Wednesday 2 November 2011

Review: Ashes of a Black Frost - Chris Evans

Series: Iron Elves #3
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 448
Published: October 13, 2011
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Source: For review

The Calahrian Empire is collapsing. All across the realm native populations are rising up to throw off the shackles of colonial rule. Two key factors drive this -- the return of the Stars of Power and Knowledge and the spread of the Shadow Monarch's forest. The result is that the Calahrian Imperial Army is stretched thin trying to maintain order at the critical moment when it is needed to fend off the advances of the elf-witch. For the Iron Elves regiment, their loyalty is tested to the breaking point. The Prince is devastated by the destruction of the Lost Library and the realization that the Empire he is to inherit is crumbling. Major Konowa Swift Dragon is determined to lead the living survivors of the regiment while Private Alwyn Renwar -- an emissary with his own agenda -- commands the dead. Together, their only hope is to break the oath that binds them, but doing so means making the perilous journey to the Shadow Monarch's mountain in a final confrontation that may be the ultimate trap. There is only one way to find out...

My thoughts:
This is a different sort of fantasy, I do know that fantasy is about war a lot, but this takes it a step further. It is military fantasy and the author does it so very well.

In the third and final book the world is crumbling. An evil elf wants destruction, and our hero, Major Konowa is bent on finding and destroying her. Since this is military fantasy there is a lot of fighting. First they have to fight they way out of the desert they are in. Evil beings and trees are after them (yes trees ;). And then there is the final battle against the Shadow Monarch. Evans keeps the tempo up and when I am closing in on the end I still do not know how this all will turn out.

While reading it I find myself thinking of the Hornblower adventure books (even if those are set at sea), and the Richard Sharpe series, because the military feeling is clearly 19th century. I do like it because it is so very different. There are usually no guns in fantasy, and I always like those who try something new.

I know that the whole military aspect may be a bit of a turn off for some, but after I had read book 1 I was hooked. You root for the Iron Elves and Konowa. And there is even a tiny bit of romance, I say tiny because it is tiny, but at least it has me hoping he will get his girl. 

A nice conclusion to this series and with an ending that made me happy. If you want to try something different then give book 1 a go (because you do need to read the books in order.) And it truly is fantasy for everyone.

Nice, oh and I must mention how much I love the title!



  1. I love books that remind me of other stories I've read yet are still different, and isn't it great when a beloved series ends on a satisfactory way? Glad to know you enjoyed it.

  2. Not sure that military fantasy is for me. Glad you enjoyed it though.

  3. *gasp* A series that actually ended?! ;)

  4. Oh, my, they had trees after them! That makes me think of the talking trees from LOTR. Sounds like a good read!

  5. I might want to find the book one and start reading it. I have nothing against military fantasy. Thanks for a great review!

  6. Missie
    Of course I have only watched those on tv but still yes ;)
    And very happy about the end indeed, it does not always happen with fantasy.

    It sure is different, I will tell you that.

    Lol, I did think of the Lotr trees. These are different ones but Konowa sure swears cos of them a lot

    I am glad to hear that, do give it a go and see if it is the thing for you

  7. An HEA? Yes!! Although... some days I think you should not get that HEA for what you do to me! ;) lol

  8. I kind of like the military aspect, I haven't read many like that so this would be a fun deviation from my typical reads:)

  9. Do you mean Horatio Hornblower? My husband and I used to watch the television movies they had years ago with Ioan Grufford.
    I'm enjoying picking up series lately that are over! The waits were killing me.

    RE: Your comment about Body & Soul - I'm not sure how it can work for Alona & Will either. Makes me nervous.

  10. I like that title too but this one doesn't sound like a fit for me.

  11. You know, I read a couple Temeraire books which was high fantasy with a military setting and loved it. As long the military aspect is paired with fantasy then I'm willing to try.

  12. Military fantasy isn't quite up my alley, but you can sell anything to me. Sounds like a fun read. :)

  13. It's always nice to have a happy ending, eh? That sounded bad, but that's not what I meant.

    I normally wouldn't consider this, but I am :)

  14. I agree on the title - it's great but the whole military aspect wouldn't be one that would interest me much.

  15. Huh sounds like an interesting series. ^.^ Great review! And Chris....I'm equally as surprised as you are! Usually fantasy series goes on and on and on and etc.

  16. I've not heard of these or the author but they sound kind of cool, I don't mind war with my fantasy ;)

  17. I'm glad to read that you were happy with the ending. There's nothing like being unhappy at the end of a series, I hate that feeling.

  18. ooh, I really love the cover of this book. :) It's fab!!!

  19. Great review again Linda! Yep, I'm adding book 1 to my TBR list to check it out sometime...I don't know when, but I'll get around to it. :-P Glad you enjoyed the ending of the series, those are the best endings ever. :-)

  20. I've never heard of this author. Looks like my cup of tea though. I've been enjoying military fantasy more and more in recent years. I'll have to put the series on my Christmas wish list. Great blog. I'm following.


  21. Melissa
    What? *looks all innocent*
    And I should not get HEAs? *teary eyes*

    And he does know what he is doing so that is great, he knows his military :)

    Oh yes Ioan Gruffud...I might have watched them cos of him, but well the other stuff was nice too, lol.

    Oh no so you are nervous too?! I do not know if I would dare to read them then. How can it possibly end well?

    Awesome title. But yes not the book for everyone

    Oh Temeraire! I should have mentioned those. Yes I loved the Novik books, and also said that they were like Hornblower, damn I am obsessed with him it seems

  22. Alyssa
    Lol, I should sell used cars then ;)

    *giggles* You know every time I wrote it I cringed for some reason, it works when I write it with a romance review but fantasy it just sounds dirty ;)

    It will not work for everyone, I admit that, but it certainyl worked for me

    Lol, yes on and on and---on- Until I loose my mind and want an ending

    It was :)

  23. teddy
    There should always be war in fantasy, it just goes together.

    Mrs Q
    It makes me hate the whole series. There was one series that was so good, and then teh alst 10 pages I just hated and it ruined all

    So pretty :)

    Yay, book 1 has such a pretty cover too. I am so glad I won book 2 and then bought book 1.
    Good endings rock

    Then you really need to check out his works if you enjoy this little subgenre or what we should call it

  24. Now all I can think of is trees that is after them lol. Fantasy series that has only 3 books? *gasp*

  25. This sounds like interesting fantasy. I've never read military fantasy. Seems like a good series.

  26. Elysium
    Lol, it happens sometime ;) And I am happy cos of that. At least some should be short

    Do give it a go, it's always nice with something new



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