Legacy of Ash by Matthew Ward

details
Title: Legacy of Ash.
Series: Legacy Trilogy #1.
Writer(s): Matthew Ward.
Publisher: Orbit.
Format: Advance Review Copy.
Release Date: April 9th, 2020.
Pages: 768.
Genre(s): Fantasy.
ISBN13:  9780356513379.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.

thoughts

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.

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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.


EXHIBITA

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Thank you Orbit for this advance review copy!

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25 comments

  • This one seems to be getting lots of praise across the blogosphere, but I had a hard time engaging with the characters, of which there were many! So that sort of affected my experience. I’m glad to see you enjoyed it though 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  • Ohhhhh, I’m getting John Gwynne vibes…. too many characters just doesn’t work for me anymore.

    You have fun waiting around until this series gets finished 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  • Nice. This is one I might enjoy so I’ll keep a watch for it. Always looking for that next great epic fantasy that somehow manages to bring together all the right elements at the right time for me to thoroughy enjoy it. Great review, Lashaan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Todd! So many great big epic fantasy series to indulge out there. Currently going through 2 of them that fits the bill in that regard too! Hope your time with The Black Prism has been good lately, sir! 😁

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      • Just finished The Black Prism, and though it didn’t hit me quite the way it did you, I did thoroughly enjoy it and look forward to seeing where the story goes from here.

        Liked by 1 person

  • I’ve had this book on my radar for a while now, but was uncertain about adding it to an already too-busy TBR: now that I’ve read your review I’m certain this will have to be a “must read”. You quoted the combination of “politics, magic and history” and this sounds like the perfect recipe for a full immersion in a wonderful new world. Thank you so much for sharing this! 👍 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can relate to that a lot too hahah I do hope you have a fun time with this one if you ever get the chance to check it out. There’s plenty to appreciate once you get used to all the various characters/pov! 😁 Thank you for reading, Maddalena!

      Liked by 1 person

  • Yes you are out of the “low rating trend”! Now I love when we follow different ùain characters. This seems also epic. Excellent review!

    Liked by 1 person

  • This first book of the trilogy sounds great and your reviews are always so interesting! Now that I don’t have as many books to read (at hand, not in my infinite tbr) I really miss the huge and amazing bookstore that was so close to home… I should start writing down which books I will prioritise when they’ll reopen 😀 Thanks for sharing Lashaan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your kind words, Juliette! I feel you there. I miss visiting bookstores so much and finding books I never thought I could find in second hand bookstores too! I like your plan and I think you should totally do that! Nothing like a but of planning to make sure you get around to doing certain things, like reading those books! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  • “Hauntingly gargantuan” cast of characters… Hmm.
    Love your review, Lashaan, and your enthusiasm, quite contagious and inviting to a lively discussion (for example, I believe the best fantasy worlds are the ones imbued with the characteristic of being uncanny – at once similar and different from our own world), but as for the book, I remain unconvinced 🙂 I might be spoiled by Cook and Erikson in that matter… I think I will wait for your reviews of the remainder of the trilogy 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words, Ola. Truly appreciate it; especially when it comes from a phenomenal wordsmith like yourself!

      Between you and me, Legacy of Ash is not in the same league as Erikson (based on my current progress through Gardens of the Moon) and most likely not Cook (based on your praise for the dude’s Black Company series). It’s just another fun epic fantasy trilogy that fills that void for people looking for something relatively challenging epic fantasy world.

      I have no idea when the sequels will be out but I fear the wait will have me forgetting a lot of what happens in this book… Especially when I’m planning to read a bunch of “challenging” fantasy books in the upcoming months hahahah

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Lashaan! 😊
        I guess I’ll try out Gwynne first, and besides I still have the Black Prism series to continue… Both have a plethora of characters and there’s lots of politics and war involved, apparently 😉
        Somehow I steered toward ambitious SF lately, but I’m on a lookout for a solid epic fantasy series – it’s just this one doesn’t feel exactly right, especially when you admit you’ll forget a lot before the sequel’s out 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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