Legacy of Ash – Matthew Ward

So I was sent this massive chonk earlier in 2020 for the paperback release and it took me FOREVER to dare and start it – Covid has seriously affected my attention span, and 800+ page books have been a struggle. That said, once I actually dove into it, reading manageable 100-200 page chunks every day, I really enjoyed getting immersed in this epic grimdark world. By now, the sequel, Legacy of Steel, is out in the world as well and I both look forward to getting back to the story and dread reading another book this huge.

Many thanks to Nazia and Orbit for the review copy, all opinions are my own.



SUMMARY: A shadow has fallen over the Tressian Republic.

Ruling families plot against one another with sharp words and sharper knives, heedless of the threat posed by the invading armies of the Hadari Empire.

The Republic faces its darkest hour. Yet as Tressia falls, heroes rise. (from Orbit Books)

OPINIONS: As I mentioned above, Legacy of Ash is a massive chonk. A book not for the faint of heart. The paperback edition I have has 768 pages. But inside is an epic story that will captivate the reader throughout. At the centre of the book is a nation at war, and siblings that are just as much at odds with each other as they are with the world. Josiri and Calenne Trelan are the children of Katya Trelan, the leader of a failed revolution, whom the book starts off by killing before fast-forwarding fifteen years. Both of them fight to create their own path out of the shadow or their mother, although in very different ways. Legacy of Ash is the kind of book that features a large cast of characters in point-of-view perspectives, and thus shows the reader all sides of the story. We don’t see just one perspective, or a clear-cut good or bad, but Matthew Ward ensures that allegiances stay murky and the reader is fully immersed in this world. Ultimately, its a book about the world it is set in, rather than the story of individual characters.

Featuring magic, war and tense relationships, Legacy of Ash is a truly epic debut novel. It feels well-developed and is able to stand on its own, although I, and I’m sure most readers, am curious to see how the story develops over the course of the trilogy. I personally wish that it wasn’t quite as long, but that’s more of a me thing than anything else. The story is compelling and keeps up tension throughout, so it’s not like Legacy of Ash is boring – I just really like being able to read books in a couple of days and that wasn’t the case here (and pandemic brain). It is very well-written, and full of characters that are multi-dimensional and determined to follow their goals. Thus, if you can brave a chonk, I highly recommend Legacy of Ash. Add it to Goodreads here, and order a copy from Bookshop here (affiliate link).

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