BOOK REVIEW: ASHES OF THE SUN BY DJANGO WEXLER

the book cover for Ashes of the Sun by Django Wexler
  • STAR RATING:  3.75 stars, not quite four stars
    PAGE LENGTH: 592 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: July 21st 2020 
  • PUBLISHER: Orbit Books
    WHAT SERIES?  Burningblade and Silvereye Trilogy
  • WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? Ashes of the Sun
  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? 3
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Violence, Body horror, Gore
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY:  The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson

Thank you to Orbit Books for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS

Long ago, a magical war destroyed an empire, and a new one was built in its ashes. But still the old grudges simmer, and two siblings will fight on opposite sides to save their world, in the start of Django Wexler’s new epic fantasy trilogy.

Gyre hasn’t seen his beloved sister since their parents sold her to the mysterious Twilight Order. Now, twelve years after her disappearance, Gyre’s sole focus is revenge, and he’s willing to risk anything and anyone to claim enough power to destroy the Order.

Chasing rumors of a fabled city protecting a powerful artifact, Gyre comes face-to-face with his lost sister. But she isn’t who she once was. Trained to be a warrior, Maya wields magic for the Twilight Order’s cause. Standing on opposite sides of a looming civil war, the two siblings will learn that not even the ties of blood will keep them from splitting the world in two.

It took me longer than I’d like to really sink my teeth into Ashes of the Sun. It might be because it’s been a bit since I’ve read an epic fantasy, or it might be because this book is extremely slow to start. Nothing really happens for the first third of the book — no real insight into what the plot might be, no huge action, nothing like that. It’s primarily world-building, which is fine, considering this is the first book in a trilogy. However, y’gotta give me something. Despite that, I never really considered DNFing this, I just muddled through until it got interesting. The world is what kept me reading — Ashes of the Sun‘s setting is wildly unique. Set 400 years after a war, the world is broken, with vast differences in how classes live. The poor live deep underground, barely scraping an existence by, while the rich through extravagant parties without a care in the world. There’s magic, science, alchemy, and all sorts of fascinating creatures.

The two main characters — Gyre and Maya — are brother and sister. Throughout the book, their plotlines weave in and out from each other, which was a really cool way to piece the story together. I think, overall, I liked Maya’s storyline better. Maya is an apprentice of sorts, for the Twilight Order. She’s close to gaining her title, at the start of the book, and she’s doing everything she can to earn that privilege. She’s got a more of a welcoming personality, versus her very grumpy brother who just wants to end the Twilight Order. Their relationship was interesting – I truly can’t wait to see where it goes in the next books.

Brief, semi-aside — Maya is super gay. It was an excellent addition to the story. One that is not given any pause or a big spotlight. It’s just something that is. Her relationship with Beq was a lovely tiny side plot that I really liked reading.

My biggest beef with this book is that it wasn’t sure what story it wanted to tell for a long time. It’s not until like…halfway through the book that the main plotline actually comes into being. Like I said earlier — setting up for a trilogy takes a lot of work, but maybe this needed to go back to the drawing board a couple more times to really tighten it up. Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, who knows. There was a lot of potential here, but a great deal of it went unused. (Though the plaguespawn and the horrors they represented were extremely cool.) You can tell the author is an enormous fan of Star Wars, and that that particular universe was…how shall we say…borrowed from quite frequently. I have nothing against that, as it was used in very cool ways.

The world and everything set up in Ashes of the Sun will definitely have me picking up the sequel, I just hope Blood of the Chosen is a little more well-rounded.

Add to your Goodreads, or order at at the following links:

GOODREADS | BOOKSHOP.ORG | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

PS – Don’t forget my Sabriel Read-a-long starts next week!

7 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: ASHES OF THE SUN BY DJANGO WEXLER

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