Reviewed by Dan
TITLE: Ash and Echoes
SERIES: Blessed Epoch Book 1
AUTHOR: August Li
PUBLISHER: DSP Publications
LENGTH: 360 Pages
RELEASE DATE: December 9, 2014
For the past few years Yarroway L’Estrella has lived in exile, gathering arcane power. But that power came at a price, and he carries the scars to prove it. Now he must do his duty: his uncle, the king, needs him to escort Prince Garith to his wedding, a union that will create an alliance between the two strongest countries in the known world. But Yarrow isn’t the prince’s only guard. A whole company of knights is assigned to the mission, and Yarrow’s not sure he trusts their leader.
Knight Duncan Purefroy isn’t sure he trusts Yarrow either, but after a bizarre occurrence during their travels, they have no choice but to work together—especially since the incident also reveals a disturbing secret, one that might threaten the entire kingdom.
The precarious alliance is strained further when a third member joins the cause for reasons of his own—reasons that may not be in the best interests of the prince or the kingdom. With enemies at every turn, no one left to trust, and the dark power within Yarrow pulling dangerously away from his control, the fragile bond the three of them have built may be all that stands between them and destruction.
I purposely requested this book so that I could read and review it based solely on the blurb. It popped up in my ‘recommended’ line on Amazon and after reading the blurb, I added it to my review list.
I liked the concept of this story. The three main characters, each with his own issues, being brought together on a common mission. The execution, in some spots was a little too simplistic, and in others, unnecessarily complex, in my opinion. Others might not agree, but I want to explain why I felt like I did. The worldbuilding wasn’t as strong as I would have liked. I never got more than a vague impression of the lands in the story, and characters sometimes didn’t have enough background, or the backgrounds seemed a little underdone or just strange. I’ll keep it honest and say that most of the head scratching I did in the beginning of the book was answered during the course of the read, but some things still felt a little too pat. For example, the trust shown by the assassin when they went to the assassin guild’s most secret location. I didn’t think it fit with the assassin guild’s mindset that the guy had at the time.
The story had a slow build, and I’ll continue to keep it honest and tell you I put it down half way through and read two other books, before picking it back up to finish. I think the story picked up as it went along and after the way this one ended, I’m curious enough with the continuing story that I will pick up book two when I have time and continue the story.
I’m going to rate it 3.5 on our scale, meaning I liked it, and it was above average. It didn’t completely wow me, but the series has potential, in my opinion.