Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri
What I drank prior: so many different things. Im in Ann Arbor with Sam and Parker and there were plenty of gimlets, and strawberry mules, and beers.
The fate of an empire rests in the hands of a young woman with magical blood and nothing left to lose, and an outcast prince determined to save his family at any cost, in this “dark, melodious, and memorable” new fantasy (Library Journal, starred review) from the author of the award-winning Empire of Sand.
The Ambhan Empire is crumbling. A terrible war of succession hovers on the horizon. The only hope for peace lies in the mysterious realm of ash, where mortals can find what they seek in the echoes of their ancestors’ dreams. But to walk there requires a steep price.
Arwa is determined to make the journey. Widowed by a brutal massacre, she’s pledged service to the royal family and will see that pledge through to the end. She never expected to be joined by Zahir, the disgraced, illegitimate prince who has turned to forbidden magic in a desperate bid to save those he loves.
Together, they’ll walk the bloody path of their shared past. And it will call into question everything they’ve ever believed…including whether the Empire is worth saving at all.
Drunk Overview: Arwa is the widow of a general with blood that protects her from demons. She travels to the widows estate and quickly becomes embroiled (and moced to a new location) in a plot to go into the dream world to try to get the knowledge of the recently dead god.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: its been a while since I read the first book in this series so it took me a while to put together how everything fit. Arwa was raised as if she didnt have any foreigner blood which made large portions of her life much harder. Shes dealing with learning aboit her ancestry while also searching the Realm Of Ash for more information which I kind of wish there was an easier way to understand
Characters: Arwa is a very different character from Mehr in so many ways that make this book interesting. Mehr was a character who was always trying to preserve her culture whole Arwa is someone who never really had the right to call any culture her own but is slowly but surely discovering her ancestry, what it means, and how to move forward. It makes a number of the decisions in this book kore difficult as she struggles between the two culture she knows. There are some other really interesting morally grey characters including her mentor at the widows home (who turns out to have less power elsewhere) and the bastard lrince that she meets. I was charmed by him in the book but there are times where I wonder how much of the chemostry between him and Arwa is due to the stark differences between him and her dead husband.
Plot: the beautiful thing aboit a book like this is that its based in a history that I dont fully know. The history and lore in this story is so incredibly interesting and while it mirrors some of what I’ve 3xperienced and know its at the same time still cery different. The big surprise was how little time was spent at the widows retreat. The plot kept moving and the intrigue at the palace could fill so many books! Igh. I love seeing the beginning of a new religion/cult.
Writing Style: god. This so feels like a fantasy world. The magic feels beautifully interwoven, and while I didnt quite understand how the ash road works, it was fun to be with a character who was learning everything at the rate we were. This is one of those books where I would love to get a hand on the historic texts from this world.
World building: a lot of the world was already ser, zo a lot of the magic alreadh had its roots. But I did really enjoy the ways of the court and giw Arwa had to deal with living in the Capital city and beyond.
What to pair it with: old fashioned. Bold flavors with a slight burn
Rating: 5/5 Shots