Book Review

Book Review: Blood Sworn (Ashlords #2) by Scott Reintgen

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 400 pages
Author: Scott Reintgen
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 16th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Three cultures clash in all out war–against each other and against the gods–in the second book of this fantasy duology that’s sure to capture fans of The Hunger Games and An Ember in the Ashes.

The Races are over. War has begun.

Ashlord and Longhand armies battle for control of the Empire as Dividian rebels do their best to survive the crossfire. This is no longer a game. It’s life or death.

Adrian, Pippa, and Imelda each came out of the Races with questions about their role in the ongoing feud. The deeper they dig, the clearer it is that the hatred between their peoples has an origin point: the gods.

Their secrets are long-buried, but one disgruntled deity is ready to unveil the truth. Every whisper leads back to the underworld. What are the gods hiding there? As the sands of the Empire shift, these heroes will do everything they can to aim their people at the true enemy. But is it already too late?

I’M HERE FOR THE COVER.

Shamelessly read this duology based off of the covers because they’re GORGEOUS. Yes yes, I’ll also discuss the book too.

This one surprised me! Based off of how Ashlords went down I was imagining many scenaries for book two. And pretty much none of those happened. Blood Sworn turned in a different direction and plot then expected. I was confused at first if I was going to like it, but by the end was happy with how things worked out.

I love the multiple POV’s here. Getting an angle from each different group in the empire. This is a HIGH action book where every chapter something is going on. Whether fighting gods, kinsmen, or arguing over how to save the world. I really enjoyed this on audio and was able to keep pace with everything happening.

The romance was a bit of a let down. If you’re going to add it then it needs more than a few pages in the entire series dedicated to it. Otherwise the focus could be placed in other ways. It was cute at the end seeing some HEAs. Even if I wanted to see more of their connections throughout.

This duology wrapped up well. I don’t remember any specific things that were left too open-ended. Those got what was coming to them, and things seemed to be looking up at the end.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: skirmishes, battles, war, murder

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Ashlords (#1) by Scott Reintgen

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Author: Scott Reintgen
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 21st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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?

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

ACTION-PACKED.

When you read a tagline that has “Red Rising meets The Scorpio Races…”, both of which are books you LOVE, it makes you think you have to know what this book is all about. I can’t say I see the Red Rising resemblance, BUT I do see The Scorpio Races with a bit more fire.

This book easily keeps you reading. I love how action driven this one was (a difference in my usual choices). The three POVs are all unique voices and really drive the desperation each one has to win The Races. What I found odd at first, yet really vibed with as the story went one was the difference in narration from the others. I think it would be more fun to not go into more detail, but it really adds to the personalities in how it was written.

World-building was totally awesome. The phoenix [horses] are killed each night, and rise each day under new conditions. There’s thousands of combinations to give your horse more speed, armor, better heart and lungs, the possibilities are endless. I love how the alchemy and magic system worked for these. I was a bit confused by the addition of gods into the story? They definitely played a part, but felt a bit disjointed. I kept feeling like they were added only to move the plot along because it needed a boost from somewhere.

I loved all of the characters for a variety of reasons. Imelda is the true underdog with a thorn in her side and something to prove. The choices she makes ultimately lead to larger consequences that will be a big deal in book two. Adrian is the saucy son of the rebellion who’s trying to win for his people. Lastly, Pippa, the daughter of two former winners who’s meant to win, supposed to win, and destined to win. Because of the intricacies of styles it was very easy to know which chapter you were in and who was speaking. I appreciated that it wasn’t muddled whatsoever.

Full of action and seriously not sure who was going to win. The race was exciting, with a touch of mystery and plenty of magic. The bigger politics of the society made the phoenix races that much more important and the story that much more enchanting.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: fire, physical, whips, guns, swords, battle/skirmishes

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