Read Ash and Echoes by Augusta Li Online

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For the past few years Yarroway L’Estrella has lived in exile, gathering arcane power, but that power came at a price. Now it’s time for him to do his duty: his uncle, the king, needs him to escort Prince Garith to his wedding, a union that will create an alliance between the two strongest countries in the known world. But Yarrow isn’t the prince’s only guard. A whole compFor the past few years Yarroway L’Estrella has lived in exile, gathering arcane power, but that power came at a price. Now it’s time for him to do his duty: his uncle, the king, needs him to escort Prince Garith to his wedding, a union that will create an alliance between the two strongest countries in the known world. But Yarrow isn’t the prince’s only guard. A whole company of knights is assigned to the duty, and Yarrow’s not sure he trusts their leader.Knight Duncan Purefroy isn’t sure he trusts Yarrow either, but after a bizarre occurrence during their travels, they have no choice but to work together—especially since the incident also reveals a disturbing secret, one that might threaten the entire kingdom. But will it ultimately work in their favor?When a third member joins the precarious alliance, it seems to cement the bonds between all three men. But the arrangement isn’t perfect: Yarrow knows the power inside him and fears getting too close. The mysterious newcomer was raised to believe love and trust are weaknesses. And Duncan struggles to accept them as they are. Saving their home will take everything they have—including the fragile relationship they’ve built....

Title : Ash and Echoes
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781613725597
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 330 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Ash and Echoes Reviews

  • Xing
    2018-10-04 09:46

    DNF. I usually try to make it 50% into a book before quitting, but I just couldn't. Was it the menage? No (I didn't actually get to the menage, but I went into this book knowing that the relationship is M/M/M). Was it the plot? No.What I couldn't tolerate was the characterization. There are three characters: Yarrow, the mage that shares his body with an evil entity; Duncan, the knight who is loyal; Sasha, the assassin that denounced the ability to love. All characters felt flat and, quite frankly, annoyed me. It's like the author wanted to make three complex characters, but ended up quite the opposite. Yarrow, who appeared cold and apathetic at first, is really annoying. For example, (view spoiler)[He sleeps with Sasha, hates it when Duncan calls him a slut, then goes and has angry sex with Sasha afterwards. What?(hide spoiler)] Then there's Sasha, who says he can't love. But develops insta-love with Yarrow, and develops quick feelings for Duncan. Okay...? And Duncan is all loud and proud of his hate for the assassin, yet quickly changes his tune. My favorite character was the evil entity inside of Yarrow. At least I got some humor from it.The writing felt a bit bland, which was impaired by the head hopping POV we get between the three characters. Overall, this fiction just didn't work for me.Edit: Cleared my rating from 1 star. I figured it wasn't fair to rate the book since I didn't even reach 50%.

  • Fehu
    2018-10-18 11:37

    What happens when one throws a knight, an assassin and mage together on a journey? Add some battles, betrayals, secrets and lust and you have some of the cornerstones for Ash and Echoes. Ash and Echoes is a good high fantasy book and I would recommend it for the fantasy part. It reminded me a bit of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books, having in common Yarrow being the youngest, liked by his aunt but not by his own family and of course him being the most powerful mage.Yarrow is a mage with a troubled past, which is revealed in bits and pieces. After being summoned to court, he is saddled with the task of seeing his cousin safely married and therefore creating a powerful alliance. This alliance is opposed by not only the smaller countries and nations but there is strife in their own lands, something that Yarrow finds out when it’s nearly too late.Duncan is a knight trusted with the task to protect the prince and the mage, little did he expect that the mage could protect himself and be such a fierce fighter. It’s not until afte, an unexpected attack that Duncan learns that there is more to the mage than what meets the eyes but he certainly likes what he sees and would act on it if it weren’t for his duty.The third one in their team is an assassin, Sasha who has learned not to trust and not to love anyone but his god of death. While physical intimacy comes easily to him, feelings and moral don’t enter into his considerations. I thought Sasha was a pretty interesting character and well done. He started as a cold-hearted assassin and while he did thaw some to his companions, he didn’t get a total personality change. Sasha faced some hard decisions about what he wanted most and I liked how he grows with these challenges.What Yarrow and Duncan don’t know is that they were lied to about their task and a race begins to reach the subject they were asked to protect. When one does not know who is friend or foe it’s hard to trust, and some hard truths and secrets from the past can come to haunt in the most unexpected time.Ash and Echoes is not a book for the weak hearted, there is mentions of a gang rape to a minor in the past, a lot of blood, violence and murder. Sasha is an unapologetic assassin and Yarrows darker side kills without remorse and pretty much massacres anything in its way.The fantasy adventure is quite good but since it’s the first book some questions are left unanswered, especially about Yarrow and his bound with the dark entity. Romance is a big part of this story but sometimes it was hard to believe it was love. While the adventure part is well written and one is easily caught into the romance plot, I didn’t really believe that Duncan loved them both equally. Sasha and Yarrow seemed to share more, understood the darker parts of each other, with Duncan it felt more on a superficial level.I liked Yarrow and felt for him dealing with so many burdens alone, he is fiercely protective of the ones that he loves and holds dear and I really hope he will have his happy ending.

  • Deja Dei
    2018-09-27 13:36

    This book pushed all my right buttons. I'm a happy fantasy fanboy. It has all my favorite things: magic, adventure, huge battles and an unpredictable, fast-paced plot. The world building is intricate and detailed enough to be believable and interesting without slowing down the action. The details of the society are sprinkled in nicely throughout instead of being dumped on you. It wasn't long before I felt very familiar with the kingdoms and could picture the cities and environments the characters inhabited. Some of the ideas, like the race of pirate people and their culture, are really different from a lot of high fantasy.The plot starts out pretty simply enough. Mage Yarrow's cousin Garith is marrying a princess from another nation, and the wedding will form a very powerful alliance. Since quite a few people will benefit if the wedding falls through, Yarrow is ordered by his uncle the king to protect Garith. From there, the plot twists and turns as they lies and betrayals start to surface. Yarrow and Duncan soon find themselves in a very dangerous situation with no one to trust.Initially these characters don't like each other. Duncan thinks Yarrow is spoiled and Yarrow thinks Duncan is uptight. The dialogue as they take shots at each other is really entertaining. I really like Duncan's dry sense of humor. Then Sasha comes along and just adds to it, because Duncan thinks he's immoral and not to be trusted. It really takes a lot for these characters to find a common ground, because they're so drastically different in what they value and what they're willing to doIt's clear all of them are lonely and want companionship, but each of them has past issues that keep them from taking the chance on love. Yarrow has a very dark secret that makes him keep others at a distance, and Sasha has been taught love is a weakness. Duncan is very protective of the two younger men, but he also finds some of the things they do appalling. As other reviews have mentioned, this is a hard-won romance as the characters struggle to understand each other.This is one of those rare books where the main plot is totally dependent on the romance and the romance is dependent on the main conflict. The two story line cannot really be separated, but it is really the characters who drive the plot. I liked all their quirks and complexities and the growth they experience over the course of the story. A big thank you to the author for making Sasha a real assassin. Too often we as readers get told a character is dangerous and cold without ever seeing it. There is no doubt Sasha is dangerous and devoid of morals (at the beginning). I'm glad for an assassin I actually get to see killing people.I'm going to give this a 4.5, because the ending is ROUGH. I understand why what happened had to happen, but ouch.To give fair warning to some of my friends who I know don't like certain things, this is very violent. The battles are detailed and Sasha is completely unapologetic in killing people. It's also a three way relationship. It starts out as Sasha and Yarrow just agreeing to be friends with benefits, but their feelings grow from their and the scenes between all of them, while really explicit, are also sweet and touching at times. Also be warned Yarrow and Sasha are not necessarily morally good, though they do develop and change. Alot of the reason they are the way they are comes to light along the way.As long as this book is, I was sorry to see it end and will look forward to the next book. These characters still have alot to work out, I think.

  • Dominicz
    2018-09-28 10:48

    This was very disappointing. I bought this after reading the good reviews it received, but it didn't live up to the hype. The good - the plot felt fresh, not new, because most plots have been done, but it felt original and different. Although the ending was somewhat predictable, it wasn't trite or contrived. It worked in the context of the story.The not so good - I freely admit that sex in a story isn't really that appealing to me. I prefer the author set the table, then let me imagine the details. But I can and do like to see sex scenes that add to the story. This story had just way too many sex scenes that were all way too long. If you like gratuitous sex scenes - especially if you like threesomes - then this is for you. There were several 8-10 page scenes that felt so much like the previous sex scene, my eyes glazed over. I would say a good 15-20% of the book was detail sex scenes between the three main characters. To me they detracted from the story. The bad. If you want an example of head hopping and why it should be avoided, this is your book. The narrative jumped between the heads of the three main characters sometimes leaving me to wonder whose head I was in at the time. The hops were not delineated by chapters or even clear scene breaks. To me it felt amateurish, something any good writing instructor would tell you not to do. Sometimes head hopping can work, but there needs to be a clear break in the scenes for it to really work. The arbitrary hopping really took this down several pegs in my mind. Coupled with the unnecessary amount of needless sex, this didn't rate nearly as high with me as the other reviewers.

  • Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews
    2018-10-19 14:43

    4 1/2 HeartsFirst published at MM Good Book Reviewshttp://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.co...Yarrow is called upon to escort his cousin to his wedding. It is something that he would rather not do, but for his aunt he will. It is a journey that brings him into contact with Duncan, a Knight who thinks little of him and Sasha, an assassin who could end up betraying them. It is a journey that brings danger, betrayal, political intrigue and exposes secrets and all three men have to band together to survive and expose the truth.This is an absolute must read if you love high fantasy. Whoop, so happy! *little dance*. Yarrow is a magic user, the most powerful magic user of the time. But, Yarrow has a secret that makes him dangerous and he can’t trust anyone. So, he travels by himself keeping a distance from those around him… until he meets Duncan and then Sasha. But how can he tell them his secret without losing them both? Duncan is a Knight, he will do his duty and make sure his charges reach their destination, but Yarrow calls to something inside him and then Sasha does as well. But, he hates Sasha for how he conducts his life and now Duncan is confused about his forbidden feelings. Sasha can’t love, it was trained out of him at a young age, but Yarrow causes him to begin to question what he has learnt and Duncan drives him crazy and it ends up making Sasha make a choice that shouldn’t be a choice. After all, he is a cold-blooded assassin.So, this is high fantasy at its highest and it is beautifully done. The world building is great, the backgrounds of the characters are well done and give us enough information to relate to them and the storyline and plot is wonderful. Although Yarrow is a powerful magic user, none of his magical scenes are overdone and there are even times when you think, he could have used more. But, as you learn, there is a high price he has to pay if he uses the most powerful magic. So, you can understand why he tries to limit what he does. The main storyline is quite simple get the prince to his wedding. But, it is quickly quite apparent that there are plans afoot to derail the wedding and then the betrayals begin and the three men have to band together to ensure the prince lives and to save the kingdom.There is a lot going on in this book with some interesting twists and turns. There are secrets that come out, political intrigue, betrayal, murders, traps, pursuits, battles, confrontations, lies and love. The relationship between Yarrow, Sasha and Duncan is complex and far from easy. There is plenty of hot sex, but these three men each have their own problems that they have to work through before they can fully accept the others. and Yarrow’s problem is a doozy. You do not want to miss the fighting scenes or the battle scenes because they are brilliant, all the attention to detail was great and I loved it (have I mentioned I’m a bit Blood Thirsty). I loved each of the MCs as they were all completely different, with completely different values and attitudes towards things, so much potential conflict between them.This is not the book to read if you want a nice light romance. The romance is hard going, but well-earned. The storyline is intertwined with danger and betrayal from all directions, the characters all have problems but aren’t too angsty and the action is great. The ending is one that leaves you wishing that the next book was already published so you can continue the journey.So, I recommend this to anyone who loves high fantasy, difficult romances, hot sex, difficult journeys, betrayal, secrets, lies, action, battles, some bloody gore and three very intriguing heroes… oh, and an ending that will make you grit your teeth and scream silently for the next book.

  • Shanna
    2018-09-21 09:39

    This book was nothing short of amazing. The world building was complex and engaging. The characters and their relationship were realistically developed. There were no easy answers here but the conflicts weren't trite or overly angsty. I can only hope that the author is able to maintain this quality for the rest of the series.

  • Lena Grey
    2018-10-20 12:38

    “Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.” ~Lao Tzu From the time he was a young child, Yarroway L. Estrella of 'Ash and Echoes' by Augusta Li has had a special talent for conjuring. Over the years, he's become even more adept, skilled to the point that men fear his abilities. Even so, Yarrow is uncertain about them. He hasn't yet figured out just how powerful he truly is. Yarrow has the knowledge but has yet to acquire the wisdom it takes to wield such power effectively. This story is about his journey toward that wisdom and the consequences of his actions as he attains it.Yarrow is an amazing combination of compassion, gentleness, worldliness, insolence, neediness, strength, and power. He keeps his feelings to himself rather than imposing them on others. Yarrow is a very unselfish person who truly needs someone to love him. He can name a thousand ways why this isn't possible, but when love comes to him, he revels in it, giving his body and affection freely, but when he decides that's not what's best for everyone, he can just as easily withdraw and do what he has to do. He's such a contradiction. Physically, he seems almost fragile, but he's not. Yarrow can definitely take care of himself; sometimes a mere flick of his wrist is all it takes. As powerful as he is, he doesn't take it for granted. He accepts the consequences which go along with his wizardry and realizes that power without the wisdom it takes to use it judiciously takes a lot of experience and contemplation. In addition, the host he carries within presents even greater challenges in his journey to greater knowledge. Yarrow must not only learn to manage his own abilities but those of his host as well. Although the host has amazing skills and power and offers Yarrow a plethora of power, his ideas about life are quite different from Yarrow's which often put them at odds.The knight, Duncan, is the epitome of a good and righteous man. He's loyal, dedicated, moral, gentle, protective, and passionate. Duncan is also a man who is wise enough to admit when he's wrong and open-minded enough to change his opinion if the situation warrants it. When he first meets Yarrow, he's not impressed. Yarrow is young, slightly-built, and looks more like a boy than a man, especially compared to the type of men that Duncan is used to associating with. He can't imagine why the king would want him to accompany the prince and his men on what could very well be a perilous journey. Duncan sees him as weak and ineffective, as someone else he will have to protect, a bother more than an advantage. When Yarrow shatters his image by not being the soft, useless, person he imagines and, in fact, proves to be brave, strong, and very powerful, Duncan is the first to admit he's wrong. His views are also challenged by Sasha, the trained assassin, with whom he has to put aside pre-conceived notions in order to admit that, in spite of his past, Sasha is a brave man, useful ally, and eventually someone he admires and trusts.Sasha, a trained assassin, is a complex, and illusive person. Even though he says he's trained to have no emotions and can't feel love, he's extremely loving toward Yarrow and, later Duncan as well. He's actually quite protective of both men. What Sasha says and what he feels, or at least needs to feel, seem like a contradiction and Duncan, especially, calls him on it. Sasha has a lot of soul-searching to do, especially when he discovers that his 'brotherhood' has turned on him and he's not the hunted instead of the hunter. Everything he's known from a young age needs to be reconsidered. For the first time in his life, he is without a purpose and alienated from the only fellowship he's ever known. Fortunately, Yarrow and Duncan are there for him, not only for companionship but to give him a direction in which to travel forward while he's re-evaluating his life. In some ways, Sasha has the greatest sacrifice and challenge to overcome, and it takes a man with his strength to accomplish it.'Ash and Echoes' is a fantastic story of three very strong men, all different, but joined together in a relationship which defies logic, but is strong and lasting. Yarrow, Duncan, and Sasha enhance each other's strengths and negate their weaknesses, forming a unit which is unstoppable. In addition to the hard-won union between the three men, there is lots of action and adventure, entwined with great world-building, fantasy, magic, betrayal, and all the things that make for an amazing complex, but never boring tale. It's horrific at times, definitely dark, but also very sensual, almost brutal sometimes even within the physical bounds of the ménage between Duncan, Yarrow, and Sasha, which very much matches the equivalent medieval time period presented in the story. It's exciting, heart breaking, passionate, compelling, heavy, brutal, and amazing all at the same time. I did not want it to end, and am anxiously awaiting the second book in the series. If your taste in reading leans toward the esoteric, magical world of mages, knights, spells, darkness, and the battle between good and evil, then you may enjoy this story. Thank you, Gus, for such an insightful and exciting journey into the fantasy world of Yarroway L. Estrella and his associates. I can hardly wait for the continuation of this story.NOTE: This book was provided by DSP Publications for the purpose of a review on Rainbow Book Reviews.

  • Magda
    2018-10-21 09:58

    You're probably thinking "not another love triangle", but bare with me, you won't regret it. After reading this let me know your thoughts, I'm curious to know what you think of this kind of triangle :D.Since the Goodreads summary is rather long I'm simply going to tell you few words about the story.Yarrow - a powerful young mage with quite a history and an unfortunate, permanent companion is made to accompany his cousin, the prince, on his journey. He has no idea what fate has in mind for him.Duncan - a warrior faithful to his king and his training will do anything to protect the prince. He doesn't need some cursed wizard to help him. Until the moment, Yarrow saves their lives.And what about the prince? After the party is broken with only the last three members left alive, how will they find a common language. Seemingly three very different people, it there something that will help them join forces and bring their quest to an end?Oh my, I got a bit inspired :P I hope it was fine. Was it fine?Anyway, let's continue.There were many things I like in this book and few that weren't perfect. Let's start with some goodies to pick up the mood.First of all - the characters. Irresistible! I love the trio. Obviously, I like Yarrow most - he is a mage after all :D. Plus, due to his travels and earlier experiences, he's much more tolerant than the other two. The problem lies in his head... or maybe spirit. I don't want to spoil it too much, even though you'll find out about it quite early. I don't understand why doesn't he want to explain it to people closest to him, though. I think I would.As for the soldier - he can be a bit stiff sometimes, but he's faithful and all good in his heart. He always does the right thing, even if it costs him a lot.Sasha, aah dear Sasha... Rogues, thieves and assassin's are yet another weakness of mine. Always when I'm starting a new RPG I have a hard time to choose between mage and rogue as my first class :D. Sasha is very easygoing and yet gets attached a bit too easily. He's supposed to have no feeling, but it seems his new companions are destroying this barrier.I was talking about a triangle, right? Let me explain why I liked it. This might be a bit of a spoiler, but it's hinted in book blurb and you'll read about it quite early in the book, so I think you'll be good with this knowledge. You see, in your everyday read, you'll get (for example) two boys fighting over one girl's feelings. In the end, one of them gets chosen and the other lives unhappily ever after :P. In this story, they don't need to choose. They simply decided to stay together. The three of them. I LOVE IT! Plus there are some hot sex scenes on the way, soo... I probably should warn you about these - don't read it in public ;).And among all these things the author never forgets about the plot. The characters keep following their path, making choices that will change their lives forever. Everything that happens in the book was well thought through. I admit I wished few things to be solved a bit differently, but the author kept my attention and kept me thinking too. Well done! And if you think the romance is rather a side motive - it's not. The more the characters bond, the harder some decisions they had to take become. And not only their lives depend on it.Now let's see some of the not-so-good parts. I did mention the love, right? As much as I like it I think there was still a bit too fast. Well, maybe Sasha's feeling went a the right speed since at first he only wanted a companion to sleep with, but for a person who says he can't love, he surely developed his new feeling rather fast.Characters could also use a bit of a development, but since this is the first book, I do hope to find out more about the trio later in the series. Because I do intend to read the rest of it.In short - I had a good time reading this book. I would recommend it to everyone interested in fantasy with good plot and strongly present male romance.So, what do you think? Do you think you'll check this books out? I certainly know I'm going to continue with the series, I'd love to know what next adventures await our heroes.I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Read my reviews at https://maginibooks.wordpress.com

  • Eon Beaumont
    2018-10-20 16:43

    This book is proof that even an author you read consistently can surprise you.The layers to this story are intricate and beautiful. If you're a fan of high fantasy, this is definitely a must read. The world, the kingdoms- amazing. The settings come alive and the characters are unbeleivable(in a good way). I LOVED them. Well. Most of them. One I really liked but didn't love. Not the writer's fault, I'm just not a fan of big muscular, manly men. He's a great character, well-written and likeable but I personally didn't love him. And when I say unbelievable I mean unbelievably realistic. I mean they're in situations and some have powers that are beyond anything real but they react realistically to their situations. The plot and sub-plots are engaging and interesting as well. I don't want to give anything away but there were a couple WHAT!? moments for me where the plot twisted unexpectedly but it didn't feel like the author just pulled it out of nowhere. I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention the battle scenes which were intense and well constructed. And just a small caveat- This isn't a rainbows and unicorns romance. There's no cupcakes or sparkles. It's realistic relationships amongst people with actual problems and ideals. There is conflict there but it's not angsty inner monologue. These characters aren't whiners. They're hard men (No pun intended- but there's plenty of HOT sex too) in hard situations. That said, these guys aren't cookie cutter heroes. (One is almost.) They're good to each other(for the most part) but they aren't necessarily good people. (One is.) Okay. I changed my mind. I do love them all. I wish I could write stuff this good.

  • Rellik
    2018-10-02 12:36

    Great world building, reminded me of RPG video games. Glad that the main characters were not portrayed only as good lawful heroes archetype, but a variety of views and beliefs between them.Definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.

  • Tamarrion Lash
    2018-09-23 16:43

    Пересказ книги в десяти словах - собралась как-то компашка из мага, воина и ассассина, и как давай наводить новый мировой порядок!Несмотря на непреодолимое желание заржать в самых патетических местах, считаю, что книга отличная. Единственный минус - продолжения ждать долго.

  • Sylvie
    2018-10-21 10:45

    This one deserves a 4.5 star. Less than five because it ended and I was crying. I need the book two of this blessed epoch!

  • momokaachan
    2018-09-25 09:51

    I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. The problem? I could not connect to any of the three main characters. The descriptions of the landscape, the fighting, the sex and the magic were really intricate. The character development? Not so much. POVs changed sometimes paragraph to paragraph - and let's not forget the demon (although it is never named that way, it is obvious to me that is what it is) who shares Yarrow's soul. I felt like throwing my Kindle across the room (as I would have a paperback book) several times reading through the arguments. And then - what really soured me was Duncan asking Yarrow: gee, if things get too bad, would you mind letting your demon take over even though it will probably consume you (and everything else)? And then Yarrow does this and suddenly he and the demon are "okay"? And then finding out that the whole mess of kidnappings, false identities, etc. was possibly manipulated by the Queen Mother and the new Queen, who are really mages??!! Good grief, let Duncan and Sasha settle down with their home and white picket fence (well: probably a moat), and let Yarrow go find himself. I am done.

  • Anne Freya
    2018-10-07 15:52

    Ash and Echoes...of screams.As much as I love M/M/M in manga medium, I've not yet found great and believable polyamory in novel medium, not even this one. Well, it's not like I actively hunt menage novel, and Ash and Echoes is my second menage after the first one failed big time. Despite many negative reviews and the menage, I was willing to give it a go. And then I fell in love with its world building (magic and powerful mage? SOLD) and the writing style (especially the similes, love it) since chapter one. Characters are antiheroes, especially Sasha the assassin and Yarrow the mage, killing is as easy as breathing for them. Selfish, brutal, immoral, arrogant bastard. Not goody two-shoes like Duncan the knight. I have no problem with antiheroes, it's not like I couldn't enjoy antihero story, not every character in my books have to be perfect, because flaws make them more human, more three-dimensional to readers.And so... yes, the more I read, the more I learned about the trio. Each of them has their own tragic past that shaped their characters, beliefs, and the way they live now. My favorite character here is Sasha the assassin, he has more character development here. And his love for Duncan and Yarrow felt real to me, but the latter especially Duncan's doesn't convince me at all. Duncan's felt superficial and Yarrow was so lonely and hungry for love. That's why the polyamory here did not convince me at all, but doesn't mean the abundant threesome less hot because of that. It's HOT, 😋 as hot as hot dog. 😂 They fuck like rabbits, and honestly, while it's hot, sometimes it's not that hot, rather boring and sometimes I just shaked my head and laughed whenever they tried different positions, it's like reading Kamasutra. 😂 I guess it depends on the storytelling and the positions, well, it's 3P, imagine the creativity to make some positions work for them and easy for readers to picture it in their heads too. 😅 The romance department is dry but the plot is quite rich. But I especially enjoyed the conversation between Yarrow and his parasite in his body. The latter is the main reason why he's the most powerful mage, he's powerful mage but with the parasite, he's an invincible mage. However the power that Yarrow yearned so much is not without cost, the evil passenger will lend and use Yarrow's body to his satisfaction within the agreed time. Whenever Yarrow gets back his own body, it's not without grave repercussions, and with his new companions alongside him all the time, unsurprisingly the guy found it more and more difficult to conceal his secret. Another thrilling part is when someone tried to kill or capture them, because we got to see the extent of Yarrow's magic when he's pushed. Sometimes in peril he had to bargain with his bodiless demon so he could save them all with the long forgotten arcane knowledge as ancient as the demon himself.

  • Sadie Forsythe
    2018-09-21 12:32

    I found this book to be a disappointment. It's unfortunate too, because it has (or suggests it has) so many elements I love. I'm attracted to well drawn covers (not the horrid CG things so many authors use, but actual art) and this one has a very pretty cover. Fantasy. Check. Demonic possession. Check. Moral ambiguity. Check. A threesome. Check. Strong, dangerous men. Check. Looking at it from the outside, I really should have loved this book. But I just didn't and I didn't half because of objective quality reasons and half because I don't like the type of book it turned out to be.Let me clarify. On the objective side, I found the writing and dialogue very stiff. There was no natural progression of feelings between the men. It's not insta-love or insta-lust, but from one page to the next they went from disliking in one case and hating in another (remember there are 3 of them) to lust and then almost immediately to love. And these are men who generally claim not to be able to love. One won't allow it because of his demon, another has been trained not to feel emotion and the last puts his duty first, so love is not an option. But they all fall hard and fast. Even homosexuality being illegal and a three-way relationship being socially unheard of weren't hurdles to them.For three otherwise emotionally closeted men, they all spewed unfathomable amounts of open praise and adoration. It felt out of character for the men presented. In fact, none of the characters are particularly consistent, often acting in ways that they shouldn't according to their character, as described. Yarrow was especially bad about this.Ages were never defined. I needed this information since Duncan is said to be older and looks on Yarrow and Sasha as almost boys. This is a tad disturbing since Yarrow, who I'm guessing is in his late teens, maybe early twenties (but I'm leaning toward teens) lost a lover named Rini, who he consistently describes along the lines of 'my Emiri boy.' And since Yarrow's history shows underage sex isn't off the table in the book, I started imagining Rini as a tween. (It kind of squinked me out.) But also, I just needed to know how to visualise the men—teens, young men, middle-aged, old. It left my imaginings of them vague at best.The three-man relationship often felt awkward. Scenes built for two were stretched to include a third and it felt a bit like a wobbly wheel. I didn't even find the sex scenes, as written, erotic.The world-building, while elaborate didn't make a lot of sense. The multitude of goddesses worshiped by a strictly patriarchal society. A vague history that forbade mages to rule, but no real depth to it. No placement of mages in the society at large, meaning I had no understanding of the magic system. No placement of demons (if that's what Yarrow has) in the pantheon, so no way to understand it's existence, etc.On the more personal side of things, I'm not into those books where characters constantly tell one another how wonderful, special, beautiful, sexy, amazing, important, awe-inspiring, handsome, enticing, smart, strong, loyal, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc they are and that is exactly what most of this book is.For one, people, especially men, don't tend to be so effusive so it NEVER feels natural and believable. Two, it's cringe-worthy. I can't tell you how many times I just plain rolled my eyes at this book. Three, it's repetitive. Four, it ruins a sex scene. Five...five, gag. It just makes me gag and there was just so darned much of it. I don't like it in general. I sure don't like it from men I've been told are (or have previously been) absolutely, 100% not the sort of men to engage in such conversations and declarations.Lastly, I didn't like the book's ending. So, for another reader this book might be a hit. It was not for me.

  • Shelby
    2018-10-12 16:42

    This was so close to being fabulous for me. I loved the characters. The twisty and torn assassin in Sasha. The loyal, stalwart knight with Duncan. And the darkly ravished mage in Yarrow. Together they were just awesome. I just felt overall their lacked the little extra element of storytelling that would have made this truly special.Yarrow left home years before, running from things he didn't want to face. Blessed with his magic he thought he'd be safe. But a dark cave and near death burdened him with something worse than even his darkest nightmares could dream. Now years later he is called to return and escort his cousin, the prince, to his wedding with the princess of a neighboring kingdom. Despite his ill will towards the king Yarrow agrees and joins Duncan, the knight designated to lead this troop, in protecting the prince. But plots are afoot and while on the road they are attacked by their own men. In the fight it is revealed that the prince is not really the prince, but Sasha in disguise. The assassin was hired to impersonate the prince and lead his detractors on a merry chase so the prince could reach his wedding alive. As more and more information is revealed the plot to overthrow the crown becomes more intricate and deadly. Secret cadres of assassins are after them and it's difficult to know who to trust. As the bonds between the trio grow each faces their own demons, Duncan his duty, Sasha his bonds and training, and Yarrow the demon locked inside. Together they have to overcome to save the kingdom and each other. I love the epic fantasy genre. It's one of my all time favorites. This story fits neatly into that genre and as such I really enjoyed it. The story moved a long quickly and I was lost in the events. There was just a little something missing though. It didn't have that little extra layer of grittiness that makes something like this truly special. I believed in Duncan, Yarrow, and Sasha's love for each other, but I never really got to know why, what sparked that love. Even though some nasty things were occurring there always seemed to be a soft polish to it. I think that's maybe what bothered me. In books like Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series the whole world is soft and light. Even if something evil is going on there are true lines of demarcation between good and evil so everything works to have this polish. Versus reading something like Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Universe series where the material is all dark and twisty and we love it for that. There's an edginess to the writing that permeates the book. Nothing about it is soft, even when the characters are falling in love. I felt like at times this book was trying to be both. Dark and twisty subject matter, but written with a much lighter soft and polished hand. I think the characters, especially Yarrow, would have been better served to have that grittiness and texture involved in a darker writing style. But, that's just opinion. The writing here was good. I was immersed in the world and understood the boundaries of it. I'm definitely going to be reading the next book in the series and hope for a happier resolution to all things Duncan/Yarrow/Sasha. The three deserve each other and I'm rooting for them.

  • Elaine White
    2018-10-13 14:48

    ** This review is word-for-word as that contained within the Blessed Epoch, Vol. 1 review **Book 1: Ashes and EchoesLength: 0-23%POV: Yarrow, Duncan, SashaStar rating: ★★★☆☆Confusingly, I enjoyed this but it wasn't one of those books I read and thought “OMG, I'm in love” like I have with other books by this author. I feel a little bit torn about it, as in some ways it was fantastic, while in others it felt really long (even for a book of 330 pages) and it dragged in places where it really shouldn't have.Sadly, I didn't end book 1 with an urgent, desperate need to read book 2, but I am curious how it will go. The plot for this one was quite twisted and intertwining so I guess that the others will probably follow the same format. However, it really didn't work for me. It felt more like a bunch of short plot arcs that were all woven together to make one big one and, at times, I wasn't following the connections or I didn't believe in them enough to trust it. And it's a little annoying that we leave book 1 without knowing who, exactly, ordered the assassins to do their job against Sasha. That bugs me, leaving an unanswered question.The story dealt with some serious themes in a compassionate, understanding way that didn't make fun of them but didn't blow them up into something that became the focus of the story, either. They were used as a side plot in a really long story, but treated with care and woven seamlessly into the story, from beginning to end, so that it wasn't constantly on our mind but was never far from our thoughts, at the same time.It started off really intriguing, because Yarrow was a great character to offer his POV and he showed us a lot about himself that we couldn't have found out in any other way. But he was also a relateable character, one with scars both mental and physical and a mysterious past, a mysterious voice in his head and a whole lot of questions for us to ask about that were revealed throughout the telling of the story, in pieces that were just enough at the time they were given. I do think maybe we were told the story of how Yarrow met the mysterious voice in his head too soon. I would have loved to have waited until he explained it all to Duncan and Sasha before finding out, because then it would be much more curious and intriguing.One thing that really bothered me was the copious amounts of sex. Now, normally I like the amount of sex scenes to match the theme of the book and the length. So, a longer novel can handle more scenes and one that is based on an MMM relationship can handle a little more than your average MM, often because of the dynamics needed to bring three people together. In this one, I understood the need for Yarrow and Sasha to get it on, when Duncan kept refusing Yarrow and they'd made their 'no strings' agreement. I also get the point of the angry sex later, when Duncan again refuses Yarrow, as well as the first menage scene. However, they had to be about ten sex scenes in this entire book, all of a hugely unnecessary half dozen to dozen pages each. Now, in a contemporary romance novel I can accept more of that, but in a fantasy with a plot this intricate, there really shouldn't have been the time, energy or inclination for that amount of sex to be going on. It just felt a little too much, too contrived and too in-your-face for my liking, which is weird because August Li has become one of those insta-love authors for me that always seems to get it right. So, I'm kind of hoping that this first book is the anomaly of the series, in this regard.The three person POV was fine, for me. I totally understood that Sasha and Duncan had to tell their sides of the story, especially since they often went off alone, but I felt closer to Yarrow, as a character, mostly because he got the primary POV that felt more realistic and complex than the other two. Sometimes it felt like the POV's for Sasha and Duncan had been filler chapters, added in later to fill in the blanks or just to divide the POV's more equally when it wasn't really necessary, such as Sasha's mental predicament and drunkenness on the boat. Most of what was revealed was already known to us or at least obvious from the way he'd been acting.However, I did feel the chemistry between all three of them and I appreciated that, unlike some other stories in the MMM genre, the relationship was shared equally between all three characters and was equal parts emotional and physical. It grew over time, even if it felt a little too 'picture perfect' at times to really be all that dramatic.I guessed the only huge plot point very early on. It was a little obvious to me, but I still felt vindicated and happy when it was revealed that I was right. I also have a running theory about the voice in Yarrow's head that I won't remark on until the big reveal later (if and when it comes) until I know whether I'm right or not.More than any of the characters, I felt for Yarrow, who had no choice but to live a half-life with another creature inside his head, taking over his body and often doing things that would revolt or terrify him if he knew. I found it a little frustrating the neither Sasha nor Duncan did anything during the pub scene when the creature had taken over Yarrow, leaving him to feel used and mistreated in a way that they could have prevented if they'd only opened their eyes.Overall, the story is all about an intricate, intriguing conspiracy that went just a little too far into the convoluted and unexplainable, for my liking. All the way through reading I flip-flopped between a 3 and 4 star review, due to the parts that flagged in both excitement and failing to draw my attention as much as other parts. Rini's story made me cry, as Yarrow had the ability to do quite a bit, but the over abundance of sex and the lack of flow between one plot twist and the next left me feeling muddled, with too much thrown at me to make much sense of it. With the two other main characters of Duncan and Sasha feeling far too aloof, it meant that two thirds of the POV's were lacking that relateable, loveable quality that Yarrow's character had. There was nothing mysterious about either of them that kept me interested in their internal thoughts. And the ending which lacked Sasha's reveal of the ring disappointed me, because it was a pivotal moment that could have sent Yarrow off with some relief. Ending with a finale that was both frustrating and, like other parts of the story, highly predictable, I had no choice but to choose the 3 star rating.~Favourite Quote“Duncan stood and Sasha stepped forward to clasp his hand. “You know, Tam Knight, I think that was the first civilized conversation we've shared. You didn't insult me once. I rather enjoyed it.””“Some days Yarrow felt like all the beauty had drained out of the world. It felt alien compared to his recollections from before he'd left home to wander, a distant reflection in a dull mirror. Then he looked at Duncan and Sasha and decided flowers still grew out of the ash.”~

  • Andrew Gordon
    2018-10-01 16:32

    I read this a few months ago, but never got around to writing the review, so I went back and re-read it to remind myself how much I liked it. I will point out at the start this overcame a personal pet peeve of head hopping. I don't typically read on when the head hopping starts, but I really found the plot and particularly the characters gripping. Yarrow is the magi of mages in this world, only he's really not, but he. That makes no sense until you read the story. He's powerful, beyond what people are used to seeing, but he has a secret that accounts for his vast power. Otherwise he'd be powerful, just not THAT powerful. Duncan is the salt of the earth type. The ground one, but he has to look beyond what he was taught and let his heart show him the truth. Everything isn't as simple as a knight's code would make it seem and Duncan needs to learn that to survive.And then there is my favorite - Sasha - the assassin - I don't know how to describe it better than to say he's hot. The characters come alive on the pages and there is something for everyone in the three of them. We get a real feel for each one, in his own different way. Having three perspectives from three strong characters is hard to pull off because at some point one or the other starts to blend, taking on the other's traits without meaning to. But Li does a really good job of not mixing up her characters, they stay true to themselves and add depths and substance to the story. THAT is what has me waiting for book two. :)If you don't like head hopping and can't get passed that, don't read. if you don't like a good bit of sex, don't read, but if you like a different plot with really strong characters that you find yourself feeling attached to, then read this book. You'll be glad you did.

  • Nana
    2018-09-21 16:30

    From the blurb, the story seemed promising, and for the most part, it lived up to my expectation. I loved the world building and the use of magic in the world. The author also created rather interesting characters, three of them in fact – Yarrow, Sasha, and the entity living inside Yarrow. Duncan wasn’t exactly interesting, but with Sasha and Yarrow being the way they are, the three-way relationship seemed to work. He has grown on me somewhat.My problem lay mostly with the sex scenes, and some of the dialogues between the main characters. As a romance, it didn’t work for me. Admittedly, I’m not a great fan of a ménage sex and vanilla sex isn’t really my cup of tea. I don’t really like constant switching of top and bottom, either. But, with three men involved in sex, someone taking in charge would have been better, since I found the pages of foreplay somewhat dragging and rather confusing as to who is doing what. Also, I found their constant declaration of love after they realized they loved the others somewhat distracting and preventing me further from enjoying the scenes. Having said all that, I know these factors could increase the enjoyment of other readers. For me, I found their occasionally over-the-top emotional reaction to each other rather immature and somewhat out of character.Overall though, there is much to be praised about the writing. The complexity of the world and the characters were mostly well executed and I wanted to know more about the world and the characters after finishing the first book in the series. I am certain I will follow the series, and for that alone, the story deserves four stars.

  • Maiko-chan
    2018-10-19 12:30

    another case of the Buddy read with Tenae who left me behind to finish the book without me lol

  • Alison
    2018-10-20 11:58

    Whoa. Um. Wow. Really. It's taken me three days to be able to get my thoughts in order enough to write some sort of review. I did read the first three books (Ash & Echoes, Ice & Embers, and Iron & Ether) in a row, so I was probably asking for it, but, really, WOW.Okay, fair warning: this is not a book to read if you want light, fluffy, and happy. BUT, if you like intrigue, layers upon layers of it, combined with three very spikey personalities who each have their own issues, set in a complex fuedal-type world with multiple countries, societies, and societies within societies, then you'll love it. This series is not romance but rather high fantasy with a romance thread (or two).I found the series it be more than a little dark, with the society espousing almost hatred towards same-gender relationships (especially between men), and two of the men have very dismal pasts. Ausgust Li also doesn't hesitate to show the darker side of people (including the fact that most people look out for themselves first, everyone else second). Interestingly, the knight Duncan's idealistic views somehow balance this, even as it illuminates just how bad their pasts are.If you are a reader of high fantasy, regardless of whether you read romance or not, I suggest you pick this series up.

  • Ayanna
    2018-10-10 12:49

    Augusta Li's one of those weird authors for me. Her blurbs always look so interesting, but I have such issue reading her work... Her and Mary Calmes =_=They make me feel cheated, sheesh.post-readIt's...well...chaotic. The MCs (all three of 'em) aren't exactly likeable people. At first, Yarrow was this beautifully tragic, angsty character, but then...I dunno. I guess I got tired of how inherently selfish he seemed? It's true, you know. All he seems to do is take and not give. The plot itself is also quite chaotic. There was intrigue, and it was settled, but I'm still left unsatisfied. It didn't really seem very...intrigue-y. The "Bairn" as a title thing... I think I get that it's supposed to be a bastardized version of "baron," but "bairn" is Scottish-speak for child, and I've seen it used that way before, so all I could think was that they're all children.At the end...I kind of wanted to read on, but also, I kind of felt so disgusted I didn't want anything to do with these characters anymore.

  • Teri
    2018-10-06 14:35

    well, I don't know. I liked this. I liked the characters and how they came together and how they complement each other. I like Yarrow a lot. Poor guy, I felt so badly for him and his little "presence" was creepy as fuck.Duncan was loyal and good and I liked him once he stopped being so judgmental of Sasha.Oh Sasha, I really loved him. He might have been my favorite.The sex scenes really did nothing for me, and I could have had a few less I love yous. But overall I enjoyed the evolution of their relationship and their dedication to one another.The cliffhanger was like...

  • Issa
    2018-09-28 10:47

    What a fascinating new world the author created. I'm hit or miss on fantasy as a whole but this one drew me in from the beginning. Yarrow, Duncan, and Sasha were very unique characters and I admit to wanting them the get together long before they actually did. Some have mentioned the head popping but for me I loved it. The ability to get in all of their heads helped pull me into the story and see the situation from their standpoints.The biggest niggle I have is the weakness as Yarrow as a mage. He is supposed to be the greatest one but he has far less power than I would expect and has to sleep all the time.My first book by her and by no means the last I'll read.

  • Denise
    2018-10-05 16:29

    It's become really hard to find good fantasy because all the possibilities have been done, done, done to death! And then along comes the Blessed Epoch! It is truly excellent high fantasy with the added twist of an unusual and unconventional love story. Ash and Echoes introduces the world and an excellent cast of well-written characters. All of the usual suspects are here - kings and nobles, soldiers and knights, mages and assassins - but there are no cardboard cutouts. The characters all have real depth and humanity, and I found the story gripping. A definite must-read!

  • Azusa
    2018-10-08 09:41

    This is actually the first book that i have read by this author. And i have to say, it was EFFING AMAZING. I can not wait to read the next book. I would love to see what has become of Yarrow , Duncan, and Sasha's relationship. I want to know if Yarrow and "the voice" finally connect or if Yarrow finally accepts "the voice". I have my own suspicions that "the voice" is the old king who was that powetful mage that everyone feared and worshipped. ALL IN ALL, I DEFINITELY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK.

  • Tam
    2018-10-04 12:42

    I really enjoyed this and there are two more books but I know they separate in the other books until they get themselves together. Not sure I want to go through the separation phase. :-) Even though I know it's not permanent, I have to be in the mood. I really liked the world and I love the cover, so I'm sure some day I'll get back to the rest of their stories.

  • MLE
    2018-10-02 12:41

    This is one of those books I must have found when I was in the right mood. I knew it was terrible, but it was entertaining, and it kept me amused on a rainy day. Not really well written, or developed, but sort of fun in a silly way.

  • SheReadsALot
    2018-09-21 08:32

    Free until noon EST 10/21/15@DSPPublications: It's #tweetaway time! For 1 hour only, get Ash and Echoes ebook by @Ninja_Gus for FREE! https://t.co/xvA83dJRFy/s/SijP

  • Coty
    2018-10-03 13:47

    Great story. I hope the author will give us more soon. Why did it take Sasha two days on horseback to go five miles to Taran's camp??