory, and blocked with a lot of info dumping (this can be done well, of course, it's just a genre stereotype). I found that Wexler managed to (mostly) stave off the things that many readers are not fond of, which made the 600-page story quite an easy read. Wexler's writing was continually interesting, his descriptions were to the point, not overly indulgent, and even his characterizations of the plethora of female characters were positive and non-sexualized. I include this bit because, as any fantasy fan will know, writers tend to overly describe female characters (because we really need to know the size of her breasts in proportion to how small her waist is...) and I was very happy to see that Wexler avoided this trope, and gave all his characters respect.The worldbuilding of this novel came only slightly second to me after the writing style. The world of Ashes of the Sun is complex, and there are a lot of layered elements and ideas that are unveiled, bit by bit, as the novel progresses. Although this makes the first few chapters hinged on mystery, as we come to try to understand dhak, centarchs, who the Chosen were, who the Republic is etc, this element keeps the reader interested. This novel upped the formulaic "chapters should ask questions that are answered in the next" idea of novel writing, as we are not only grasping the questions of plot, but also the questions of how the world works, and I found this to be quite compelling.Although there were many elements of this book that I loved, there were a few issues I had with the story. Ashes of the Sun is told between two alternating point-of-view, a brother and sister separated at childhood. Maya, the sister, becomes a centarch-in-training for the Twilight Order, while Gyre becomes a glorified thief, working with a band of rebels that challenge both city and governmental authority. I found their different fates interesting, and their different views of the world was a great way to tell this story, however it created an issue where there was no cemented plot. There were some ideas of a plot, and there were events and story arcs that the two main characters separately went through, but up until the midway point of the novel I felt like there was no real connection. Even when the siblings reunite, twelve years after their separation, their stories continue in different directions (I should say different paths, as both paths end up leading to the same place). If someone asked me what the overall plot to this story was, I'm not sure I could say without breaking it up between Maya and Gyre. The culmination of the novel is where the story really gets confusing for me, personally. It seemed like the book took a really drastic turn from the events in the first half of the story to the second half, and the ramp up of the drama was turned up to eleven, so to speak. In the first part of the story, we're with Gyre and a band of rebels, seemingly interested in some type of governmental overthrow, or at the very least revolution for the tunnelborn folk of Deepfire. In the later chapters, Gyre and Kit are working with one of the last remaining ghouls, a species that was previously thought wiped out, attempting to awake a collosal construct to destroy humanity. The divide between those two things, and the events between them, did not fully resonate with me. This brings up the issue of their own personal plots. Maya's story seems well enough fleshed out on its own - we understand what she wants, what she's working towards, the obstacles she must overcome, and so on - but Gyre did not receive the same luxury in my opinion. Gyre's story confused me, because at first glance it really seemed like he had interest in Yora's cause (gaining rights for the tunnelborn to provide them with a better life). Although we get the idea that he has a bigger goal in mind, I was still a little surprised to find out exactly what his goal was, and most especially, why he had it. The explanation regarding why Gyre wants to destroy the Order and the Republic seemed a bit lackluster. Although he thinks about Maya from time to time, he flat out says that his goals are not because of her, despite her being taken by the Order as a child being the inciting incident for the novel. He mentions that his family was torn apart, but I didn't get the impression that he cared much about it, especially due to the back-and-forth we hear about Maya from his internal monologue. I don't understand why it's enough of a reason for Gyre to be so obsessed with the destruction of the human governmental constructs (so obsessed, in fact, that it's almost his entire reason for existence as a character; he becomes increasingly unsympathetic, loses what small empathy he had for anyone else, all because he wants to find the Tomb so desperately). For story purposes, we needed Gyre, but I wish he had more compelling reasons for his actions, because I found myself almost doubly interested in Maya's chapters than his.On this point, I'd like to touch on the characters. Maya and Gyre, due to their stories being mostly separate, encounter different secondary characters, with some small overlap later on in the story. I feel like most of the secondary characters were well-written and had their own identities, and we get to learn about their motives, hopes, desires and such that makes them relatable and sympathetic. The only (important) character I felt that I had no interest in was Kit, for a few reasons. At first, Kit seemed like she was going to be a really interesting character with a lot of depth, as the reader was given near no answers with regard to her past, who she was working with, her personal gain, and such. Although frustrating to know next to nothing about her character, her meet cute is interesting, and she had a lot of potential with her secretive nature. Once the reader is made to know more about her, however, those mysteries do not seem as enticing as they did once before. Kit is completely unsympathetic to other people, even to Gyre for almost all of the story, despite the feeling that we the reader are supposed to somehow root for them as a pair. Though it makes sense that she doesn't care much for the lives of others, her continued examples of brutality, enjoyment of bloodlust and fighting, and half her dialogue talking about sex, did not resonate with me as anything deep or interesting. Even her backstory did not make me feel any sort of empathy for her. I was also confused about what Gyre took interest in her for, until I further understood that he truly only did care about finding the Tomb and power enough to overthrow the Order, then it made a little more sense. Another point I'd like to give both in favor and against this book, with regard to the characters, is the LGBT+ representation. Being a member of the LGBT community myself, I am always excited to experience stories with LGBT+ characters, especially in high fantasy, where it feels like there is a lot less representation than in other categories. There were several LGBT+ characters in the novel, some more explicit than others, and I personally don't mind when some of the representation is in the background. This would, of course, be an issue if one of the main characters themselves didn't experience an LGBT+ romance, which Maya did. However, this was not represented, to me, as well as I would have liked.Maya and Beq experience a slow-burn style attraction to one another after their first meeting, that eventually culminates in a relationship at the end of the novel. Maya's descriptions of Beq are what threw me the most - almost every single interaction with Beq, Maya's internal monologue would mention how attractive Beq is, ow how Maya needed to focus on the task at hand and NOT think about how attractive Beq is, or how she wanted to kiss her, etc. This didn't sit well with me for a few reasons, namely that it constantly enforces the over-sexualization that many real life LGBT+ people face. It also deflated their culmination of the relationship for me, because when they were finally able to express their feelings, I realized that there was no evidence that they had real interest in each other. Maya's interests in Beq, at least in her head, were mostly physical, they only talk about how they saved each other's lives at one point or another, and it seems like when they do find time to talk about their interests (my example here being Beq's interest in arcana), the other party isn't particularly interested. This does not a fulfilling relationship make. Despite my personal criticisms, Ashes of the Sun was a great read that left a lot of possibilities open for the incoming sequel, though I wish I had known beforehand that it was a planned series! I find myself wondering what's next for Maya and Gyre, and although the end of the story left me with a lot of unanswered questions, I fully believe that Wexler will deliver a great sequel and continue their story in beautiful hand. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys new worlds, and especially new, well implemented magic systems. Compelling characters, interesting twists and amazing writing will be sure to satisfy any fantasy fan!
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  • Adrianna (anntokki)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you, NetGalley for providing me a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review.(This was more of a 2.75-star read, but I rounded up to 3 stars)Before you start reading this book, definitely check out the glossary in the back. Unless you'd like to decipher the language Wexler uses yourself. Because I jumped right into the story, I found myself very lost at the beginning of the book. It wasn't until I made the connection that the terms being used were similar to those in Star Wars. The Thank you, NetGalley for providing me a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review.(This was more of a 2.75-star read, but I rounded up to 3 stars)Before you start reading this book, definitely check out the glossary in the back. Unless you'd like to decipher the language Wexler uses yourself. Because I jumped right into the story, I found myself very lost at the beginning of the book. It wasn't until I made the connection that the terms being used were similar to those in Star Wars. The Centarchs could be compared to Jedi, and Maya (and the other Agathia) could be seen as Padawans.Ashes of the Sun did not feel very story-driven. Really, this felt like a series of events that just kind of happened. Nothing tied the story together. The characters were going on mission after mission, and for what? There didn't seem to be an end goal, for Maya at least. Gyre's goal was to overturn the entire Order. Hopefully, in the future books in the series, more sense is made of the events that happened.The one thing that was tying me to this book was the characters. Because we are following two separate paths throughout the book, we meet many side characters. I enjoyed how the characters were written and I was interested to see how they would tie into the main story. I wish I was able to feel a bit more of a connection to these characters, though. We did see many side characters die throughout the story, and I didn't even think about their deaths after they happened. Perhaps it was because the characters also had little care for the deaths of their friends. I also appreciated the LGBT representation within the story. It was great to see this in the main character and in other background characters. However, I do not believe I appreciated the relationship between Maya and Beq. I wish we got to see their relationship develop further, as Maya's attraction to Beq was simply on a physical level. Hopefully, that is something we will see further in the series.Ashes of the Sun had great world-building and a fantastic magic system. If you're a reader who can appreciate lore, this may be the book for you. However, if you are looking for a fantasy with characters that tug on your heartstrings, you may want to skip out on this one.
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  • Morgan (dragonsandpages)
    January 1, 1970
    When Ashes of the Sun by Django Wexler showed up on my doorstep I was SO EXCITED. A huge shoutout to Orbit for sending a beautiful finished copy my way!This book really hooked me from the very beginning. We are thrown into a unique almost sci-fi/apocalyptic fantasy world. This book felt like a very new and fresh entry into the fantasy genre the whole way through. One thing that Wexler did so well, in my opinion, was making you feel that you knew what was going to happen next and then completely When Ashes of the Sun by Django Wexler showed up on my doorstep I was SO EXCITED. A huge shoutout to Orbit for sending a beautiful finished copy my way!This book really hooked me from the very beginning. We are thrown into a unique almost sci-fi/apocalyptic fantasy world. This book felt like a very new and fresh entry into the fantasy genre the whole way through. One thing that Wexler did so well, in my opinion, was making you feel that you knew what was going to happen next and then completely surprise you. I really loved every single one of the characters crafted within this story. I felt like I really understood all of their motivations and why they were acting the way that they were. By the end, it was very apparent how emotionally invested in the characters that I had become. This world that Django created was SO FUN. It was a great backdrop to this story and was developed very well. The lore is rich and there is so much that can be expanded upon in the sequels. The LGBTQ+ representation in this book was a welcome surprise. Within this world, we see many people with different sexualities just living their lives. It is just people living their lives and being attracted to whoever they are attracted to and I think that we need more of that within all types of stories. I love seeing queer characters just living their lives and loving who they love. Overall I really enjoyed this read and I would recommend it to anyone who reads Adult SFF. I also believe that this would be a great book for those that read a lot of Young Adult Fantasy and would like to get more into the adult genre. It is very approachable!
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    I requested this book on a whim, mostly because I’ve been wanting to read more fantasy and this sounded super promising. I have to admit that I really struggled to make it through the first few chapters. It’s an issue I have with some epic or high fantasy novels, where I feel like worldbuilding is this tricky fine line between too much and too little exposition. Unfortunately, I felt like I wasn’t being given enough context to understand or really care about the characters. I’m definitely in the I requested this book on a whim, mostly because I’ve been wanting to read more fantasy and this sounded super promising. I have to admit that I really struggled to make it through the first few chapters. It’s an issue I have with some epic or high fantasy novels, where I feel like worldbuilding is this tricky fine line between too much and too little exposition. Unfortunately, I felt like I wasn’t being given enough context to understand or really care about the characters. I’m definitely in the minority on this, as I’ve seen many rave reviews and I can understand why: Wexler has great writing style and skill. While I ultimately DNF’d this, I think many readers who love epic fantasy will enjoy this too.An ARC was provided to me for free by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kara Babcock
    January 1, 1970
    One of the reasons Brandon Sanderson took off, I suspect, is that he manages to bring an urban fantasy feel to more high fantasy or epic fantasy settings. In Ashes of the Sun, Django Wexler accomplishes a similar feat. This is a book set in a world incredibly different from our own, a land reminiscent of the epic fantasy books that for a time dominated this genre, yet the pacing and style are much closer to urban fantasy. I find that very appealing, and even though it took me a few more days to One of the reasons Brandon Sanderson took off, I suspect, is that he manages to bring an urban fantasy feel to more high fantasy or epic fantasy settings. In Ashes of the Sun, Django Wexler accomplishes a similar feat. This is a book set in a world incredibly different from our own, a land reminiscent of the epic fantasy books that for a time dominated this genre, yet the pacing and style are much closer to urban fantasy. I find that very appealing, and even though it took me a few more days to read than normal, I was captivated by this book from beginning to end.I received this book for free from NetGalley and Orbit in exchange for a review.Maya and Gyre are brother and sister, torn asunder by the Twilight Order, a powerful group of magic-wielders who uphold the Dawn Republic. Taken from her family at age 5, Maya has is now 17 and on track to graduating from a magical apprenticeship to become a centarch, a magical guardian of the Order who can shape the force of creation to her own martial ends. Gyre, figuratively and literally scarred by the abduction of sister when he as only 8, now makes a living as a bit of a rebel in the city of Deepfire. His ardent passion: the destruction of the Order and the Republic, but to do that, he’s going to need some seriously powerful tools. Fate, of course, conspires to throw these siblings together at the most inopportune time while they are on opposite sides—and to be honest, if you think you know what’s going to happen, you’re probably wrong! But no spoilers.I mentioned Sanderson at the top for a reason: fans of Sanderson will recognize a lot of his worldbuilding style here, although to be honest, I prefer Wexler’s looser formulation of magic, etc.—Sanderson’s quite strict approach always left me a little cold. Nevertheless, the whole worldbuilding of this book is impressively deep and creative in scope. Some of the names—Twilight Order, Dawn Republic—in Ashes of the Sun feel a little clichéd, but this book’s world and story are anything but. We’re in fallen civilization mode; the Republic and surrounding kingdoms cling to the technological and magical remnants of two, much older and much more powerful non-human civilizations that fought a massive war sometime in the past and basically wiped each other out. Maya believes the Order is a force for good, albeit sometimes maybe too forceful—Wexler sketches out internecine politics within the Order that make for an excellent subplot with just the right amount of intrigue. Gyre, on the other hand, his mind poisoned against the Order ever since that fateful day on his parents’ farm, sees it as a restraint on the rest of humanity, holding them back from achieving something … well, he’s not sure what, but something great! In this way, the two siblings embody a kind of order/chaos duality, which is reinforced by the alternating chapter structure of the narrative. This doesn’t always work great in a book, yet Wexler stays committed to this structure for pretty much the entire book, and it really works here. I found myself so obsessed with one character’s story, only to be yanked away from them to the other character at the worst time, so of course I had to keep reading!The character development here is top shelf. Maya isn’t exactly a Chosen One, which I love, but she does have something special about her—something Wexler teases us with yet stubbornly leaves for a future book to explore further. Well done! In addition to the growth that Maya and Gyre experience, several of the supporting cast also grow. In particular, Tanax begins the story as a very stereotypical antagonist, and I was concerned that’s all he would remain. Yet his growth is some of the most impressive, most realistic of the entire book. The only character who truly remains static and somewhat melodramatic is Naumoriel, in my opinion, with his grating “boy” and “girl” every time he tries to sound condescending. Ok, boomer.And then we have the romance. As you may know, I’m aromantic, and romance in books tends to do little for me. At best I just ignore it. Yet Maya and Beq??? SO ADORABLE. That’s all I‘m going to say about that, really, except for two addenda: this is an f/f relationship (to be clear); also, this book very explicitly mentions masturbation and we need more of that kind of honesty. Ashes of the Sun has a kind of relentlessly queer undercurrent to it, and unlike some books where that’s the case, none of the bad guys ever stoop to homophobia as a way of insulting or belittling the protagonists. At one point, we learn that Maya’s mentor taught her that people might be attracted to men, women, both, or neither—hello shoutout to asexuality (even if the phrasing does perpetuate a gender binary)! All in all, I love the way Wexler handles the romance and sexuality in this book.If I haven’t given you enough reasons yet to read Ashes of the Sun, I don’t know what else to say. This is one of the most original fantasy books I’ve read in ages. I love how it ends; I want to read a sequel, which apparently isn’t far off; I even fell for the romance. How’s that for a trifecta?
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    I'd rate this at somewhere between 2.5 and 3 stars. Though it certainly has potential and I'm more than a little interested in seeing what happens next I'm not sure the world building or even characters were really here for me to get super into the story.I like the concept a lot. The world of Ashes of the Sun is one built on the bones of an ancient war. 400 years ago the Chosen and the Ghouls fought it out for world supremacy and the Chosen lost and the Ghouls vanished. They left behind amazing I'd rate this at somewhere between 2.5 and 3 stars. Though it certainly has potential and I'm more than a little interested in seeing what happens next I'm not sure the world building or even characters were really here for me to get super into the story.I like the concept a lot. The world of Ashes of the Sun is one built on the bones of an ancient war. 400 years ago the Chosen and the Ghouls fought it out for world supremacy and the Chosen lost and the Ghouls vanished. They left behind amazing and mysterious technology only the Chosen and their heirs can use and the remnants of dhaka, a strange, organic Ghoul magic. Now society is kept under control by The Twilight Order and their Centarchs (wielders of Chosen power that allows them to use Chosen tech). The Order works to maintain peace, but their numbers have dwindled over the years and things are pretty chaotic. Lots of people live in abject poverty underground and a very small merchant, nobility class basically hoards everything and keeps the masses enslaved to their factories and mines.So into that world are thrust siblings Maya and Gyre. When Maya is five years old she's taken by the Centarchs who correctly identify her chronic illnesses as a sign that she's a wielder of Chosen power. Gyre attempts to stop them and his horribly mutilated as a result. Years pass and Maya becomes a powerful Centarch apprentice and Gyre is a respected member of a group of bandits who are kinda sorta also freedom fighters with no real goals.That's unfortunately where things kind of fall apart for me. Despite an interesting idea for a setting and some fascinating pre-story historical tidbits we never really learn much about the Chosen or the Ghouls or the war or what really happened versus what everyone believes. The people who are anti-Twilight Order don't really have a better idea for how the world should work they just sort of abstractly believe the order is evil. The Order isn't evil or good really, its just a bunch of mildly ineffective scholars who send people out on missions to fight monsters and argue among themselves. Its not even very clear how, with so few of them, they even manage to stay in power. I think we're meant to feel that Gyre and Maya are truly pitted against each other in a Civil War level rivalry but Gyre's total lack of motivation beyond "they took my sister" make his blood thirsty desire to basically end the world seem kind of insane and Maya, who seems to be a really good person, kind of sort of figures out that not everyone in the Order is a good person but honestly most of them seem to be and they seem like they're trying to help people so I just didn't really get what was at stake. There just wasn't any true dramatic tension.What Django Wexler seems way more interested in is the sex lives of his characters. Because I sure learned a heck of a lot about Maya's crush on her companion Baq and Gyre's firey flirting with the more than mildly sociopathic Kit. I have some hope that Wexler will get more in depth on the actual story in the second book, which I would like to read but alas, this promising concept loses almost all of its punch to star crossed love affairs and half hearted sibling rivalry. I would, at least, like to know what happens next.
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  • Traveling Cloak
    January 1, 1970
    Django Wexler really shows off his writing chops with Ashes of the Sun. The characters are deep, the world building is really intriguing, and the storyline is full of tension and fun literary tropes which kept me reading put me in a place where I did not want to put the book down.The story follows two main characters, and guess what… THEY ARE BROTHER AND SISTER SEPARATED WHEN THEY WERE YOUNG. Love this trope, which is most often seen in YA-type novels. (Ashes of the Sun does not quite read as YA Django Wexler really shows off his writing chops with Ashes of the Sun. The characters are deep, the world building is really intriguing, and the storyline is full of tension and fun literary tropes which kept me reading put me in a place where I did not want to put the book down.The story follows two main characters, and guess what… THEY ARE BROTHER AND SISTER SEPARATED WHEN THEY WERE YOUNG. Love this trope, which is most often seen in YA-type novels. (Ashes of the Sun does not quite read as YA to me and is not labeled as such, but I would not argue with you if you told me it was.) What makes this narrative even more intriguing is the fact that each sibling is on the other side of a political rivalry: Maya works for The Twilight Order, and Gyre is part of the rebellion. The rebellion exists to destroy The Twilight Order for their oppressive tactics. When circumstances place Gyre and Maya face-to-face each has a choice to make: fealty to the cause or loyalty to family. With everything the two experience in this book, they become really emotionally deep characters.The supporting characters are great, too. There is a slow-burn F/F romance, and a not as slow M/F relationship for which I hesitate to use the word “romance”. There are ghouls, and humans that are loyal to both Gyre and Maya. Some are instigators and some are stabilizing characters. It is a diverse character set, which makes for a fun book.This type of story line keeps my interest because of its depth; really, there are three separate narratives to follow. Gyre and Maya each have their own separate arc, and there is the overall story of the ongoing war between the two sides. Often these three storylines collide and the result is epic. This is where the tension comes from, and tension creates intrigue. As a reader, I just always wanted to keep reading because there was always a feeling of what is going to happen next?There is so much history in this book that also contributes to this feeling, as well, and the world building really speaks to that point. The ongoing war is comprised of humans and ghouls (with some humans on the ghouls’ side, as well), but there is also a group called The Chosen that used to be part of this war. The Chosen were wiped out a long time ago, but passed their magical artifacts on to humans along with a set of instructions about how to govern. I love the history, and how relevant it is to the current storyline. Again, this setup makes the book even deeper.The magic in the book is really cool, also. Members of The Twilight Order are able to conjure magic (which they call deiat) through magical artifacts that are basically hilts of swords. It comes in a different form for each person (Maya’s takes the form of fire, for instance), and I almost get the picture of a Star Wars light saber. One big difference is that the magic does not stay in sword form, as the user can extend it and bend it into pretty much any shape they want and even shoot it it out. It makes for really awesome battles, especially against the ghouls who have a lot of crazy technology they use to fight.All in, Ashes of the Sun is a really good read. The storyline is full of tension and intrigue, the world building is really neat, it has fun and diverse character set, and the magic is cool. I definitely recommend this book for fans of fantasy.
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  • Kahlia
    January 1, 1970
    I'm an only child who loves stories about other people's complicated sibling relationships, which is what originally drew me to this book. Ashes of the Sun alternates between Gyre and Maya's POVs, and while we don't see a lot of them interacting with each other in this book, the set up for the broader conflict was fantastic and kept me engaged all the way through. The author notes Star Wars as an inspiration, which is clear in the world-building (in which the Twilight Order, made up of heirs of I'm an only child who loves stories about other people's complicated sibling relationships, which is what originally drew me to this book. Ashes of the Sun alternates between Gyre and Maya's POVs, and while we don't see a lot of them interacting with each other in this book, the set up for the broader conflict was fantastic and kept me engaged all the way through. The author notes Star Wars as an inspiration, which is clear in the world-building (in which the Twilight Order, made up of heirs of the former magic-wielding Chosen, is responsible for protecting the Republic) and also the use of lightsaber like weapons, but this book takes the premise to a really interesting moral place - at what point does protection become a form of subjugation in its own right? And how ethical is it for a single group to regulate the use of magic, even if they use it for the greater good? With one sibling on each side of this divide, I look forward to seeing them wrestle with these questions in future books.In addition, this book features a really sweet f/f romance (and a less sweet, but highly entertaining m/f one) and a begrudging ally (my favourite kind). There are also the plagueborn - mutant, ever-evolving creatures that the Twilight Order defends against, but which I literally pictured as giant, plague-ridden rats. While there are no plagues in this book, it's probably an unfortunate time for your main monsters to have such connotations. If I have one complaint, it's that this book could have been 50-100 pages shorter - the fight scenes are a little more detailed than they need to be, and some events feel rather drawn out - but overall, I highly recommend this one and am looking forward to the sequel.Note: I received an ARC from the publisher (Head of Zeus) in exchange for this review.
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest reviewMy Rating: 4 StarsLet me just start by saying this: I don't remember the last time a completely new TO ME author pulled me into a new world so quickly. Usually when being introduced to both a new author and a new world at the same time, it takes me a while to adapt to both the writing style and the magic system.  Ashes of the Sun, however, managed to suck me in immediately. A lot of first books in a series suffer from slower pacing a I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest reviewMy Rating: 4 StarsLet me just start by saying this: I don't remember the last time a completely new TO ME author pulled me into a new world so quickly. Usually when being introduced to both a new author and a new world at the same time, it takes me a while to adapt to both the writing style and the magic system.  Ashes of the Sun, however, managed to suck me in immediately. A lot of first books in a series suffer from slower pacing as the author tries to establish the world and magic system. Somehow, Wexler skipped over that and wrote a book that had me instantly intrigued and not at all confused by the new realm I was exploring. I found both main characters, Maya and Gyre to be immensely likable and so completely different. Having been separated twelve years prior to the main events of the book, they were living unimaginably different lives. Normally when I'm reading a book with multiple POVs, I am more interested in one POV than the other. In this book I honestly can say that I enjoyed both main characters equally. Even the supporting cast was fascinating, fun and held my interest. Their anecdotes had me laughing and I was endeared enough to all of them that I found myself hoping for my favorites to survive. Ashes of the Sun was full of action full of unique fights that didn't drag on too long or get too confusing. The pacing was fast, keeping me fully invested from beginning to end. If you're looking for an amazing new fantasy series that will keep you on your toes, look no further! 
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  • Kaffeeklatsch and Books
    January 1, 1970
    It appears that my opinion is going to be an unpopular one.I was anticipating "Ashes of Sun", but was quite disappointed. My eARC didn't come with a cover, map or glossary, but I've found that other reviewers copies did come with a glossary. I had a hard time imagining the creatures and world and I found some names extremely cringy - "Suddenstorm" and "Thousandcuts" and "unmetal" to name a few made me roll my eyes.The writing felt more YA to me than the epic adult fantasy I expected.The plot is It appears that my opinion is going to be an unpopular one.I was anticipating "Ashes of Sun", but was quite disappointed. My eARC didn't come with a cover, map or glossary, but I've found that other reviewers copies did come with a glossary. I had a hard time imagining the creatures and world and I found some names extremely cringy - "Suddenstorm" and "Thousandcuts" and "unmetal" to name a few made me roll my eyes.The writing felt more YA to me than the epic adult fantasy I expected.The plot is loose and we get mission after mission with no real goal in mind (except Gyre wanting to take down everyone). It doesn't feel tied together enough.Maya was the most interesting character and all the side characters never felt fleshed out enough for me to care if they lived or died (and die they did).I believe that many people will enjoy this book as the ideas altogether are very good, but I'd urge the publishers to add maps and maybe some illustrations to make sure readers aren't as confused as I was and this ultimately didn't make for a good reading experience.Thank you Head of Zeus and Netgalley for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kristjan
    January 1, 1970
    First Impression: The prologue gave me the strong start to a story that I have not encountered in years. Then you find an alternating POV that slowly reveals an incredible world while developing the background of the two main characters. Many of the more recent stories that I have read rely heavily on “info dumps” to jump start the world building and context for the main plot; that is not something I appreciate much. Of course, many other readers have exactly the opposite opinion, which I am sur First Impression: The prologue gave me the strong start to a story that I have not encountered in years. Then you find an alternating POV that slowly reveals an incredible world while developing the background of the two main characters. Many of the more recent stories that I have read rely heavily on “info dumps” to jump start the world building and context for the main plot; that is not something I appreciate much. Of course, many other readers have exactly the opposite opinion, which I am sure is why such continues to be popular. If you are somebody who does not enjoy the ambiguity of a slowly revealed world, you can jump to the back and read through the glossary (where IMHO info dumps belong) and then come back to enjoy this remarkable world as it unfolds.Final Impression: This is an exemplar of the writer’s craft. The author gives us a vivid dystopian world with just a touch of Lovecraftian horror and a built in conflict between the creative powers of elemental magic and life itself … highlighting the corruptive potential of both. Each character encounter revealed just a little bit more of this fascinating world, giving just enough detail to provide the context needed to support the character’s story. Bottomline … I believe the world building here is second to none. Now add the people. Nobody is the villain in their own story. As the author develops the conflict between siblings who suffered a painful separation as children, I find myself empathizing with both of them, which makes the conflict here all the more tragic. By the end, I could see how each of them had developed and grown until the end of their redemptive arc could be seen on the horizon (sequels)? What sets this story apart from many though, is the detail and individuality put into the supporting cast … with whom I could identify as well. All of the characters were flawed. All of the characters had some redeemable value. That all combines to make this story all the more real to me and I absolutely loved it.The author notes in his acknowledgements that this book was subject to extensive writes and editing, with large portions of it eventually being tossed out … and all of the hard work paid off. This is one of the few books in recent memory that now sits on my favorites shelf while I anxiously await the sequel.I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.#AshesOfTheSun #NetGalley
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  • Tam
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastic read, lots of fun, and very easy to binge. Highly recommend. Full review to come
  • Kopratic
    January 1, 1970
    Ashes of the Sun by Django Wexler is an action-packed adventure that keeps the pages turning. We see the heart-wrenching separation of two siblings as Maya is practically ripped away from her family and her brother, Gyre. Years later, we meet back up with them. Maya is nearing the end of her training to become a centarch of the Twilight Order, the same group who took her away when she was only 5. Gyre has gained a reputation for being a rebel in a small group of people dedicated to bringing down Ashes of the Sun by Django Wexler is an action-packed adventure that keeps the pages turning. We see the heart-wrenching separation of two siblings as Maya is practically ripped away from her family and her brother, Gyre. Years later, we meet back up with them. Maya is nearing the end of her training to become a centarch of the Twilight Order, the same group who took her away when she was only 5. Gyre has gained a reputation for being a rebel in a small group of people dedicated to bringing down the Order.Through Maya’s perspective, we watch as she grapples with upholding the values of the Order while also dealing with falling head over heels for another young woman, Beq. Separated from her master (the one who has been training her), she must go on a mission with Beq, Varo, and Tanax — all people she has never worked with before. Her parts show that the Order maybe isn’t the ultimate face of evil and oppression like we might have assumed in the beginning. Varo, for example, provides some great deadpan humor that juxtaposes nicely with the tension between Maya and Tanax, who are on opposite sides of the Order.From Gyre’s point of view, we see the bitterness he has allowed to well up inside of him. He has used it to further his cause to bring the Order down. He and his teammates believe that there is a major disconnect between what the Order thinks it’s doing and what is actually happening. Politics are certainly at play here. The book has excellent action sequences. If you’ve got a visual imagination, reading the scenes is like watching a movie. The detail isn’t overwhelming, but it’s enough to still give a clear picture. For instance, I particularly enjoyed the scene where Gyre meets Kit for the first time, running from the Auxies (essentially guardsmen). It introduces Kit brilliantly as a no-nonsense, all-thrills young woman who isn’t afraid to take some risks. This book moves quickly and is incredibly readable. Some of the chapters are relatively long at 30+ pages, but they honestly flew by. I couldn’t put it down. The pacing was very well done in this regard. There was always something happening, whether it be world development or character, relationship, etc. development. Not once did I think, “Why is this here?” The scenes where Maya struggles with her feelings for Beq, hoping they’ll be reciprocated? (As a side note, the LGBTQ+ aspect of the novel is accepted in the world at large. It’s a part of some people’s characters but is not their defining aspect as people.) The internal tension is palpable and amazing to read. Kit having a heart-to-heart with Gyre? Yes, please. There’s a glossary in the back, which while not strictly necessary, does add some flavor to the already impressive world-building. We’re thrown right in and follow two characters already familiar with most of the world, but everything is fairly easy to follow. Answers are there. The world feels lived in and complex without the story itself being overly complicated. It’s a great balance.Overall, I was highly impressed. Ashes of the Sun is a book I definitely recommend. The just honestly fun action mixed with the amount of depth in the world and characters and relationships make this large tome super accessible. (I received an ARC provided by the publisher. Ashes of the Sun by Django Wexler will be published on July 21, 2020. This review was originally published at The Fantasy Inn blog.)
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  • Adeel
    January 1, 1970
    Ashes of the Sun by Django Wexler is the first book in the Burning Blade and Silver Eye series. It's also my first time reading anything by Django Wexler and I am super impressed by the writing, world building, and the characters he has created in this book. It was an electrifying fast paced epic fantasy novel with so many nail biting moments.The story begins with with two children play fighting on their farm. They are siblings Gyre and his little sister Maya. Gyre loves his sister more than any Ashes of the Sun by Django Wexler is the first book in the Burning Blade and Silver Eye series. It's also my first time reading anything by Django Wexler and I am super impressed by the writing, world building, and the characters he has created in this book. It was an electrifying fast paced epic fantasy novel with so many nail biting moments.The story begins with with two children play fighting on their farm. They are siblings Gyre and his little sister Maya. Gyre loves his sister more than anything in the world and would do anything to protect her. However, tragedy occurs when Va'aht Thousandcuts arrives on their farm to take Maya away. Maya has been suffering from an unknown illness and Va'aht wants to take her away in order to help her. Upon seeing his sister crying and screaming at the prospect of leaving her family, Gyre stabs Va'aht in the leg. Even though Gyre is 8 years old the centarch gives zero f***s and slashes Gyre with his Hakan leaving Gyre with a horrific scar on his face and eye."Vaaht put his hand on his haken. He didn't draw the weapon, just touched it, and crooked one finger.Pain exploded in Gyre's head, a line of fire from cheek to eyebrow."Fast forward twelve years later and so much has changed for both Maya and Gyre. Gyre is now known as "Halfmask" as he wears a mask on the side of his face to cover the scar gained at the hands of Va'aht. Gyre is very much anti Twilight Order and anti authority. He finds himself now working with a rebel group led by Yaro. They aim to simply cause chaos and take down The Twilight Order and wipe them off the face of the earth. Inside of Gyre there is nothing but anger towards the authority. He wants to find a secret power that would give those who are not part of the Order the upper hand.The Twilight Order are sort of like the Knights of Camelot meets Jedis. They preserve order and carry out the traditions of The Chosen. The Chosen were people who defeated the ghouls but died out due to a plague that was released on the empire. Centarchs and Agathios have their own Haken which is sort of like a lightsaber. Through the Haken individuals can channel "deiat" which is a power different to every individual."Every centarch manifested dait differently-as lightning. ice. raw force, or subtle energies. For Maya, it has always been fire. Deity was the fire of creation, the raw power of the universe."Anyway, Maya on the other hand is living on the different side of the spectrum. She is no longer ill having had an arcana implanted in her chest which she simply calls "The Thing" She is also now an "agathios". This means she is training to become a centarch. Maya travels with her mentor and centarch, Jaedia Suddenstorm who is like a mother figure to Maya. Jaedia has taught Maya to be kind towards the people and do what she can to keep humanity safe.One thing that I really enjoyed was the contrast between Gyre and Maya. The story is told from the POV of both of them as they navigate through the world. They are complicated individuals who have their own personal struggles that they must deal with.Gyre is someone who you could say is on the cusp of the dark side. Due to his anger at The Order for breaking apart his family, Gyre is willing to cross the line. At the same time Gyre is also an ambitious individual that wants to grasp the power to change the empire. He believes that the Twilight Order are only benefiting for themselves as the rest of the people suffer and live in poverty.On the other hand we have Maya who has grown up as part of the Twilight Order and has not seen her family since being taken away. She believes in the cause of the Order and is committed to becoming a centarch. In doing so, Maya aims to serve the people and protect them against bad people and creatures such as plaguespawn and ghouls.Now you'd think Maya has been living the kush life and everything is fine and dandy, but it's definitely not. As the story goes on Maya's opinion of the Twilight Order is tested greatly as she uncovers corruption and the way those below the Order are treated. This makes it for a brilliant read as Maya must try to balance the truth that follows along with the values of being centarch.As expected both Gyre and Maya end up being reunited. Although both siblings love each other they are definitely tested as each of them is on different sides.Other than the characters of Maya and Gyre, there are a wide range of absolutely phenomenal supporting characters who shine in this novel. My personal favourite is most definitely Kit Doomseeker who was such a fun and a exciting character. There's a lot of mystery surrounding her which adds to the intrigue. I also loved her dialogue and chemistry with Gyre. Both of them really bounce off each other and the chemistry was magnificent."Having second thoughts" Kit said cheerfully, coming up behind him. Just contemplating freezing my balls off," Gyre murdered I Suppose I've got one up on you their," Kit said."There's also the arcanist Beq who is the love interest of Maya. I really liked how their relationship wasn't rushed and super in your face. After meeting each other for the first time there's definitely a click but you can tell both of them are nervous about taking things further. Maya also has a mini rivalry with someone called Tanax who is really uptight and bossy. He is on the cusp of becoming a centarch so is pushes himself to do things by the rules. Varo the scout also adds a lot of humour to the story. He calls himself "Varo Plagueluck" and shares stories of how his friends have died."Mind you," Varo went on, "a friend of mine died that way. Turned out he was allergic to bee stings, and he swelled up like a balloonThat's terrible." Maya said, "Dunno. With his last words, he swore the honey was worth it."I also have to mention how great the writing style and world building was because boy did it catch my attention. Considering this book was around 525 pages you'd think it was going to be a drag but it most definitely was not. There was no over explaining or information dumping whatsoever. Django Wexler writing flows incredibly well and keeps you gripped from beginning to end. The way he describes things is immersive and makes you picture everything in your mind. BeThe world building in the novel is full of mystery that you just want to keep on digging. I loved the concept of The Twilight Order, Centarchs, and Agathios. It gave me a similar vibe to Star Wars especially Jadea who comes across as Obi Wan Kanobi with her calm and collective mannerisms. The monsters in the novel make your skin crawl too. Particularly the plague spawn who reminded me of the "Lickers" from Resident Evil games. I found the history behind the ghouls also really intriguing as they have basically been wiped out by the Order, or so they say.The glossary at the end of the book really helps in helping you understand the world and what things mean. Really glad the author included this.So my final thoughts, Ashes of the Sun is an ass kicker of a book with a story that sizzles. The action sequences were super exciting and gave the constant feeling of a standoff. I can't wait to see what else Django Wexler explores in the sequel.Thanks once again to Angela and the Orbit team for sending me a copy of the book 😊.
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  • Zandt McCue
    January 1, 1970
    My experience reading this was one of pure frustration. I have a teething six-month-old and I couldn't figure out between the baby and the book which I wanted to be around less. I adore that little girl so imagine my feelings towards this book! I'm screaming on the inside. The author notes that this book was inspired or influenced by Star Wars novels by the likes of Timothy Zahn and Chuck Wendig. I can get behind that. I truly felt Star Wars vibes while reading this. There's also an ability a ch My experience reading this was one of pure frustration. I have a teething six-month-old and I couldn't figure out between the baby and the book which I wanted to be around less. I adore that little girl so imagine my feelings towards this book! I'm screaming on the inside. The author notes that this book was inspired or influenced by Star Wars novels by the likes of Timothy Zahn and Chuck Wendig. I can get behind that. I truly felt Star Wars vibes while reading this. There's also an ability a character gains later on which is basically foresight from Mistborn. This book is enjoyable. It is. You may think I'm crazy then after what I've said already but I am truly deeply torn over this. I have a feeling that I was reading an uncorrected proof of the book. Aside from the fact that there are general placeholders, the first few chapters have obvious mistakes and there are also word choices that I found odd. One paragraph had a sentence with the world trudged followed by a sentence with the word nudged. Another chapter nearby had a similar rhyme going on. Little things like that pulled me out of the story. Roughly two-thirds of the way through the book I felt it needed an editor. The irony of course is that the author thanks his editor in the acknowledgments. Ouch. The final villain of the book also has an "I can't wait to cut you to shreds" line right before the battle which made me groan. It's not as bad as when James Bond villains reveal their plans but there's no care put into it. I know it's not going to happen by the villain saying it will. The battle, with all the build-up the book gives you in trying to discover what is going on, only last around a page and a half. It's an afterthought in a book with tons of battles. The characters were great. One of the most important things is to have a great cast and no one disappointed. Every side character was equally fleshed out. I realized while I was reading that this is a world in which I wish I existed so that I could interact with these characters. I haven't felt this way since I read Harry Potter as a kid. I'm in my thirties so this is an extremely weird statement to be typing out but there it is. Kit was the one who did it for me. She was an absolute blast through and through. One piece of uniqueness that this book presented to me was that there was no clear good side or bad side. I know you're saying that a lot of media covers that. Not like this. See, at its core, it is a book about a brother and sister separated as children. One becomes a thief and underground legend who wants to tear down the Twilight Order because he believes they don't care for the general public. The other ended up working for the Twilight Order, an ancient group that has magic swords and special abilities they channel from within. Similar to the Force. Their purpose is to defend humanity. There are politics and internal struggles within the Order which we learn more about as the story continues. Each chapter flips between the two of them until the end where the stories merge and each takes half a section. Admittedly, Maya's story carried my interest more than Gyre's. If Kit wasn't in it I would probably suffer a lot more. Gyre and his crew don't have the personal connection that Maya's team had with me. They were all good characters but If I had to read a single book about one or the other, I would choose Maya in a heartbeat. Kit is my equivalent to Ahsoka, Gyre to Anakin. I can watch Ahsoka do anything but there's only so much Anakin I can take. Also, holy LGBT representation Batman!I don't think there has been any other work I have ever read where there were so many openly gay or bi characters. When you do first find that out it happens very quickly. There are a few chapters where you learn one person is a lesbian, and suddenly this other person is gay as well, and then even a minor character is into women, and then this person goes both ways. It's rapid-fire information but it doesn't feel forced. The fight scenes are plentiful. The author does a good job of making them descriptive but it was a detriment when the smallest battles of the story go on and on. There is also a lot of repetition. This is where I felt an editor should have stepped in. How often does a battle or event happen and then a character blacks out and wakes up somewhere? How often does Maya alone hit the floor after using up her powers? Does Drowning Pool need to make a song about her? Like the actual Star Wars movies, this isn't perfect. Will I follow the rest of the story when it comes out? Absolutely. There's that fence that I'm sitting on. I'm throwing all the negative out there so that you look past it when you read this. The mystery, the characters, the dueling stories, the genre-mixing..it makes a compelling read. This is an LGBT friendly Fantasy version of Star Wars without Space. There also are no Ewoks. There are some furry ghouls though.
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  • Jason Aycock
    January 1, 1970
    I wasn’t sure what to expect from Ashes of The Sun. I’d never read a Django Wexler story before. I knew from the book blurb that it was one of those siblings on opposite sides of a conflict tropes but that was about it. What I didn’t expect was Star Wars. Yep…Star Wars…just not in space. And I really enjoyed it.So, where to begin? I’ll tell you now and save the suspense, I was not blown away by this book. But I did thoroughly enjoy it. What I mean by that is it didn’t give me all the feels, it d I wasn’t sure what to expect from Ashes of The Sun. I’d never read a Django Wexler story before. I knew from the book blurb that it was one of those siblings on opposite sides of a conflict tropes but that was about it. What I didn’t expect was Star Wars. Yep…Star Wars…just not in space. And I really enjoyed it.So, where to begin? I’ll tell you now and save the suspense, I was not blown away by this book. But I did thoroughly enjoy it. What I mean by that is it didn’t give me all the feels, it didn’t have grand poetic prose, and it didn’t leave me on the edge of my seat in suspense. But it was some damn good adventurous fun with great action and inventive world building. And sometimes when the world is a trash fire all around you and you need an escape, this is the kind of book you need!Ashes of The Sun is told in an alternating POV style format following the story of Maya and Gyre, two siblings separated at a very young age. The cause and effect of that separation has put each on opposing sides of a political conflict that threatens to explode into an all-out-war. The format works really well for the story as the characters get closer and closer to crossing paths.Maya and Gyre are both well written and I enjoyed each storyline. Though if I’m honest I have to say I like Maya best. And that’s odd for me because I tend to like the “burn it all down” kind of rebel that is Gyre. I think maybe it was because he was just a little too whiny and negative at times. Gyre was still a likable character all around and his motivation really does fit him. Maya was more upbeat and just had more of a hopeful positive attitude. Maybe in the moment that’s what I needed most in a character when I was reading this. She’s also got a bit of the underdog trait going for her which I’m also a sucker for at times.There’s a core set of minor characters as well that I really came to like, Beq, the arcanist-trainee Maya develops a huge crush on, Varo the scout-trainee whose friends all seem to die in wild ways, and Kit the Doomseeker who opens Gyre’s eyes to a wider more dangerous world. Each was a welcome and entertaining addition to the story.Where the book really excels is in the world building. It’s imaginative and engrossing. Centuries after an epic war fought between very powerful forces the people of this world are still dealing with the fallout. This was a war fought between the Ghouls and the Chosen, two sets of powerful beings who ruled over the world. Each used powerful artifacts powered by dhaka, a supernatural power and deiat, the power of creation. These included huge artificial constructs (automatons) and skyships. After the war the ghouls and Chosen vanished, leaving humans behind to make their way in a world filled with plaguesspawn created by dhaka still existent in the world. They do so with the help of the Twilight Order and various arcana powered by deiat like the haken and blasters (more below). Only the Twilight Order isn’t universally loved as Gyre will attest to. It’s a world still struggling with the aftermath of that great war, one with great wealth and poverty, one ready to be set on fire once again.But the most interesting aspect of the world building for me are the parts that are unmistakably borrowed from Star Wars. Now, I know some will say this is lazy world building or just stealing from another story already told. Maybe. But EVERY author is influenced by other stories and at some point they’ve all borrowed something. And this something was really cool.So here’s a breakdown of some of those influences:-A Jedi inspired group of masters and apprentices called The Twilight Order-Jedi Master inspired Centarchs-Jedi Council inspired Kyriliarchs-Padawan inspired agathios-Lightsaber inspired haken with blades of energy that form out of the hilt-Blaster inspired blasters-Stormtrooper inspired legionaries wearing “unmetal” white armorI could probably take this further. The Dawn Republic might have similarities to a pre-Empire but that may be a stretch at this point. There’s also sort of a dual force wielding thing between Ghouls/Chosen but that implies a level of evil vs good that I can’t say exists in this book. Anyway, I loved these influences, however heavily borrowed they are. It was really cool to see them in a non-space setting.Wexler’s writing was just what you’d want for a book like this. Overall it was engaging, and kept you turning pages. It was replete with action scenes that were fast paced and exciting. The dialogue (inner and outer) flowed without hiccups and was at times very amusing. There was just enough foreshadowing that you could see where the story was going without it giving everything away. And importantly for me there wasn’t much in the way of info dumps.As themes go the one that stood out the most to me was that of good vs evil where the truth is somewhat muddied. At a surface level it would seem what is good and evil in this world is clear. But as is the case with the real world, the truth is people and institutions don’t really fall entirely within one category or the other. What is good or evil is often in the eye of the beholder, or in mouth of the storyteller. This is really at the heart of Ashes of The Sun and plays a major role in the motivations, desires, and conflicts of the characters.Let me also say a quick something about that cover. I am a sucker for a good cover and this one is outstanding! That person staring up at the sky amidst the waterfall streaming ruins of a fallen empire? Yes…that is just…well…it screams buy me.So what are my overall thoughts? Ashes of The Sun is page turning fantasy at its best: fast paced and entertaining with exciting story arcs, fanciful world building, powerful magic, and characters you’ll love to follow. It was just the right book for me in these chaotic days to help pull my mind away and take me to another world.I was sent an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book by the publisher.
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  • Veronica
    January 1, 1970
    I have never read anything by this author before so I really didn't know what to expect. However, I did make the assumption that it would just be an "okay" fantasy novel because I tend to compare them to classic fantasy novels/series. It is definitely not fair but there you go. Needless to say, I was dead wrong.The story revolves around Maya and Gyre who are two siblings growing up on a farm. Life would be fine aside from the fact that Maya suffers from a recurring illness that no one seems to b I have never read anything by this author before so I really didn't know what to expect. However, I did make the assumption that it would just be an "okay" fantasy novel because I tend to compare them to classic fantasy novels/series. It is definitely not fair but there you go. Needless to say, I was dead wrong.The story revolves around Maya and Gyre who are two siblings growing up on a farm. Life would be fine aside from the fact that Maya suffers from a recurring illness that no one seems to be able to cure. Her older brother, Gyre, is very caring and protective of her. One day, a Centarch of the Twilight Order (don't worry, there is a glossary to straighten things out) arrives offering to cure Maya but there is a catch. She must leave her family and go away with him. Gyre is understandably upset and unsuccessfully attempts to stop the Centarch from taking Maya but at the cost of losing an eye and gaining a scar across half of his face. Fast forward a few years later, Gyre has vowed revenge on the order and Maya is in training to become a Centarch herself. In the course of their separate lives, Maya and Gyre finally meet again and realize that they are now on opposite sides. This book literally blew me away. It is fantasy but it also has elements of science fiction as well with regards to the type of weapons, magic, and unbelievable creatures. I loved how the chapters alternated between Maya and Gyre and I have to admit that I absolutely loved Maya's character who is a member of the LGBTQ community. I am not a member myself but I do support the community and the way he developed her character with her crushes and feelings was so sweet and touching. The World he created is so very complex and developed which I love in a fantasy novel and the glossary helped me navigate through the book. The writing is fast paced and there is a bit of gore but not overly so. I really did enjoy reading this and am looking forward to the next book in the series.
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