Series: A Gathering of Dragons #1
Published by Berkley on February 4, 2020
Genres: Epic Fantasy Romance
Source: Berkley Publishing Group
Reading Challenges: Romanceopoly 2020
A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil—until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal.
Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents’ murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king’s daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay.
Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones—because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own…
A Heart of Blood and Ashes is the FIRST book in a THRILLING adventure series by Milla Vane. Now this is the first time I have actually read this author, I, of course, have seen her name around since she has done some anthologies and other writing projects but I was so thrilled to see a full length (really full length at almost 600 pages) epic fantasy romance. I am sure I have mentioned this before but there just isn’t enough of this genre to satisfy me in any way and I am so happy to see that this author come out with such an exciting premise to a story. I took way too long getting to this book and I honestly am baffled at my own behavior in wondering why it took me so long to read this book here. I simply loved every single page.
Our delightful story begins with our hero, Maddek, who is a fierce warrior and heir to his father’s throne. But when his parents are murdered…..Maddek’s driving force is revenge against those who killed him parents so viciously. When a missive from a servant of another kingdom informs him that Yvenne is the one who brought his family to danger, he is out for blood. When he finds her, she is traveling in a caravan on her way to a betrothal but when he confronts her and her brother, Yvenne is not the woman he expects and even though she convinces him to marry her to regain her powerful kingdom and get his true revenge against her father ….their truce isn’t an easy one but these two enemies soon become lovers in the most beautiful of ways. Soon Maddek and Yvenne will have to face off enemies they never imagined…..
what a truly astounding book this turned out to be. I do want to warn readers though, this book starts out a bit slow as the author is setting the stage of the worldbuilding. It picks up quickly once you get through the first few chapters. So I highly recommend you stick with it and you will be golden. It also has some darker elements at times, but when you see what these two are both battling with, it definitely makes sense in that. There is so much to this book I don’t even know where to start to be honest. The world building alone is extensive and so well balanced, I love how vividly its portrayed and you can definitely see how much thought this author went in going into writing this novel. And so many great mixes of characters and creatures that you are confronted with. I loved that this was a whole NEW world that this author creates…so expect plenty of details to open the eyes of your imagination even more.
The romance that builds between these two is so sensual and fabulous in all the swoony ways we expect to see in a romance. Now there is plenty of angst especially the first half of the story, but its not too much. I really loved how these two entangled with each other. It was quite a delight to see them stand on their own and against each other and seeing little by little becoming endeared to each other. Its not instant love in any way, these two really have to work to receive their happy ever after….but it does happen and its delicious.
Overall I found A Heart of Blood and Ashes to be an astounding read that will captivate the reader from the first page….stunning picturesque detail, sensuality dripped on each page, characters that steal your heart and a love tale so rich in its design you won’t be able to put this page turner down until the very end…..HEART AND SOUL —BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY WAY!