25 stars After reading and loving this author s first series, Nyxia, I knew I d need from him Ashlords was exactly what I was waiting for This book centers around horses called Phoenixes that die each night in a burst of flames and are raised from their ashes each morning using alchemy and magic The alchemists choose what strengths and features their horse will have based on the chemicals used It s such a unique premise and I loved it Ashlords is The Scorpio Races meets The Hunger Games meets Hidalgo There s a major race every year and this year Pippa, Adrian, and Imelda are 3 of the riders Each teen comes from a different background and the story is told from their alternating points of view The race is grueling, and extremely dangerous, especially since the racers try to knock each other out of the competition.
What I really liked was the YouTubing aspect and how 2 of the protagonists film everything for the fans The race itself is also live reality TV similar to The Hunger Games This book kept me up late into the night and now I can t wait for the sequel Thank you so much to NetGalley and Random House Childrens for the advance copy I m not gonna lie to you guys, the flaming pony is the only reason I m here.
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 EmpireEvery 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 Modern Spectacle The RacesOver 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 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 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 3.
5 5 stars Scott Reintgen s creativity always sparks my interest I loved his Nyxia Triad enough to be sold on a new novel from him before even knowing what it was about.
As it turns out, it s about racing phoenix horses across the desert Um, hell yeah, sign me up A really cool concept and some great characters drove this story when other things like pacing and idea overload threatened to become issues There are some well thought out mechanics on the magic surrounding the breeding and care of these phoenix horses, and I loved learning about their different ash compositions and how riders use them strategically for the races Good stuff.
The story contained three dominant POVs, and I m happy to say I found each of them equally appealing My favorite perspective, Pippa, was told using second person format, which I m really, really hoping was done for a greater, as of yet unrevealed purpose and not just a stylistic choice added solely for variety I m specifically channeling Jemisin s Broken Earth Trilogy, where the reveal of the odd POV was my favorite aspect of the whole series high stakes there, so I m hoping this one lives up to expectation The whole book is focused around this race, yet it was well past 50% of the novel before the race actually started That first half was used to establish character and set up rivalries, but I don t think it needed quite that much time Especially when a lot of that could ve been experienced on the course itself much like what Collins did in the Hunger Games Trilogy And I also would ve like expansion on the race itself obstacles and time to really immerse in the experience it went by too fast After all, it s the selling point of the novel savor it At the beginning of the book, there s an author s note I d recommend reading before diving in It explains how he came up with the concept for the story and the fact that it was originally intended to be a race across four dimensions instead of just one I ve no idea what his writing peers read from him that caused them to shut down the idea and have him focus on just this world, but personally I would ve been inclined to encourage him to rewrite and re devise and keep the original vision it seems an excellent one Additionally, there were a lot of jumbled concepts in this book that I think were leftovers from a much broader original outline that felt very out of place if this series is going to be primarily focused on one world most notably, the gods dynamic If I hadn t read the authors note, my biggest criticism would have been that the story suffered from too many ideas that didn t really come together The insight was needed But it also makes me yearn for the series he actually wanted to write I trust the vision Maybe it needed major reworking, but this almost felt like the plan B project instead of the golden idea project I could be reading too much into this though haha.
Overall, it s a fun, creative introduction to this new series, and I m already eager to see what happens next.
Recommendations this is an excellent recommend for YA Fantasy Readers who like books with competition It would also be a great one to hand teens who have trouble getting into books it provides a really accessible storyline that I think keeps attention really well worth a shot, right I have a few personal reservations from a hyper analytical standpoint, but I m holding out to see how the series comes together in future books The basic takeaway is it s a fun book I think most will enjoy it I d like to thank Random House Children s, Scott Reintgen, and Netgalley for the chance to read an early copy of Ashlords Via The Obsessive bookseller at www.
comOther books you might like Scott Reintgen s Ashlords is a literary powerhouse of imagination Race along the elite riders in an annual race on phoenix horses that die each sunset, only to be reborn with alchemy the next sunrise Deceit, treachery, and the need to win at any cost will test three riders from three different walks of life Who will keep their honor and integrity Who will fall to the lowest of lows A brilliantly told tale that invites readers to ride alongside, peek into the characters minds and thrill at every step of the way Scott Reintgen holds nothing back as he fires off a tale that will grab the attention of all readers, while targeting young adults with something they can sink their hearts, souls and minds into I received a complimentary ARC edition from Crown books for Young Readers This is my honest and voluntary review.
Duology Book 1Publisher Crown books for Young Readers January 21, 2020 Publication Date January 21, 2020Genre YA Fantasy AdventurePrint Length 368 pagesAvailable from Barnes NobleFor Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow With a tagline of ride or die, you know I m down I received a copy of this book from Crown books for Young Readers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review Thank you In no way does this affect my rating or review.
All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.
It s the first time I ve seen it all so clearly There are two worlds, and I know exactly which one I belong in.
Content Warning Death, Gore, Brutality, Profanity Ashlords has been one of my most anticipated reads of 2020 The first and foremost reason, which I think is obvious if you know me, is that it s about phoenix horses.
The first half of the story was great There is quite a lot of world building, history given, political dynamics unraveled, and rules of the game explained It was the second half where this plot line lost my interest as it became solely focused on the political maneuverings Several details in Ashlords mirror plot points in The Hunger Games a glitzy competition full of brutality minus murder even though death happens publicized over live television, romantic twists, betrayal, the underdog trope, etc I think a lot of YA dystopias follow similar paths no matter what Overall, this story contains some very unique details Phoenix horses, alchemy, unique mythology deities, definitely add a freshness to a story line that has been done many times over Ashlords is told by three different characters Each character is from a very different station, and do well when giving insight into their beliefs, viewpoints, and stances on life Imelda is a Dividian Few Dividian ever make it to the races Through her alchemy skills and social media maneuvering, she lands an unlikely spot in the race Pippa is from an entirely different world Born into a wealthy Ashlord family, she is favored to win Both of her parents were winners of the race, and she isn t about to let them down The final viewpoint is told from Adrian A Longhand, he represents the previously failed rebellion against the Ashlords Their previous failure doesn t stop his father s pursuit in overthrowing the Ashlords, and is his reason for running the race.
While I genuinely appreciated several unique points of this plot, there were a few things that I didn t like so much One was the changing POV voices I don t mind stories told by multiple characters It s not my favorite, but I m fine with it What is different about Ashlords is that the voice of the POV changes from third to second, but only for Pippa s voice I m not sure, but I m hoping that singling out Pippa for this POV has a reason and not just a choice of style If it has a reason, it has the potential to be a clever technique utilized by the author If not, it s just a confusing addition to the narrative.
Secondly, where are the phoenix horsesI was really hoping that this special horse would take front and center when it came to this story Maybe I m being too critical here, but I m a horse lover, and am dying for some solid horse representation in YA What was offered here was motivational for the plot, but didn t give anything extra for the reader What was necessary was told, but those many, I imagine embellishments of the phoenix horses didn t exist They were robotic, than anything Horses have just as much character as humans do, so I was hoping for them to also be individually characterized than they were The writer is undoubtedly very talented Certainly, many readers will connect with these characters For my personal tastes, I didn t care for how the plot shifted focus I m getting the feeling at my medial reaction to this story is a hint that I need to take a long break from dystopia style plots, because they just aren t grabbing me much any Perhaps, at a different time in my reading career, I would feel differently about how this plot strikes me I think Ashlords offers a unique world, but I didn t connect with the characters much at all, and therefore, lost my focus Vulgarity Minimal.
Sexual content Minimal.
Violence Moderate See Content Warning My Rating 1 2My Blog bookstagram Twitter Pinterest Facebook
Check out the original review and on NovelKnight This book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review For all the books I ve read, I m not sure I ve read one like Ashlords and I Am A Fan This book is fast paced and exciting and packed with twists and turns much like the very race it s centered around.
I was initially intrigued by the concept of the phoenixes In this world, they take the form of horses that rise with the sun and die each night, with each rebirth different based on what s mixed with their ashes Such a cool idea and brings together two things I m personally a fan of Well, three if you count the science magic aspect of it all We re immediately introduced to the phoenixes early on with Imelda, the Alchemist, one of the three point of view characters.
The alternating perspectives was definitely one of the strengths of this book Two points of view, Imelda s and Adrian s, are in first person but so distinct that it s obvious without needing to read the chapter headings who s speaking The third, Pippa, is told in the uncommon second person which caught me off guard at first but I quickly fell into it and hers became one of my favorites I m not sure why Pippa was picked as the odd one out but I m not sure it would have worked for the other two characters nearly as well.
All three castes of the empire are represented by these three racers and I loved seeing the world from each perspective, what they have to gain and what they ll lose if they fail While I loved Pippa s voice, likely because of the distinctive second person style, I think Imelda was my favorite character She s the one that surprised me the most with her decisions and her story didn t follow the direction I expected at all Which was fantastic because what ultimately happens fits so much better Plus her alchemy is pretty badass.
I didn t dislike Adrian but he was my least favorite of the three though since I liked them all, it required some nitpicking to rank them in any way He s all about the rebellion his father wants to stage but how he changes by the end I hope to see of that in the sequel.
Because yes, this book needs a sequel The story isn t done in Ashlords by any means At the same time, this is a contained story This book is about the race, the time leading up to it and everything from the starting gate to the finish line I feared that might become predictable or copycat ish of other competition stories but while I think readers of The Hunger Games as I haven t read the two books Ashlords is actually compared to but it s not Hunger Games 2.
0 It stands on its own and the uniqueness of the world and way it s written definitely made it memorable for me.
Honestly, I couldn t put Ashlords down It s action packed with a story that ebbs and flows much like a marathon Although this was the first book by Reintgen that I ve read, it will absolutely not be the last Get Ashlords on your radar You won t want to miss this YA fantasy competition filled with the path of ambition, the consequences of rebellion, and the impact of choice A must read for the year For More Bookish Content Blog Twitter Facebook Bloglovin I couldn t sleep last night, so I picked this up on a whim and devoured the entire book in one sitting Scott Reintgen has a way with words his writing is accessible to readers of all ages, his narrative is captivating and engaging, and his characters are diverse in a way that doesn t feel forced, or for the sake of diversity Ashlords is a thrilling introduction to a new duology, and per usual the author has me waiting anxiously for the conclusion This was a fast paced read, a brilliant adventure, and another success to add to Reintgen s collection of talesMany thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy via NetGalley.
Shh Don t tell my other books.