Tanja reviews Ash & Echoes (Blessed Epoch #1) by Augusta Li (Published by Dreamspinner Press; June 21, 2012)
Why I read this book: It´s a paranormal as well as a ménage story, just couldn´t withstand this combination and I definitely do not regret it.
Blessed Epoch: Book One 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 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.
Yarroway, short Yarrow, is a powerful mage who had to escort his cousin Prince Garith to his wedding. He is selfish and cold, which is due to his childhood and the things done to him but he also fears his powers and the resource of it. Along with him is Duncan, a loyal knight to the realm. He has a good heart but also high moral standards, which he has to repeatedly overthink as the story progressed. Thrown into was Sasha, an assassin, who learned from a young age that love and trust are weaknesses. Those three have to form an unusual alliance if they want to survive murder attempts, political strategies and intrigues.
On their journey, more or less slowly, bonds are formed. First to friends than to lovers, but could they really trust each other? Nothing is really certain, but I liked this little suspense, not knowing who you can trust. You get some surprises along the way.
The plot was interesting, there was character development and a good building. The biggest surprise, for me, was near the end. I had a big smile on my face as it was revealed, who laid the headstone of all what was happening in this story. The person was not, per se, guilty, but did also nothing to prevent some things.
What I didn´t like so much were the sex scenes. They were sometimes too long and generally repeating. Most of the time I did not enjoy them, which is kind of sad, since we´re talking about a ménage here. Also the endearments used by the MCs. Two of them are lethal and were called e.g. my sweet boy….umh no, that does not work for me and threw me out of the story.
But beside that I really liked this book and am looking forward to reading more of those three.
8/10 pots of gold