Tag Archive | A’yen’s Legacy

Hidden in Ashes by Rachel Leigh Smith

Hidden in AshesSource: ARC from author
Format: ebook
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Childhood enmity turns to love, with one problem: his heart isn’t his to give.

Lorin is a daro, a Lokmane man trained to make humans feel special and valued. As Prime of Arkos House, no one stands between him and the safety of the daros under his care—except his mistress. The dead one, and the new one. He needs to focus on the Essence crisis infiltrating the Houses, and his sister’s safety. Not figure out how to balance his duties with falling in love.

When her mother dies, emotionally wounded Sagira Memeos becomes the Marcasian Empire’s newest High Lady. And reluctant owner of the most sought after daro in said empire. He’s her childhood nemesis, and way too sexy for his own good. With his kindness finding its way into her bruised soul, asking for his help to navigate her succession to ruling high lady probably isn’t her brightest idea.

Lorin wants Sagira. But not if he has to pay for it with innocent lives. She’s a distraction he can’t afford while the bedrock of Marcasian high society is under attack. Not to mention facing losing his sister to the man who wounded Sagira. If the daro houses fall, all hope of freedom goes with them.

An up-front warning – this book is not for the faint of heart, or those unable to deal with abuse, including physical, emotional and sexual. There are some graphic descriptions of abuse: while most action is off-page, it is discussed on-page.

This is, I think one of Smith’s gentler novels, but at the same time, she still takes her time taking your heart apart piece by piece – and at one point, she certainly ripped mine to shreds – and then patches it all back together again ready for the end.

My goodness. Nothing in the universe Smith has created ever comes easy – especially for the Lokmane. In this novel we get to know Lorin – a Lokmane daro we met briefly in Freedom’s Embrace – and Sunny, who some of us may have met as a babe in a short story Smith shared a while back. And as usual, Smith’s characters are broken people – usually through abuse of one form or another – who are trying to learn how to stand on their own two feet again.

Smith made me cry. Now, I am NOT a person who cries easily when reading books. The fact that this was the second book within a month that got to me says more of my fragile health at the time than anything else, but even then I think I would have had tears in my eyes at a particular revelation in the book. In all, I have huge respect for an author who can engage my emotions in a story that far.

I loved learning more about the Marcasian society, and it was special getting to know Lorin and Sunny. I look forward to meeting them again one day, as surely their story is incomplete.

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Freedom’s Embrace by Rachel Leigh Smith

Freedom's EmbraceSource: ARC from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

They made the wrong choice. Putting it right requires going into a war.

A’yen’s Reign: Year Two

Taran has served Nicco, prince of Marcase, for twenty-three years. While on a fact-finding mission to Corsica–a planet annexed by the empire thirteen years ago–Taran and Nicco are kidnapped by the Freedom Alliance and taken deep into the Corsican hardwood forests.

Da’Renna, sister to King A’yen’s linked bodyguard, has loved Taran since the moment he saw her. Leaving him behind wasn’t easy, but her brother needed her more. Hearing about Taran’s kidnapping makes her wonder if she made the right choice.

With the help of a friend from Corsica, Da’Renna and her brother sneak in to find Taran. When mercenaries take her hostage, Taran must make the choice he dreads most: his master, or his soul-mate.

If Taran loses his girl, he’ll never find his way to freedom.

Note: This novel stands alone and is a great entry point into the A’yen’s Legacy futuristic romance series.

This is book 4 of the A’yen’s Legacy series, and introduces Ren and Taran, who we met briefly in book 3, as the main characters. The book is split between two stories, really, with some sections filling out the history between Ren and Taran while others follow present day events, which take place shortly after the events of To Save a Life.

It was interesting to finally get a deeper glimpse inside the Marcasian Empire and some of the problems it faces. And, of course, to get to know Taran better – ok, and some of the other characters. Ro and Varune make a significant reappearance in the story, and we see some of the more familiar faces too.

I had no difficulty following the separate story lines, and especially the historical information was useful to finding out what drives Ren and Taran in the present. And I’ll be frank; at times I just wanted to knock their heads together and get them to wake up and see the light… well, to be honest, that applies more to Ren than to Taran: Taran has a far better grip on what’s really going on.

The book is an excellent exploration of what “freedom” really is and means to different people. That, and sacrificial love. And boy, the answers don’t come easily in the slightest.

Another star turn from Rachel, and I can’t wait for the next one!

To Save a Life by Rachel Leigh Smith

To Save a LifeSource: ARC from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewer: Laurel

A’yen’s loved ones are under attack. To save them, he’ll risk everything.

Half the Lokmane are free and the resettling of Lok’ma is in progress. A’yen is crowned king, but it isn’t stopping his enemies. Someone is after Ro, and the woman he’s falling in love with is caught in the middle.

When Fae is trapped in a cave-in at a dig site and wakes up with fake memories, A’yen knows who’s to blame. Proving it is the hard part. Things get worse as his past relationship with a human male, a man once again part of his life, is used to trap him and try to turn the people against him. And destroy his marriage.

Ro is then framed for murder, another move to discredit A’yen. Saving his marriage and reputation is easy compared to saving Ro’s life. Ro’s demons come for him, taking him back to a life not worth living.

A’yen races to save Ro before he can act on his deepest desire: killing his tormentor. Happily ever after can’t happen if Ro is dead.

Can this series get any more addictive? It’s taken me three days to read through this book (with extensive breaks inbetween enforced by life – breaks which were infused with a longing to read more), and I could easily read the next one.

I can’t say that this book is better or worse than the previous two, but the events that unfold are compelling. At times one laughs out loud, at others one cries, and yet others one wants a certain person to burn in hell… yet through it all, one just wants to read, devour, inhale more of this book.

Smith introduces us to several new characters in these pages, expanding our knowledge of the Marcasian Empire in particular. I for one cannot wait to learn more of them, as I know we will in upcoming books.

In short, a compelling read that doesn’t disappoint. And among the best I’ve read so far this year