Book Review: Of Fire and Ash
She rides a fireborn, a steed of fire and ash, trained for destruction.
Ceridwen tal Desmond dreams of ruling like her father over the nation of Soldonia, where warriors ride to battle on magical steeds—soaring on storm winds, vanishing in shadow, quaking the earth, and summoning the sea. After a tragic accident claims her twin brother, she is exiled and sworn to atonement by spending her life—or death—for her people.
But when invaders spill onto Soldonia’s shores and traitors seize upon the chaos to murder her father, Ceridwen claims the crown to keep the nation from splintering. Combatting overwhelming odds and looming civil war, she begins to wonder if the greatest threat to the kingdom may, in fact, be her.
With fire before her and ash in her wake, how can she hope to unite instead of destroy?
Of Fire and Ash Book Review: At-A-Glance
AUTHOR: Julie Hall
GENRE: YA/Adult EPIC FANTASY
AGE LEVEL: 12+
A digital copy of this book was given to me for free in order to facilitate this review. This review is voluntary and all opinions are my own.
Fiery and outcasted, Princess Ceridwen pays penance for an unforgivable crime in the service of the Outriders. A group of soldiers that ride horses with magical abilities. When a foreign nation attacks Soldonia, Ceridwen is forced to confront her painful past and rally her forces before the kingdom falls.
Of Fire and Ash is an epic fantasy with three main characters, Ceridwen, Rafi, and Jakim. Generally speaking, I don’t read epic fantasies. Why? They. Are. So. Long. I just don’t have the patience. I made an exception for Of Fire and Ash and I’m so glad I did. This is an incredible book.
You will fall inlove with the world of Fire and Ash. The solborn concept is so unique, so fresh, and yet so realistic. There are six different types of Solborn. By the end of the novel, you’ll probably feel an allegiance to one in particular and will definitely want one for yourself. The world itself is so vast. This book spans over three (I think) countries and several different plotlines.
Each character represents a different story arc. Ceridwen is a military fantasy plot, Rafi was kind of a superhero story line (kind of…it’s if a Solborn is considered a superpower), and Jakim’s storyline is all about the journey and his emotional and physical hardships. I loved how two of these plots tied together at the end. It was perfect.
The overall pacing of the novel was great. I was invested with Ceridwen’s story the most from about 1-50%. I started to waver at about 60%, especially with Ceridwen’s and Jakim’s story. That was, ironically, where Rafi’s story started to get really, really interesting.
Each of the three characters were well-written and totally believable. Hands-down, Rafi is my favorite character in this book. I admired Ceridwen’s fire (literally) and Jakim’s determination, but I connected most with Rafi. He’s funny, his cowardly actions are so relatable, and I was cheering for him the entire time. His character development was so fun to watch.
And his “sea demon?” I need one!
This is a traditional fantasy novel, written in third person perspective, multiple viewpoints with rich descriptions of the environment, magic, etc.
Gillian Bronte Adams is an extremely talented writer. Her descriptions were beautiful. My only complaint was that the sentences were very long (I counted 40 words at one point), so sometimes I had to stop and re-read. This wasn’t a deal breaker though. Overall, I thought her writing was flawless.
Having said all that, this book is huge. Like, very, very long. I was so winded from the length of the book that I started skimming, particularly at that 50-75% line. Does that mean the book slowed down or am I just not the best reader? I have no idea.
I would say upper YA simply because the book is so long. Having said that, there’s no swearing or any other kind of content that would be bad for younger teens. It’s just a huge book with epic battle scenes.
Would I Recommend Of Fire and Ash by Gillian Bronte Adams?
Definitely. This is a long book but if you can get through it, the ride is definitely worth it. The world makes it worth it. I love Soldonia, the solborns, and the characters from Of Fire and Ash. I hope you’ll check it out!
Thank you so much Gillian Bronte Adams and Enclave Publishing for letting me read this ARC!
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