Ascendent Kingdoms #2
Publisher: Orbit Books
Characters: Blaine, Connor, Kestel, Verran, Piran, Dawe, Penhallow, Geir
Genre: High Fantasy, Series
Survival is just the beginning.
Blaine McFadden endured six long years in the brutal Velant prison colony, exiled for murder. War devastated his homeland of Donderath and destroyed the magic on which the Ascendant Kingdoms relied. Now Blaine and a small group of fellow exiles have returned to a lawless wasteland, where unrestrained magic storms wreak havoc and monsters roam free.
Yet, amidst the chaos, rumors persist of a new magic that could restore the kingdoms. But the key lies with a dangerous, ancient ritual and a group of vanished survivors. Now McFadden’s only hope is a small, desperate, quickly rallied army. Together they must make one last stand knowing that if they fail, the civilization of the Ascendant Kingdoms dies with them.
Although this is a long book, it didn’t feel like a long read as I found myself turning pages to find out what happened next. I enjoyed reading more about the characters and world introduced in the first book. The world building is fabulous, and I particularly enjoyed the magic system, and reading about how a world that has magic intrinsic in everyday life copes when that magic is gone.
I liked that the characters made mistakes and that their quest wasn’t straightforward. I also liked the addition of the new characters introduced in this story and very happy that some of them are staying to help Blaine and his friends. Connor is one of my favourite characters. I enjoyed reading his character arc and growth, and the introduction of the Wraith Lord and his connection to Connor.
I also liked that characters have their own motivations that aren’t always what they first appear to be, and the surprises in store within that group of vanished survivors. I’m looking forward to learning more about the Knights of Esthrane.
I’m very happy that there is more of this series to read, including a prequel.
I’d recommend Reign of Ash to readers who enjoy high fantasy with fabulous world building, interesting characters who make mistakes, and a plot that spans a series. 5 out of 5 stars.