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Bane of Kings writes a review of It Began with Ashes by self-published author D.E.M Emrys.
“An awesome tale, edge-of-your seats stuff.” ~The Founding Fields
If you’re somebody who doesn’t mind reading the odd self-published book like myself, you could do a lot worse than D.E.M Emrys’ epic fantasy tale, It Began with Ashes. It’s strong, confident and creates an enthralling tale with likeable characters with their own personalities. The book itself tells the story of coming to accept yourself as who you really are, as well as exploring other details such as character development whilst jostling with world building and some awesome action sequences.
Peace in Wroge came at a price.
Wroge was divided by the Saive War. The Arneuton kingdom enslaved the Keltir clans into their invasion, and swept across the territory, converting and conscripting the weak, culling the strong. Five Years of war, the blood of four races, millions of deaths. The Arneut conquered. The Keltir were released from their imprisonment, but the Vikir and Narz were forever banished from Wroge’s borders.
Draven fought for peace. He fought another man’s war and paid for his freedom in blood. But even peace comes with its price. Taxes to another man’s king. Draven’s fight might have ended with the Saive War, but the struggle to afford safety for his family is far from over.
When the Vikir threaten Wroge’s northern border they come with a debt of their own. And it’s not taxes they’re after. They come because of the Keltir’s betrayal in the Saive War. They come from blood.
But Wroge’s fate won’t be decided by ageing warriors and old grudges. The lives of four young men, divided by peace, united by conflict, will shape the future of the war torn land.
‘It Began With Ashes’ is the story of how life’s greatest struggle is to accept who you are – a tale of broken promises, bitter grudges, and brotherhoods bound in blood.
If you have any version of a Kindle, or a way of adapting a Kindle-formatted book to suit your appropiate e-reader format, then you can get a taste of what Emrys’ works are like for nothing, in the form of the short story, From Man to Man. The pricing of It Began With Ashes is pretty strong as well, and although it may be short, it’s a great teaser for what’s to come in this novel, as it picks up from where it left off, exploring Draven, his family and a large dramatis personae that find themselves caught in the midst of an attack from the Vikir, an exiled warrior race. The book itself is great at handling the cast of characters, so that the Point of View switches never seem jarring and they seem to flow naturally.
Kale, Draven’s son, is one of the main characters in It Began with Ashes and is a very interesting character to read the POV of, whose experience is harrowed following the death of a young boy his age having been killed by a friend. His character is affected greatly by the death, and you – the reader will be as well, as the book itself establishes a dark tone that will continue throughout.
If you’re tired of pages of pages of exposition in your fantasy novels, then Emrys ignores that, getting right to the heat of the action and character development, and you’ll quickly find out that a large portion of the book is action dominated, at least half. Don’t let that put you off though, because I’ve already mentioned that there’s plenty of character development.
The world building is also something not to be looked down on, with most being compared through conversations with characters as opposed to the narration, with a strong pacing to boot that doesn’t feel like it’s either too fast or too slow.
There are some people who don’t pick up first novels in a series when future issues haven’t been released yet, and that is understandable, but with a low price for It Began with Ashes, it’s really something that you can’t afford to pass by, because despite the fact that there is clearly intended to be future books, the novel can probably be read as a standalone as the book itself doesn’t end on a cliffhanger.
So with all of that mentioned, if you’re looking for some self-published work for a low price and have an e-reader, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t pass this opportunity by.