The Ashes and The Star Cursed King by Carissa Broadbent

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Love is a sacrifice at the altar of power

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After the Kejari has ended, Oraya’s reality has been shattered. A prisoner within the walls of her own kingdom, grieving the only family she had ever known and reeling from a gutting betrayal. She no longer even knows the truth of her own blood. Oraya is left with only one certainty, she cannot trust anyone, especially Raihn.

The House of Night is surrounded by enemies. Raihn’s own nobles are a bit too eager to accept the Turned king, especially when he was once a slave. The House of Blood digs its claws into the kingdom, threatening to tear it apart from the inside.

When Raihn offers Oraya a secret alliance, she decides taking the deal is her only opportunity to reclaim her kingdom and get her revenge on the lover who betrayed her. However, to do so, Oraya will need to harness a devastating ancient power, intertwined with Vincent’s greatest secrets.

With enemies closing in on every side, nothing is truly as it appears. Oraya must unravel her past, to face her future. She finds she is forced to choose between the bloody reality of seizing power and the heartbreaking love that could be her downfall.

Thoughts on the Plot

Finally, some delicious answers! This book answered a lot of the questions I had while reading the first book. It felt like a breath of fresh air to finally learn more about Oriya’s past and continue to watch her really grow into herself and her power.

The pacing of this book is similar to the first book, in that it is fairly fast-paced. But between the tension and conflict happening, the fast-paced makes complete sense.

The world-building in this book also continues to build upon the first book. I really liked this and reading this duopoly really helped to cement the world in these stories.

I also still love the writing in this book, it is as beautiful and identical as the first.

The action in the book was just as intense as the first too. Though we are no longer in the Kejari, the stakes are just as high.

This book might be my favorite over the first. Primarily because we got so many needed answers and I loved the character growth so much.

Thoughts on the Characters

In my first review, I could not leave out how much I enjoyed Oraya’s growth. Well, it is through the freaking roof in this book and we love to see it.

Even Raihn gets a good chunk of his own character growth within the story and his relationship with Oraya is one that is high on the list of my favorite fictional character pairings.

I will also say, I was incredibly surprised by how much Vincent cracked my cold little heart open. We get to see him as more of a father than a ruler and let me tell you, I WEPT.

There are also more lovable side characters. In the standalone novella Six Scorched Roses we meet Lilith and Vale, who make their appearances in this book.

On a side note, if you haven’t read Six Scorched Roses, please do! Lilith and Vale’s love story is one that rivals that of Raihn and Oraya.

Okay back on track, the romance in this book is also quite steamer. We have finally broken the tension and Oraya and Raihn really come together in quite a spicy way.

A lot of that spice is also contributed to the fact that Oraya and Raihn have to re-learn how to trust each other. Which is similar to their relationship in the first book.

A bit of a spoiler ahead but I am so sad to see this duology end with Oraya and Raihn. According to the author, there are 6 books total and the next two will focus on a new couple. The same is said for the 5th and 6th.

But I have no doubt I will love these new characters as much as I have come to love Oraya, Lilith, Raihn, and Vale.

Final Thoughts

I think I love this book more than the first, simply because we finally get more backstory that we did not in the first book. I also adored the addition of Vale and Lilith as I LOVE their story.

The ending was also incredibly satisfying and I loved so much, being able to see a different side of Vincent.

However, I didn’t really like having the wait for the second book to get some answers.

I also absolutely hated how broken Oraya had to be entering the second book and feeling all of the pain she was feeling again.

However, this book has plenty of steamy spice and swoon-worthy quotes, with a cast full of quirky and delightful side characters to support our leading pair. This duology is an absolute must-read for any romantasy lover!

This book gets another 4.5 out of 5 for me.

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