I am so excited to be a part of my first blog tour today! I got the chance to have a sneak peek at Ashael Rising and review it. Spoiler alert: I like it.
Ashael Rising is an interesting fantasy from Shona Kinsella, which follows a young woman with ever developing abilities. She is training as a filidh, a kind of healer and spiritual leader, under the guidance of Bhearra. When her home is threatened, she must push her new skills to their limit to save her friends.
From the prologue, I knew that this was going to a rich and innovative world. This, I think, is where Kinsella’s skills lie. As a fantasy writer, she certainly knows how to world-build in a fascinating an intriguing way. The natural world is particularly important to the characters so the brilliant descriptions are very much needed and really help to establish the relationship between the characters and the world around them. My favourite part in Ashael Rising was definitely the descriptions about the history of the world and some of its mythology.
In particular, I was fascinated by the magic use in Ashael Rising. From those first descriptions of Meegrum’s powers to Ashael’s discoveries of her abilities, I really enjoyed reading about the way the magic worked in this world. I hope that we will find out a little bit more about it soon!
There was certainly an interesting cohort of characters in Ashael Rising that made the adventures all the more exciting. Bhearra, Ashael’s mentor, was probably my favourite, though I also absolutely loved the friendship between Ashael and Rana throughout. In fact, the only relationship I wasn’t 110% convinced by was the main romantic subplot. This was between Ashael and Iwan, and though it certainly added some drama to the mix, it just felt a little rushed to me. Perhaps this is do with the fact that I am a fan of the slow burn but I wasn’t exactly rooting for them.
All in all though, I did enjoy Ashael Rising and it was an interesting concept. As a fantasy, the world constructed by Kinsella was fascinating and I loved seeing the craft of her imagination.
This book was published by Unbound, a brilliant idea that allows people to pledge to the books that they want to read. I’m really glad that Ashael Rising introduced this site to me because I’ve been scouring it for some literary gems! You can find the book here and find Shona Kinsella’s website here.