The Ashes and the Star Cursed King | By Carissa Broadbent
Book Review | Fantasy
Love is a sacrifice at the altar of power.
In the wake of the Kejari, everything Oraya once thought to be true has been destroyed. A prisoner in her own kingdom, grieving the only family she ever had, and reeling from a gutting betrayal, she no longer even knows the truth of her own blood. She’s left only with one certainty: she cannot trust anyone, least of all Raihn.
The House of Night, too, is surrounded by enemies. Raihn’s own nobles are none too eager to accept a Turned king, especially one who was once a slave. And the House of Blood digs their claws into the kingdom, threatening to tear it apart from the inside.
When Raihn offers Oraya a secret alliance, taking the deal is her only chance at reclaiming her kingdom–and gaining her vengeance against the lover who betrayed her. But to do so, she’ll need to harness a devastating ancient power, intertwined with her father’s greatest secrets.
But with enemies closing in on all sides, nothing is as it seems. As she unravels her past and faces her future, Oraya finds herself forced to choose between the bloody reality of seizing power – and the devastating love that could be her downfall.
Narrative and Plot
I started reading The Ashes and the Star-Cursed King as soon as I finished the first book, The Serpent and the Wings of Night. The first book ended on quite a cliffhanger, and I wanted to know more about it. Also, I didn’t want to get out of this world of vampires, whimsical Gods, and resilient humans, just yet.
The world-building and politics in this one was almost as strong as in the first one. But, while the Serpent and Wings of Night had high stakes and vulnerability at every single chapter, this one didn’t feel as urgent. The pacing did seem to dip a bit every now and then. It was entertaining, nonetheless.
Characters and Conflicts
As the title suggests, this sequel focuses more on Raihn and where he comes from. He seemed diabolical by the end of the first book, but this one tries to justify his actions. He had hoped to run away from all of it by simply dying, but living proved to be harder.
Oraya has her life turned upside down. She finds herself a Queen to the King who murdered her father. She struggles with her own identity and her losses over the years. Death usually leaves one with more questions than answers. Oraya portrays the anguish of the living in a moving way.
Compared to the explosive ending of the first book, this one seemed mellow. It is understandable considering how this one had to tie up all loose ends and conclude the duology. However, it all just felt too convenient than earned.
The Ashes and the Star Cursed King continues the entertainment and mystery of the first book but in a mellowed-down way. The first one was a deadly tournament, but this is all royalty and politics. Overall, it lets you sit in the same world of Crowns of Nyaxia, and that itself was enough for me.