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‘She had promised to make his life a misery. He still believed she would. But in that moment, he’d realized his life would also be a greater misery if Yvenne wasn’t in it.’

Epic! Positively EPIC! A Heart of Blood and Ashes is, without doubt, one of our favourite fantasy romance stories ever. Embarking on this adventure of vengeance, lust, passion, loyalty and love we became instantly swept up in Milla Vane’s fantasy dark romance! We met a brave and battle hardened warrior and a heroine with the heart of a warrior-queen who both consumed us in a rich, seductive, passionate and vivid world so expertly woven together with masterful storytelling! What an adventure! Netflix…take note…you NEED to bring this book to our screens!

“Only a fool would underestimate you, Yvenne….”

This is a lengthy book as the author really takes her time building her spectacular fantasy world. It’s so rich and detailed, and her imagination is extraordinary. The world building is phenomenal and breathtaking, never does it halt the flow of the story, and instead drawing the reader into brutal and unforgiving a world of gods, monsters, warriors, and magic with a sort of medieval feel about it, reminiscent of Game of Thrones/Witcher in a true fantasy romance. We became instantly transfixed.

“There are enemies, and there are monsters. Always slay the monsters first, because enemies may one day become allies, but monsters never will.”

Maddek is a battle seasoned Commander whose world is decimated when his parents, Parsathes King and Queen are murdered. It is a loss and pain unlike any other Maddek has experienced. He immediately sets out on a quest to seek vengeance on those responsible.

He comes upon Yvenne, the daughter of the cruel King Zhalen, the man responsible for the murders of Maddeks parents. Yvenne proposes a deal to Maddek – to save her from a betrothal to an old King, she proposes she and Maddek marry and have a child, in order to both rule. Yvenne is also seeking revenge on the King for his cruel treatment of her and free her people of his tyrannical rule.

‘Also true was that every wound inflicted on an entangled heart bled more.’

With a common enemy and a need to better their people’s way of life, Maddek agrees to her deal. Seeing her as manipulative and treacherous, as a woman not to be trusted, Maddek warns the marriage is in act only and that love and affection would not come readily.

‘He held her gaze for another long moment, an odd tightness squeezing within his chest.’

Yvenne is not what he had envisioned as his bride – frail and weakened by years of abuse and torment at the hands of her father and brothers, Maddek soon learns Yvenne’s physical hindrances hide a courageous and tenacious heart! She too, is a true warrior! Maddek needs to see past his preconceived views of her to find the heart that beats beneath.

‘She was like a broken doll, put back together. Put back together stronger.’

The sparring between Maddek and Yvenne was at times humorous, other times heartbreaking and often very, very sensual. The heat factor was off the charts! The dual perspectives were paramount to the romance of the story, as we found ourselves despairing at Maddek’s reasoning, though we did understand his feelings and reluctance. Through Yvenne, we learn the heartbreak and torture she experienced throughout her life and her story tore at our hearts. Pain and sadness would have been her only friends during her lifetime, if not for her mother, Queen Vysen’s, love. Yvenne’s story broke us, her strength and beauty enamoured us.

“If you intend to kill me, I only beg that you do it quickly. My life has been a torment. I pray my death will not be.”

We can’t say enough about the stellar writing of Milla Vane. Vibrant and imaginative, haunting, brutal, passionate, menacing and exquisitely vivid, her words burst before our eyes! It was magnificent! The romance aspect was everything we could have hoped for. Absolutely stunning and compelling reading. And the end….spellbinding perfection!

We closed this story with eyes brimming with tears, hearts full of adventure, reflecting on a story that rendered us willing captives. Bravo! There is no cliffy ending, however we’ll be beside ourselves waiting for the next book in the series, A Touch of Stone and Snow, to release in July!

“Queen Vysen had told her that love was not something to avoid. For when love was given freely or genuinely returned, everyone it touched was strengthened by it. Yet love could also blind, just as anger and hatred and fear did. I could be wielded as a weapon. It could hurt, when it was rejected betrayed or lost. It could be confused with lust, or with pleasure, or with gratitude – for it often entwined with other emotions and was not so easily separated from them. ‘

Synopsis

A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil—until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal.

Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents’ murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king’s daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay.

Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones—because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own…

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