Book Review: A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane
I was given a copy of this book through a giveaway on TikTok. I started it a while ago, but it seems like sometimes my TBR takes control and I have to put things down. By August, I knew that I needed to finish reading the books I'd started, so I vowed to get it done.
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...
If I'm being honest, this isn't a book that I would have picked up on my own. I'm not big into primitive male stories. Even less so when they're verbally abusive toward the female love interest.
From the start, I didn't really feel like I could sympathize with the main character, Maddek. He'd lost his parents and went on a tear through his grief, which is completely understandable, but I didn't like his barbaric behavior. If I don't like a love interest or even feel an inkling of curiosity about a love interest, there's a good chance I probably won't enjoy the story.
Yvenne was a different story. She was strong and warm, despite the traumas that have ravaged her life. Like the men they traveled with (with the exception of Maddek), I really found myself respecting Yvenne.
For me, this one was a little too long for not enough action. It was definitely a romance, but not one that I would recommend to a lot of people unless they don't mind the main love interest being a bit of a jerk. I didn't find myself invested in the world or the political intrigue between kingdoms as I normally would.