Hiu Gregg's Reviews > Realm of Ash

Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri
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it was amazing

There’s something about Tasha Suri’s books that is just… wonderful. Both in the sense that they are wonderfully written, and in the sense that they evoke a sense of wonder.

There’s magic in the pages, dangerous but alluring. A sense of flow that keeps you reading long past the time you should have stopped. A world that is striking and enchanting and dangerous. Characters that march through the front door of your heart and tell you to make room, because they’ll be staying a while.

Realm is Ash is something of a sequel to Suri’s debut novel, Empire of Sand, but written in such a way that it functions as a standalone story. It explores some of the consequences of the first book, but never uses it as a crutch. Arwa’s story is not Mehr’s. They see and experience the world in different ways. Which, to be honest, is one of the many things I loved about this book.

Arwa has never quite been able to live her own life. Born to an Amrithi mother and an Ambhan nobleman, raised by her father and stepmother, she was never able to explore her maternal heritage. She was raised to be an Ambhan noblewoman. A dutiful wife.

But when her husband lies among the dead after the brutal and mysterious Darez Fort massacre, what is she to do? Her life has been defined by how she should serve other people. First her parents, then her husband. She doesn’t really know how to be her own person.

But she finds out, and we find out with her. She’s empathetic. She’s determined. She’s intelligent, resilient, and strong. She can feel scared and fragile and vulnerable at times, yes, but anyone in her position would be. If anything, her vulnerabilities make the scenes where she shows her strength so much more powerful.

As a widow in a society where widows are expected to behave a certain way, she is forced to call upon that strength often. Especially at court, where she and an illegitimate prince must research and practice illegal magic (in secret!) to rid the Empire of its curse. A magic tied to the culture that was denied to Arwa as a child.

If you’ll forgive me a brief tangent… A month or so ago, I was able to catch a panel with Tasha Suri on the subject of translated works of fiction. During that panel, Tasha theorised that any translation necessitates a “confrontation with loss”. Some nuance, some meaning, some thing is always lost along the way.

And for me, that phrase fits Realm of Ash so well. Over the course of Arwa’s story, she confronts the loss of her mother’s culture, the loss of her family, and the loss of the life she was supposed to have had — which in turn was a direct result of the loss of her agency.

But what I love about this book is that it doesn’t stop there. Arwa confronts the loss of all of these things, and then she does something about it. She fights. The fight might be impossible. She might never win. But she fights anyway.

I’ve seldom read a more elegant, romantic, and empowering piece of fantasy.

Why haven’t you started reading it yet?
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Reading Progress

November 1, 2019 – Started Reading
November 1, 2019 – Shelved
November 1, 2019 –
16.0% "How can someone write something that flows so well? It's not fair."
November 4, 2019 –
31.0% "There is such a sense of wonder in these books. A dangerous sort of wonder that contrasts with the vulnerabilities of the characters, and makes it so much more powerful when they show strength. I love it."
November 5, 2019 –
72.0%
November 5, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer That’s rather hard on the ducks, really. Reviews are good. :)


message 2: by Hiu (new) - rated it 5 stars

Hiu Gregg I have unfucked the duck


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