A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil—until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal.
Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents’ murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king’s daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay.
Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones—because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own…
A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ok, here it is, fair warning that this book is NO WHERE NEAR what I typically read and review for y’all. Originally this book was presented as a Viking story, so as your Historical Romance Book Bestie I took it on. After reading this book I will tell you that this is not a Viking book at all but rather it is a barbarian book full of warriors, battle, sex, enemies turned lovers, and sweet revenge. While this is wildly different from my normal reading material that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this book and the adventure it took me on. This is book number one of the series: A Gathering of Dragons. It is also the first book I have read by this author. I enjoyed how this author made both men and women equals. Both sexes were represented with matching strength, intelligence, and value to their people. This was done with such skill that unless a description or the pronoun of a character specifically designated a gender I wouldn’t have been able to distinguish one from the other. To me that shows the author’s close attention to detail as well as her creativity and ability to create and maintain a world and society different than the norm. I am truly impressed with this author in that regard. Again, while this book is very different from what I primarily read I enjoyed it very much and look forward to reading the rest of the series.
Upon learning of the murders of his parents, Ran Ashev and Ran Marek, the Parsathean queen and king, Maddek wanted nothing more than vengeance upon those responsible. While the alliance council has forbade him to take up arms against Zhalen, King of Syssia and his son’s, no one has said he cannot find his vengeance through Zhalen’s own daughter.
Yvenne is the direct descendant of Syssia’s most revered warrior queens, and as such upon reaching a queen’s age or delivering a child she may claim the Syssian throne and save her people from her evil father and brothers. It is with this knowledge that she risks her life to offer an alliance through marriage to a warrior who would see her dead before he heard her words.
Will he help her become the warrior queen her people need? Will her lessons give him the heart of a king? Will their alliance built on a foundation of mutual hate turn them from enemies to more?
I hope you enjoy this book as much as I have.