Ashlords (Ashlords #1)

Scott Reintgen

YA Dystopia

Red Rising meets The Scorpio Races in this epic fantasy following three phoenix horse riders–skilled at alchemy–who must compete at The Races–the modern spectacle that has replaced warfare within their empire.

Every year since the Ashlords were gifted phoenix horses by their gods, they’ve raced them. First into battle, then on great hunts, and finally for the pure sport of seeing who rode the fastest. Centuries of blood and fire carved their competition into a more modern spectacle: The Races.

Over the course of a multi-day event, elite riders from clashing cultures vie to be crowned champion. But the modern version of the sport requires more than good riding. Competitors must be skilled at creating and controlling phoenix horses made of ash and alchemy, which are summoned back to life each sunrise with uniquely crafted powers to cover impossible distances and challenges before bursting into flames at sunset. But good alchemy only matters if a rider knows how to defend their phoenix horse at night. Murder is outlawed, but breaking bones and poisoning ashes? That’s all legal and encouraged.

In this year’s Races, eleven riders will compete, but three of them have more to lose than the rest–a champion’s daughter, a scholarship entrant, and a revolutionary’s son. Who will attain their own dream of glory? Or will they all flame out in defeat?

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion 

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) Look at that cover, what is not to love?? This may have been a cover buy but the synopsis grabbed me too.

The Ashlords have been given phoenix horses by their gods and for centuries have raced them. But it’s not just a race. The phoenixes crumble to ash each sunset only to rise again each sunrise. The knowledge the riders need involves safety for their phoenix ashes, alchemy to make them the best phoenix but also a large dose of healthy competition which includes sabotaging other riders and their phoenixes.

The story was highly unique. While races are a common trope for YA and more, Reintgen took it to another level with it’s complexity and intrigue.

While the book is mostly about the races, the classism takes a large part in the story also. Ashlords are the higher class who are favored by the gods and are given many luxuries. When a lower class person enters due to a technicality, the Ashlords make it their mission to destroy her chance. I love a good underdog!.

One interesting aspect of the writing was that the different characters were done in different POV. For example, while one character was done in first person, others were in second or third. At first this threw me off completely. However, I found that it actually helped me to know which character it was at the time. It did take quite a bit to get used to but I learned to appreciate it. The characters were very similar and so this helped set them apart.

The ending was well done with a twist I did not anticipate, but was played out perfectly. It built the story for book two so well that I requested it before finishing book one. I recommend this to those who love a truly unique story, rooting for the underdogs and lively competition.

AUDIO REVIEW: Rebecca Soler, Andrew Eiden, Lauren Fortgang and Neil Hellegers as the full cast was amazing. A full cast is always preferred! I became familiar with each character’s voice which helped with the extensive characters.

General content summary: 

Little to no language 

Physical violence (weapons, fist fights, blood, injuries, multiple)

Somewhat revealing photos (no details)

Alcohol (some underage)

Story of men taking and killing many (one fights and kills them)

Poison (death, few details)

Horse injuries (from other horses during race)

Horse/Phoenix deaths then rebirths (multiple)

Fall from large height (details of body, injuries and paralysis)

Paranormal spirits 

Wraith creature (some details)

Death (fire, some details) 

Battle scene (weapons, injuries)

Thank you to PRH Audio for the copy!

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.