Wroge has not seen war for twelve years, not since the Arneuton invasion. The Arneut rule, the Keltir serve, and the Vikir and Narz remain in exile. The blood of four races belongs to the earth of one land.It Began With Ashes by D.E.M. Emrys is the first book in the Wroge Elements series. I first journeyed into this particular world when I read the prequel From Man to Man a few months ago. When I was sent this book to review, I was hoping for an exciting read and a deeper look into the story of the main character of the novella.
But what if blood was to run again?
Draven Reinhardt is a man with a nightmare of a past, dreaming of a better future. He paid his dues in blood and coin, settling for a quieter life, a better life. Gone are the knocks at the door from his past. But what happens when the future comes knocking?
Like any boy, Kale wants to follow in his father’s footsteps – if only he knew what they were. It’s hard enough to find his own feet in the walk of life, without knowing where he came from.
The walk of life is a lonely one for an outsider, Astartes will vouch for that. Raised a tax collector’s son, and born of foreign blood, he searches for a friend who will overlook the divide.
Divided, four races stand. United, someone will fall. Will the past shape the future, or can blood be washed clean?
‘It Began With Ashes’ is the story of how life’s greatest struggle is to accept who you are – a tale of broken promises, bitter grudges, and brotherhoods bound in blood.
I was not disappointed. I was pleasantly surprised because not only did we get to see more of Draven Reinhardt, but we meet his son, wife, neighbors and a whole slew of new and interesting characters. The book starts off with the tax collector Nicholas and his son Astartes who are journeying on horseback to collect the taxes of the different clans in the area. Then we hop to Draven's son Kale and his friends. And even to Draven and his wife Morganna.
Draven is much more outspoken in this novel. The kind of character that others look to for advice. The one who always has a plan. I liked watching him develop in this story and I loved his interaction with his fellow blacksmith and his friend even in the midst of battle. It was actually incredibly funny. It reminds me of a scene in Robin Hood where a couple of his merry men are pretending to fight over something to slow down the kings guards.
But I digress.
Ivebian was one of my favorite characters. As strong as an ox (and apparently as big as one too) but with a heart of gold for the people he cares about. He was definitely a force to be reckoned with. Morganna was a force to be reckoned with in her own right. She was a strong and confident character but extremely caring.
The story itself started out with a suspenseful scene and I loved that. Throws you right in to the thick of things. There was action all over the place in It Began With Ashes but with enough down time in between for it not to be overwhelming. On the other side of the coin there was not too much down time so as to get drawn out and boring. Great balance.
It was interesting to see things from Kale's and Astartes's point of view. They're 12 years old and unlike a lot of children their age they're extremely resilient. And something happens at the beginning of the book that I think causes them to mature just a little bit more than they should have had to at that point in time but in the end serves to make them tough enough to handle what's being thrown at them.
The Vikirs were interesting to read about. They reminded me of Vikings (and I suppose rightfully so). They were big and menacing and terrifying to anyone they came across... but the Torne and the Sicrun and even Nicholas and Astartes had wills of steel and were not to be overcome easily.
This was a really good book. Like it's prequel. I would recommend to anyone interested in medieval feeling epic fantasies. Or just anyone looking for a book with a lot of great action sequences. This one will not disappoint. It's funny, it's a thriller, and it was a very quick and easy read. Check it out!