Ascendant Kingdoms #1
Publisher: Orbit Books
Characters: Blaine, Connor, Kestel, Verran, Piran, Dawe, Penhallow, Geir
Genre: High Fantasy, Series
Condemned as a murderer for killing the man who dishonored his sister, Blaine “Mick” McFadden has spent the last six years in Velant, a penal colony in the frigid northern wastelands of Edgeland. Harsh military discipline and the oppressive magic of the governor’s mages keep a fragile peace as colonists struggle against a hostile environment. But the supply ships from Dondareth have stopped coming, boding ill for the kingdom that banished the colonists.
Now, McFadden and the people of Velant decide their fate. They can remain in their icy prison, removed from the devastation of the outside world, but facing a subsistence-level existence, or they can return to the ruins of the kingdom that they once called home. Either way, destruction lies ahead…
I loved the first in this series. The world building is fabulous and rich in history, and despite it being a long book, it was a fairly quick read as I got pulled into the story, and didn’t want to put it down. I liked the impact of the loss of magic impacted the land, with so many used to using it even for the little things, and the thought that went into all of it.
The characters are flawed, which I love, and not your average heroes. The sense of made family is something I enjoy in stories, and I liked how they’d managed to make a life together and have each other’s backs. Each of them brings something to their group with their different personalities and skill sets. Connor provides a good contrast as the outsider coming into the group, with his different background, and experiences. I like the way they all fit together.
I’ve always had a weakness for stories that feature vampires and I’m already a fan of Penhallow and Geir.
On the flip side, the bad guys are a real threat, and come across very well as nasty pieces of work.
The story kept me turning pages, and as soon as I’d finished I had to get hold of book 2, despite my already large TBR pile.
5 out of 5 stars.