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From Winter's Ashes » Member Reviews, page 2

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FROM WINTER'S ASHES

Epic Fantasy

By Lee Carlon, member

Aug 24, 2016: From Winter’s Ashes is a novel that was produced as a web serial and is now complete and available on the site and the there is a promise of the second novel coming soon. The story follows Detective Knight Heather Blackthorn and is set in a world of everyday magic. I particularly enjoyed the festival in the first arc that showed children having fun with their magic and responsible adults standing on guard to step in and quell anything that got out of hand.

The writing style is familiar and immersive. Readers looking to sink themselves into a new world should check this one out. Other reviews have mentioned a similarity with Brandon Sanderson, I’ve only read a little Sanderson, but the comparison rings true for.

The chapters are on the long side for me in a web serial, but they feel right when view through the lens of epic fantasy so this is merely a personal preference on my part. The world feels incredibly well thought out and solid, and by solid I mean that it feels like a real three-dimensional world.

Who’d like it? This is one for fans of thick fantasy novels. In addition to the first book in the series there are also several short stories and a codex for readers who want more details about the world. I can easily imagine fans of the genre losing themselves in this one and I will be recommending it to my reading friends.

Presentation This is a minor point and easily worked around, when I read From Winter’s Ashes on my computer the presentation works really well, but when I switch to my iPad the text is too small for me. Again easily worked around by switching to the reader app, but then you lose the presentation as it was intended.

What could be improved? Aside from the mobile reading experience (again a minor thing), I think this serial is really well targeted at its intended audience and fans of epic fantasy should give it a go.

4 of 4 members found this review helpful.
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FROM WINTER'S ASHES

The One She Missed

By SnowyMystic, author of Fabled Hearts

May 4, 2015: To start off, let me state that this serial is just bleeding with emotion.

Now, Let us go through this. When you strip it down, this is in many ways an extremely standard fantasy setting. So, what makes it worth the stars? Worth me starting to rant about how good it is?

The execution is just that good. The descriptions are solid, the characters are solid, the dialogue is solid. The magic system is exploited fully for strong imagery that is well realized.

The promised premise is delivered on within mere paragraphs. There is no chaff here. Though, selling itself as Noire is a bit misleading, there are minor elements that come through, but it doesn’t really have that Noire feel. Or at least I did not get that feeling.

It must be kept in mind that the greater amount of my experience with Noire is in the area of film.

The investigation and detective work is good, but as of this review hasn’t quite come fully into play. The groundwork is well laid out however, such as the methods of the MC.

The grief she feels and how haunted the MC is, can at a few points seem a bit thickly laid on, but generally how it is handled is quite competently and as the story plays out it doesn’t wear on you.

The setting is wonderfully realized, you get a lot of stories with commonplace magic, but few with the magic integrated so much into the setting and the cultures of the setting while still feeling magical. I love coming across these stories where the magic is well weaved in.

The pace is a bit slow, but that is arguably more natural in a detective story. If you want rollicking fast paced action and adventure, look elsewhere, this is not that story.

Ultimately it comes down to this just being a well rounded and crafted serial, with very strong imagery and emotions. While I wouldn’t claim Sanderson’s writing is uninspired compared to this, I’d claim they are certainly on a similar level to each other, and in a few ways have a similar tone and feel.

If someone was to complain to me that the traditional tropes of fantasy are old and worn, I’d point them to this. The problem is not the tropes. The problem is that people have consumed too much low quality fantasy and have become jaded. Eat this and cleanse your palate, or at least try to vary your diet of genres more.

If you want a finely crafted fantasy detective story, so far this looks like this is it. It will be rare that I will not recommend fantasy that actually feels fantastical.

On consistency it seems that the authors have things well planned out and secluded. Which bodes well for the serial being continued to completion.

A final note, the updates are on the larger side of things, so if you wanted something more bitesize for commute or something, this probably won’t fit your needs well unless you are a fast reader.

4 of 4 members found this review helpful.
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FROM WINTER'S ASHES

A fantasy I can believe

By Sten Düring, author of Frays in the Weave

May 1, 2015: Heather Blackthorne is caught in the fallout of personal tragedy in a world where magic is commonplace but simplistic justice isn’t.

The story, this far, reads like a full length fantasy novel, and I suspect that it will end up one.

That said, it doesn’t explode with all important narrative components introduced in the first chapter, which, as far as I’m concerned is a good thing.

For players of Dungeons and Dragons or its ilk some of the well known tropes might be a bit jarring, but this is not your usual adventuring campaign turned into a novel.

The characters introduced are humans with human strength and weaknesses, be they main characters, antagonists or members of the supporting cast. This means they interact with each other in a coherent way that makes sense in the given situation, and likewise they are alone in ways we can believe.

The setting is a world where commonplace magic means that magic influences how people live, from festivals to the available infrastructure. While flashy or powerful magic may not be within reach for everyone it’s still there and used.

What I like: A story that slowly grows into its own without any jarring inconsistencies.

What I dislike: Nothing yet.

Disclaimer: I used to be an avid reader of anything fantasy 800 plages plus—per book. My preferences might not be the same as yours.

4 of 4 members found this review helpful.
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