In the year since she cast her sunbolt, Hitomi has recovered only a handful of memories. But the truths of the past have a tendency to come calling, and an isolated mountain fastness can offer only so much shelter. When the High Council of Mages summons Brigit Stormwind to stand trial for treason, Hitomi knows her mentor won’t return—not with Arch Mage Blackflame behind the charges.
Armed only with her magic and her wits, Hitomi vows to free her mentor from unjust imprisonment. She must traverse spell-cursed lands and barren deserts, facing powerful ancient enchantments and navigating bitter enmities, as she races to reach the High Council. There, she reunites with old friends, planning a rescue equal parts magic and trickery.
If she succeeds, Hitomi will be hunted the rest of her life. If she fails, she’ll face the ultimate punishment: enslavement to the High Council, her magic slowly drained until she dies.
Memories of Ash by Intisar Khanani is the second book in the Sunbolt Chronicles series. I just happened across book one earlier this year and was completely impressed with both the writing and the story.
This book picks up shortly after Sunbolt left off and as I began this one, I pulled right back into Hitomi’s story. Just when you think things might be getting a bit better for Hitomi, the High Council summons Stormwind to stand trial for treason. They both know that Stormwind has to go but she doesn’t leave Hitomi empty handed. As Stormwind heads to face the council, Hitomi holds back until she knows for sure what Stormwind is facing. Once things head the wrong way and Hitomi confirms that Blackflame is sending mages to find out who is on the otherside of the mirror Stormwind had, she decides she will do whatever it takes to save Stormwind, even if that puts her directly in the path of Blackflame.
One of the things I love in these books is the character development. Hitomi is the main character we follow throughout but as she is on her journey, she crosses paths with so many that make an impact on her. Khanani does a fantastic job of providing more than just the introduction and high level interaction with these characters. Both the bad guys and the good guys are well-developed and help to move the story forward.
Hitomi herself is strong and daring. I love that she is willing to do whatever she needs to in order to protect the people she cares about. It was very clear in Sunbolt when she routinely sacrificed her safety for her friends and it is just as apparent in this book when she does something similar. On the other side, I think her friends are just as selfless and do what they can to help and protect Hitomi but she doesn’t always let them do so as much as they would like.
Khanani did a great job of introducing new characters into the story but she has also brought back some favorites from Sunbolt and I was super happy to see them show up on the pages. I’m hopeful we will see more of them throughout the rest of the series and look forward to seeing where their stories intersect.
Of course, magic plays a large role in this series and it is mixed in so well to the story that while it is a central piece of the story, it doesn’t overtake the character driven aspects. The characters continue to keep me turning the pages and the magic is one piece of the entire puzzle that makes it interesting and engaging.
I can’t say a lot about what actually happens in this book as there is A LOT and if you haven’t read book one yet I don’t want to ruin anything. With that said, you should definitely go read these books as they are available at a good price and totally worth it. If you are looking for a solid fantasy that weaves in solid characters, some magic, and strong friendships, consider picking these up. I am glad I found them and definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.
Thank you to the author for the review copy!