Title: Legacy of Ash.
Series: Legacy Trilogy #1.
Writer(s): Matthew Ward.
Format: Advance Review Copy.
Release Date: April 9th, 2020.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Fantasy worlds aren’t meant to be familiar. They aren’t supposed to feel accessible. They should feel fresh, enthralling, memorable. They should be eye-opening, filled with thrill and threat, seductively seducing yet dangerously destructive. To be thrown into a fantasy world is to be ready to take on a universe that is beyond our own understanding, to allow ourselves to learn, to indulge the impossible, and to seek comfort in intangible values, morals, and pleas. But one thing’s for sure, there are only a few authors who are able to capture the extensiveness of such worlds, who are able to bring them to life through words. In his brand-new epic fantasy trilogy, author Matthew Ward presents vast lands and grand empires on the verge of going to war as history, revolution, and power grudgingly come together in the first book of the Legacy Trilogy.
What is Legacy of Ash about? Fifteen years following a failed plot for revolution from a little region of Eskavord, the Tressian Republic finds itself at a loss of avenues to explore in hopes to defend themselves against the invading armies of the Hadari Empire. In the middle of this conflict, the people of Southshire remain inconsolable but their state of fragility invites questions of an alliance if they are to survive the impending onslaught on the horizon. Following three key figures in this epic clash of empires, the story evolves into warfare that goes beyond the wisdom of politics. First comes Viktor Akadra, champion of the Tressian Council and leader of the Republic’s army, whose motivations and actions leave him flirting with good and evil. Then comes Josiri Trelan, son of the leader of the failed revolution, now a political prisoner who seeks revenge against the actions of the Tressian Republic’s greatest warrior. Finally comes Calenne Trelan, sister to Josiri, who wishes to rid herself of the burden left by her mother, whatever the costs.
Imbued in impressive mythology enshrining mysterious deities and fascinating magic lore that comes with their passage, the story revels in its epic scope and promises a monumental vision for the Legacy Trilogy brought forth by author Matthew Ward. Void of assistance beyond a map and a dramatis personae, the clash of empires illustrated through this tome is a phenomenal spectacle where history and politics do not remain in the backdrop but are celebrated in their union from the beginning to the end. It would be a mistake to claim that the worldbuilding is absent when it serves as the very foundation of this story to build up the Empire and the Republic in their growth towards war. What author Matthew Ward thus accomplishes in this enormous feat is to paint a world defined not only by the actions of past generations but the ability of individuals to overcome their own shadows and rise from the ashes of past mistakes.
In the optic of building this be-all and end-all universe that would serve as the driving force of the narrative, there is a hauntingly gargantuan number of characters deployed into the world and bringing the necessary, but sometimes quite intimidating, shift in perception, through multiple points of view, to capture the complexity of this war through various angles. Nonetheless, the reader’s desire to invest in an expansive world will be their ultimate reward, notably when the story finally grounds itself in its vision and delves further into friendship, deception, betrayal, and intrigue. If the overlapping magical elements, especially seen amidst the epic and detailed battle scenes, aren’t convincing enough, leave it to the character development to seduce you through their plight.
Legacy of Ash is an impressive, refreshing, and epic fantasy tale built around politics, magic, and history.
Thank you Orbit for this advance review copy!