Release Date: October 18, 2011
Series: #3 Iron Elves
Buying Links: Amazon The Book Depository
Book Blurb (from goodreads):
In the bestselling traditions of Terry Brooks, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Bernard Cornwell comes the third novel in the acclaimed epic fantasy series following The Light of Burning Shadows.
Musket and cannon, bow and arrow, and magic and diplomacy vie for supremacy once again in this all-new epic adventure from acclaimed author Chris Evans. As the human-dominated Calahrian Empire struggles to maintain its hold on power in the face of armed rebellion from within, the Iron Elves’ perilous quest to defeat the power-hungry elf witch, the Shadow Monarch, now takes on greater urgency....
Packed with wit, high adventure, and political intrigue, Ashes of Black Frost will hook readers on this bold and exciting series.
He turned his attention back to Feylan, watching where he put each foot. Feylan's right boot raised, and started to swing forward to the next step, but then he paused in midair and came back down. Konowa tensed and put up his hand to signal to Pimmer behind him to stop. Feylan crouched down and brought his musket to rest on his hip, the bayonet pointing straight ahead. after several seconds, he quarter-turned so that Konowa could see the side of his face. His jaw was clenched as he whispered out the side of his mouth.
This is another book that I would probably not have picked up without encouragement and I'm glad I read it. That's been happening to me a lot lately; clearly I need to be more open-minded about my choices. I resisted at first because I'm not a fan of military stories, I hadn't read the first two books, and I read very little traditional fantasy lately, preferring urban fantasy and paranormal stories.
The description compares the books to Tolkien and Brooks, and I have to say, that's dead on. (The Cornwell I've read was a contemporary so I can't really judge). Evans' style and some of his beings remind me of both Brooks and Tolkien but not in any derivative fashion. He takes traditional mythological and faery tale beings and puts his own spin on them but not changing them so much that they are unrecognizable. (The back of the book contains a glossary, which I found very useful). There's a lot of fighting and some military strategy but they're not as frequent or as dense as in Tolkien. There's action, adventure, humor, politics, romance, and a solid, engaging story. There's also a lot of character growth in this story and Evans plays with reader expectations concerning certain characters, going the unexpected route. I enjoyed seeing them change and loved that Evans was willing to go beyond stereotypes and cliches. He also doesn't hesitate to kill off characters, I teared up several times.
The story dragged a bit at times, a little trimming would have been good, but it's a well done ending to the trilogy. In my opinion, you could read it without having read the first two and only be mildly confused. Still, you would better appreciate the story and the character changes if you read in order.
I received a hardcover from the publisher for review.