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Book Review

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Ashes of the Sun (Hardback)


Author: Django Wexler
Publisher: Head of Zeus
550 pages
RRP: £20.00
ISBN: 978 1 78854 314 9
Publication Date: 01 October 2020

The war between the Chosen and the Gouls has left a shattered land. Both Gouls and Chosen have disappeared, but the remnants of their technology remain to be scavenged. Away from the important events in the world, young Gyre and Maya play, as many young children are wont to do. This idyll does not last long. A Centarch arrives at their dwelling to take Maya away. Defending his scared sister, Gyre stabs the Centarch, who takes his eye as recompense. Twelve years later Gyre is head of an illegal scavenging gang, dreaming of killing all the Centarchs, for taking his sister and Maya is a Centarch in training...

Ashes of the Sun (550 pages including glossary) is the first in a new series of science fantasy novels, written by, American writer, Django Wexler, who has an extensive bibliography to his name. The novel is the first in the Burningblade and Silvereye series.

While this is not a Star Wars novel there are some similarities between the two series. Wexler in the Acknowledgments, writes that in many ways that this was the jumping off point. I wouldn’t get too hung up about this as most of the elements which you may feel have crossed over are technological. For instance the world contains blasters as well as haken, which are as near to a lightsabre as you are likely to find. The order which Maya finds herself joining is not dissimilar to the Jedi order, with similar structure and mystical leanings.

Obviously, with the initial setup, Wexler will bring the two siblings together. I did wonder why The Order had not let Maya contact her parents of brother, but apparently it is forbidden. It not a very good PR stance, given that you waltz into town steal a child and maim another.

Maya and Gyre do not meet any time soon in the story, which was at first a little irritating as you’re just waiting for the showdown. Instead Wexler has the reader spend considerable time switching between the two POV main characters. I thought that this made for a much richer experience.

Wexler spends time world building and introducing the audience to the ancillary characters which surround the siblings. They are given time to breathe and for the reader to empathise with them. It also gives a deeper understanding of the siblings differing viewpoints when they do eventually meet. Also, time has been taken imbuing the secondary characters with their own specific personality types and the interactions between the characters feels real and natural.

The overall structure of the novel is broken down into equal parts story and equal parts fight scenes. The book contains a lot of well-choreographed fights, many of which have the same vibe as a Jedi Lightsabre battle. The overall pace of the book remains fast throughout.

Although it has some Star Wars DNA in it, the novel is very much its own thing and Wexler paints a picture of both world and characters where black and white rarely exists and people are not always as they seem.


Charles Packer

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