The civil war ends now.
Igtheos and his rebels have fought tirelessly against a would-be dictator and his army for almost two years. The city they’ve holed up in has become a prison, soon to be a tomb if they cannot arrange a means of escape.
When the enemy leader offers an armistice that’s too good to be true, Igtheos reluctantly accepts, thinking it will buy him enough time to smuggle those loyal to him out of the city. But he quickly learns the cost of choosing hope over caution as he finds himself caught in his enemy’s sinister plan, fighting a final unexpected battle. Failure means death, or worse, the loss of his loved ones.
And he only has one night to determine everyone’s fate.
From the Ashes is a prequel novelette that takes place over two thousand years prior to the events in Of Thieves and Shadows—volume one in the epic fantasy series, The Heart of Quinaria.
I received this novella to judge for the SFINCS semi-finals. Opinion is my own, and does not represent that made by the team. Again, I am part of team JamReads, and I am just posting my review here to boost the author! I did also happen to purchase this in paperback, as I prefer to read physical, and I liked the cover.
This is the prequel to The Heart of Quinaria series, and in my opinion, it does operate quite well on its own. It’s a little sparse of descriptors, but it is very focused on the story it’s centering on, so it still works.
Igtheos and Elize are an interracial married couple with a mixed child. The differences are not exactly explained, at least not in black and white, but I took the Nyrian people to be kind of elf/god like beings. The would be dictator they rebel against would put a stop to such relationships, and much more. He believes the humans to be outright beneath them. So when he offers terms for their surrender that seem to good to be true, the rebels still have no choice but to accept. That or be starved out. This is the chaos that ensues when he breaks his treaty to the rebels. It’s a good examination of hope over caution, as well as the lengths people will go for those they love (and in some sense the depths).
While being quite short, perhaps even for novella standards, this was still quite impactful. The action is big, the emotion even bigger. I really felt for the rebels cause, mostly through how the author portrays the rebel leaders. And of course, fights over equality are always hard hitting, fantasy world or not. And in my opinion, this kind of representation of evil is one of the darkest there is. Not just outright evil, not just bad and hectic, but the pointed attempt at lowering or even annihilating a people. In that sense, it is quite a heavy read though.
You feel their losses, you feel their plight, and you feel like raising up a sword in their defense.