Blog Tour + Review: A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane

Series: A Gathering of Dragons Series
Genre: Barbarian Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Berkley 

A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil—until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal.

Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents’ murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king’s daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay.

Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones—because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own…

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**ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review**

I was excited to read this book ever since I laid eyes on the blurb and cover. When I started reading and saw how long it was I got even more excited. In the fantasy genre, especially if it is the first book in a series, it can get very difficult and sometimes chaotic when introducing a new world to a reader. So I really appreciate it when an author really takes the time to explain everything, but not dumping the information on the reader at once. In the beginning it took me some time to remember the names of characters and tribes. I had to get familiar with everything, but once that was done I was hooked to the story. I love Fantasy Romance novels, and this book was an amazing addition to the genre. Maddek is blinded with the revenge for the deaths of his parents, and can't see that Yvenne is innocent as well. I fell in love with so many different characters, but Yvenne especially stole my heart with her determination and persistence. She looked small and weak, but inside she was so strong. She did everything in her power to convince Maddek that she isn't anything like her treacherous family. It wasn't an easy road, and Maddek broke her heart and soul many times.

However, she isn't some meek and obedient woman. She was absolutely amazing. She had to overcome so many hardships and learn things that are normal to anyone else. She didn't give up and also didn't let Maddek bully her around. She stood her ground and gave him her piece of mind whenever it was needed. The banter and chemistry between Yvenne and Maddek was incredible. The pacing of the story is slow, but it really gave me time to see everything happen in real time. I didn't mind it at all, and I loved seeing the respect and love grow for each other. They both had to learn many things and were the best teacher to each other. Maddek had to learn to behave and think more like a king, and Yvenne had to became the warrior queen she was destined to be. The side characters were great and I enjoyed getting to know them. The action was also very captivating and suspenseful as well. The author had me on the edge of my seat a couple of times. The romance was perfect, and I loved the attraction and fire between Yvenne and Maddek. A Heart of Blood and Ashes was a complete story, the author took her time to tell it and create a new world. The detailed descriptions were easy to read and really came alive in my mind. This book was a great introduction to the series, and I already look forward to the next book.

About the Author
Milla Vane suckled at the plump teat of 80s fantasy movies and was never properly weaned. Under a pen name, she is also an award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of steampunk and paranormal romance. Milla currently resides in Oregon.

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