Book Review: Ashes of the Sun

Django Wexler

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

published: 21st July 2020
spoilers? no


Long ago, a magical war destroyed an empire, and a new one was built in its ashes. But still the old grudges simmer, and two siblings will fight on opposite sides to save their world in the start of Django Wexler’s new epic fantasy trilogy.

Gyre hasn’t seen his beloved sister since their parents sold her to the mysterious Twilight Order. Now, twelve years after her disappearance, Gyre’s sole focus is revenge, and he’s willing to risk anything and anyone to claim enough power to destroy the Order.

Chasing rumors of a fabled city protecting a powerful artifact, Gyre comes face-to-face with his lost sister. But she isn’t who she once was. Trained to be a warrior, Maya wields magic for the Twilight Order’s cause. Standing on opposite sides of a looming civil war, the two siblings will learn that not even the ties of blood will keep them from splitting the world in two.

Galley provided by publisher

CWs: gore, violence

When I first opened this book, I have to admit I was a little intimidated by its length. I mean, not solely length, because I’ve read longer, but it’s length and the fact I had no idea what I was getting into style-wise, since I’d never read the author before. I needn’t have worried though, because this book pretty much ticked every box for what I want from a fantasy.

Central to the book, and the series overall I would imagine, is a brother-sister relationship. Gyre has hated the Twilight Order since they took his sister and an eye from him when he was a child. Meanwhile, Maya is working her way through the ranks of said Order. With Gyre’s desires to bring down the order, they are on a collision course.

For such a long book, this was a very quick read. It was a combination of an easy writing style and the fact that the plot kept moving at all times. I’ve had a lot of trouble this year finding fantasy novels that I’ve actually enjoyed, particularly first books in series, but I never had a problem like that here. I was sucked in from the first page and never really wanted to put it down after that.

The worldbuilding was also excellent, not least because it was a fantasy world that not only had zero homophobia, but mentioned very casually a number of wlw and mlm relationships. It’s like, having no homophobia in your fantasy world has multiple stages. The first is, obviously, just having no overt homophobia. But it’s all very well doing that and then all your relationships are cishet. The next stage is making it so your society isn’t heteronormative, and that’s what I felt this book did very well. There were numerous instances of non-cishet relationships and no one batted an eyelid. I think it could have done more with regard to gender in general, but it was a nice start.

I think, really, the only thing that I was not so enamoured by was the f/f relationship. It’s just that it felt like a man writing it (because, duh, it was). Like I know people have differing opinions on that, and I’m not saying that it wasn’t written thoughtfully, because it was. But it still gave off that “written by a man” vibe. (I feel like I’m tying myself in knots writing this paragraph, so sorry if it’s not clear.) But that’s a personal complaint, etc etc and in the end didn’t really detract from my enjoyment of the book as a whole.

So, if you’re looking for a fast-paced adult fantasy that centres on an angsty sibling relationship (and, honestly, aren’t we all?), then this should be on your TBR.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Ashes of the Sun

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