Ashlords by Scott Reintgen
Reviewed by Sam!
**We received an early copy of this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. We’d like to thank Scott and Crown Books for Young Readers for the opportunity. This book comes out on Jan 21 and you can pre-order it here or at your local independent bookstore**
What I drank prior: So, Ginny, her folks, and I went to the DC Cooking Show and they have a boozie tasting thing… so we got supes drunk and then came home and watched Disney+ all night.
Red Rising meets The Scorpio Races in this epic fantasy following three phoenix horse riders–skilled at alchemy–who must compete at The Races–the modern spectacle that has replaced warfare within their empire.
Every year since the Ashlords were gifted phoenix horses by their gods, they’ve raced them. First into battle, then on great hunts, and finally for the pure sport of seeing who rode the fastest. Centuries of blood and fire carved their competition into a more modern spectacle: The Races.
Over the course of a multi-day event, elite riders from clashing cultures vie to be crowned champion. But the modern version of the sport requires more than good riding. Competitors must be skilled at creating and controlling phoenix horses made of ash and alchemy, which are summoned back to life each sunrise with uniquely crafted powers to cover impossible distances and challenges before bursting into flames at sunset. But good alchemy only matters if a rider knows how to defend their phoenix horse at night. Murder is outlawed, but breaking bones and poisoning ashes? That’s all legal and encouraged.
In this year’s Races, eleven riders will compete, but three of them have more to lose than the rest–a champion’s daughter, a scholarship entrant, and a revolutionary’s son. Who will attain their own dream of glory? Or will they all flame out in defeat?
Spoiler-free Overview: So in this world, there are two…. classes(?)…. of people…. The super rich and the poor. There are also the “rich” that broke away and don’t follow the religion anymore. In this world… there are literally fire horses, AKA phoenixes. In the morning, they burst from the ashes, formed with the other substances to make cool pokemon er wait, phoenixes. ANYWAY, there is a race every year, a phoenix race. Our story follows a rich chick, the daughter of two previous winners; a rebel dudeman; and a poor chick. Shit goes from there.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. While I really wished that the characters we got POVs from interacted more, I still loved it and audibly gasped a few times.
Characters: So…. I finished this a week ago or so, and the more removed I am from it, I love them more and more. Listen, Imelda, my broody boy (i forget his name), and my privileged chick are my kids. They all have some issues, but we truly and honestly understand them and their choices. z’ooooomg i love them so much.
Plot: Look I really wish I cared about all the stories but I don’t. I only care about Imelda. But is also love how all the stories are interconnected but not so much that they actually connect each other. Pipa’s story is writted (lol, writted) in second person which wierdex me out. BREAK —- I wrote that when I was maudlin, I’m not maudlin anymore. While the plot was less interesting than I’d hoped (because they rarely interact), this is a flipping beautiful character driven story.
Writing Style: I love Scott’s writing. He gets me interested immediately. Every time.
World Building: Can I get to know more about phoenixes yet?! I know I get a bunch of it in the story but i seriously want more. SO MUCH MORE.
What to pair it with: This is clearly fireball. IF you want to tone it down, Fireball and warm apple cider, but also FIREBALL. Right?
Also – Scott said he’d pair it with Smoked Old Fashioned, which is WAY better pairing than what I am up with.
Rating: 4/5 Shots
Until next time, we remain forever drunkenly yours,