Title: A Heart of Blood and Ashes
Author: Milla Vane
Series: A Gathering of Dragons #1
Genre: Adult Fantasy Romance
Release Date: 02/04/20
Synopsis: 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…
Review: Sometimes a book comes around and is everything you need it to be, and this was that book for me. As an epic fantasy lover AND romance lover, rarely do I get the perfect mix of both. That is exactly what this book is for me.
The fantasy aspects of this book were truly incredible. Well thought out political intrigue was truly the driving force of this story. It kept you guessing with every turn of the page. Politics drove characters to do some truly horrible things, but you always understood why they were doing what they were doing. The world building was PERFECTLY crafted. We were seeing this world through our main protagonists eyes for the first time and it kept the story moving without ever feeling like it was info-dumping.
The romance. THE ROMANCE! I can’t with our two main characters. If you like enemies-to-lovers and ANGST, this is a must read for sure. Maddek is the perfect mix of broken, broody, and soft. When paired with badass Yvenne, you have an incredible relationship that you cannot help but root for.
Overall, I think that if you enjoy romance in books and also love a well-crafted fantasy story then this is a must read!