Jen reviews Kings of Heaven, the third book in Richard Nell‘s Grimdark Fantasy series, Ash and Sand.
Thank you to Richard Nell for supplying a copy for review. We apologize for the long wait.
|Series: Ash and Sand #3||Genre: Epic Fantasy, Grimdark|
|Date of Publishing: September 1, 2020||Trigger Warnings: death, war violence, gore|
|Page count: 411||Publisher: self-published|
In the final book of the Ash and Sand trilogy, Ruka, son of Beyla, faces the emperor of the world, yet even victory may not save his people…
With the death of his ally, Farahi Alaku, Ruka ‘Godtongue’ is alone. Or not exactly… The island prince Kale Alaku now haunts his mind, rattling within his once peaceful ‘Grove’, promising revenge and growing every moment in power. Meanwhile, the Pyu isles are in chaos; the coastal kingdom of the Tong is still Ruka’s enemy, and every day that passes brings the empire closer to destroying his dream of a new world for his people.
Once again, the son of Beyla will need the strength of his dark twin, Bukayag. Perhaps together they can unite three peoples, gather an army of ash, and defend or destroy their way to peace. But in the end, there can be only one king of heaven…
“Ruka softened at the truth. “There is no dishonor in fear. Your people are wealthy and prosperous. You have much to lose, but also much to gain. Greatness is not forged idling in cold comfort, but in the fires of mortal danger. You may see your people rise, Kapule. And who then can say what is possible for the Tong?”
Heavy Is the Crown by Daughtry (I hope this makes up for Katy Perry)
It’s taken me a good long while to get here, but here we are with Kings of Heaven, the conclusion of the Ash and Sand trilogy – which has been one of my favorites and one of the few series that I have made time to complete in the last five years.
I’ll keep this shorter than my last review of book two in this series, that one mostly had me talking about Ruka…ok that part is probably not going to change because I still don’t understand why Ruka is such a compelling character to me, and this is even after I have finished the trilogy. I suspect it’s the part of him that makes me want to gather him up and hug away the pain of the hurt little boy you see glimpses of buried down under that other part of him that wants to destroy everything.
This will also be shorter because it’s hard to review a final book and not get into spoiler territory.
There are so many great characters in these books and I was glad to come back to the three we started with (in some form or another) completing their stories and checking in with the other players that I had grown attached to. Most fitting to me though, was that Farahi’s presence was so strongly felt throughout this story. Especially as I turn the final pages and come to realize that the genius working to create this empire, wasn’t even as brilliant as the one acting as the Grandmaster.
There was something so satisfying about being able to look back over the three books and see the scope of that final picture. It was almost as satisfying as the journey to get to that point…. just wow.
A quick word on the world-building, which I didn’t talk about near enough in my previous reviews. It’s effortless and grand and it’s some of the best I have come across. It reminds me a lot of Raymond Feist, Magician: Riftwar series.
The Ash and Sand trilogy is one I will not soon forget. The characters and the world they exist in, will linger in my mind, joining the other greats – like Pug from Magician, or Raistlin, another wonderful misunderstood character.
Don’t miss this series. Some of the most memorable characters in fantasy await you.
So much appreciation for past book summaries.