Kings of Heaven (Ash and Sand #3) by Richard Nell

Publishing Date:

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Review: The author redeems this series after #2’s epic failure and picks up the pace where war and strife collide for reasons still unknown to me. Paradise? Doesn’t really sound like it. The Barbarians didn’t have it so bad, just depends on perspective.

I liked how the story line diverged across this known world, following the main characters through to the end. The Son of Heaven was well written, so much that I enjoyed his demise. Dala is still mostly a dipshjt but also finds redemption by acting rather than directing.

I don’t get the author’s penchant for traitorous women. For example, Lani. Really, she was scummier than the killing and plotting perpetrated by the King’s sister. At least Kikay was never in denial of her shortcomings and was fully aware of actions taken. Lani grew up with Kale, supposedly loved him deeply, bore his son and was killed by Ruka. Lani gets all hot and misty eyed for Ruka while holding him blah, blah, blah. She wants to help the poor and displaced with her boundless love but is mired in her own hypocrisy. Really, she should have been flung from a trebuchet into shark infested waters.

The epilogue did this series no favors. This vast world has yet to be explored and Ruka’s ending really spoiled what may become an expanded series. Much like the temporal back-and-forthing we saw in the first novel this undermines any heightened enjoyment through unknown discovery. Now we know the Fuka makes it through.

Still, dam good writing and a great story line just don’t let all the grammatical errors get in the way.

Kings of Ash (Ash and Sand #2) by Richard Nell

Publishing Date: 2019

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Rating: 2.4/5

Review:  Oh let’s follow Ruka around and around….again. A serial killer with a heart of gold. Buying it? Not me so much. This tale was nicely balanced with Kale and then………

There is much of the inner-ruminating that lags the story line enough to force page flipping, or the re-iteration of past events that grips you like a Jim Butcher novel. I definitely do not want to re-read a story line in a series. I already paid for that storyline, why pay it again?

The worst part of this installment was Dala’s ascension into mega-priestess. She has become droll and is laced with petty desires that are echoed in Ruka. See Dala likes men that kill serially which makes you wonder where her head is really at. Well Ruka wants to bang her as well which will lead to betrayal by those stilted etc. So if you like a 7 foot tall, disfigured Jeffrey Dahmer sorcerer type then Ruka’s the man for you.

I still love the world building and the supporting characters that evolve around the islands endemic population (Kales family and supporters). The “Arrrgh! I’m a pillaging Viking” trope has worn really thin in just two novels and the reprieve I was looking for may arrive in the final installment, although I am not holding any rotten meat smelling Viking breath over it. In these novels of similar fashion, why are all the women hotter than popcorn farts? I mean even the hot Viking-ish babes must have rotten teeth, right?

So here is some mo’ money and onto the finale’.