Okay, I am honored to be part of Intisar Khanani's Early Reviewer team. I mean, absolutely ecstatic because I get a chance to read and review awesome works of art such as this. I'm already a huge fan of hers, having been drawn into her world of magic and intrigue with Thorn and Sunbolt. And now the next installment of her Sunbolt Chronicles, Memories of Ash, nears it's release date. I was nearly drooling over the chance to read an ARC (Advanced Release Copy) of it and this is what I can say: I'm absolutely in love with it.
First off just take a gander at this stunning cover, as beautiful as the cover for Sunbolt. Oh and we can't forget the absolutely gripping blurb either!
In the year since she cast her sunbolt, Hitomi has recovered only a handful of memories. But the truths of the past have a tendency to come calling, and an isolated mountain fastness can offer only so much shelter. When the High Council of Mages summons Brigit Stormwind to stand trial for treason, Hitomi knows her mentor won’t return—not with Arch Mage Blackflame behind the charges.Armed only with her magic and her wits, Hitomi vows to free her mentor from unjust imprisonment. She must traverse spell-cursed lands and barren deserts, facing powerful ancient enchantments and navigating bitter enmities, as she races to reach the High Council. There, she reunites with old friends, planning a rescue equal parts magic and trickery.
If she succeeds, Hitomi will be hunted the rest of her life. If she fails, she’ll face the ultimate punishment: enslavement to the High Council, her magic slowly drained until she dies.
Onward with my review, but disclaimers first: I received an early review copy from the author in return for an honest review. This has not in any way influenced my review. (But it has made me even more determined to grab a print copy as soon as it's available!)
I must say that Memories of Ash does not disappoint in the slightest and held me completely enthralled for the past few days. There is plenty of action to keep Hitomi busy as she makes her way through one predicament after another, all of which I am sure will make her a much stronger person as the series continues. Struggling with having lost plenty of her memories in the previous book, Hitomi still remains strong. The conflict she faces, her motivations, her reluctance are all believable and make me feel for her character even more. I love how Hitomi holds strong to her own personal morals, even if at times she must bear making choices she doesn't want to make for the sake of what she believes in. I do love how a certain bonds of Hitomi's past are not completely forgotten to fall into a void. As not to give away spoilers, I was sad that a certain supporting character only had, as I will call it, a "speaking part." Although, I am quite certain we haven't seen the last of him. another side character that actually caught my eye and immense interest is Stonefall. I really do hope to see more of him in the future. Memories of Ash stands well on its own, giving enough glimpses into the happenings of the previous book that a new reader can pick it up without any problem. I would highly recommend Memories of Ash, as well as its predecessor Sunbolt, lovers of fantasy.
Allow me to tease you even further with an excerpt!
“It needs a meal,” the mage says, voice rasping, “and it won’t be me.” He yanks me off balance. I cry out, jerking away from him and lashing out with my glowstone. I manage to smack him hard across the face, but then his boot comes between my feet. For a sickening moment I teeter on the edge of the stairs.Get back!I barely register the words ringing in my mind before the mage shoves me, hard. I swallow a scream, throwing my arms up to shield my head as I fall. I slam down the stairs, bouncing toward the mass of tentacles.Feet first—get your feet first!I follow the shouted advice mindlessly, twisting my body as I come to a stop amidst a tangle of three or four great tentacles.Don’t move.Someone is talking inside my head, and it’s not me. Somehow, that’s almost worse than lying surrounded by the talons of a nightmare monster. Almost.
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Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters.
Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. Intisar's current projects include a companion trilogy to Thorn, following the heroine introduced in her free short story The Bone Knife, and The Sunbolt Chronicles, an epic series following a street thief with a propensity to play hero when people need saving, and her nemesis, a dark mage intent on taking over the Eleven Kingdoms.