Big thank you to the publisher, Penguin Random House, for sending me an arc in the hopes I would share an honest review! This does not affect my opinions shared below.
I enjoyed this book very much! It was very interesting and had a good balance of plot and worldbuilding. Of the three POV, I liked the second person narration of Pippa the best. It fit her character and helped break up the action and made me feel like I was one of the characters almost. Adrian’s storyline wasn’t as interesting to me, but I think that is because he was closer to the War aspect of this story and I don’t care to read about War in general. Some for Imelda towards the end.
The gods were fascinating, and I do hope they make more appearances through the next book. Especially since it seems like War is going to be a main focus. I enjoy seeing the different types of gods and goddesses people create, and how they interact with the protagonist(s) is most entertaining.
I will be recommending this book to anyone who likes horse stories, phoenixes, races, competitions, rebellions, and a really good story.
Red Rising meets The Scorpio Races in this epic fantasy following three phoenix horse riders–skilled at alchemy–who must compete at The Races–the modern spectacle that has replaced warfare within their empire.
Every year since the Ashlords were gifted phoenix horses by their gods, they’ve raced them. First into battle, then on great hunts, and finally for the pure sport of seeing who rode the fastest. Centuries of blood and fire carved their competition into a more modern spectacle: The Races.
Over the course of a multi-day event, elite riders from clashing cultures vie to be crowned champion. But the modern version of the sport requires more than good riding. Competitors must be skilled at creating and controlling phoenix horses made of ash and alchemy, which are summoned back to life each sunrise with uniquely crafted powers to cover impossible distances and challenges before bursting into flames at sunset. But good alchemy only matters if a rider knows how to defend their phoenix horse at night. Murder is outlawed, but breaking bones and poisoning ashes? That’s all legal and encouraged.
In this year’s Races, eleven riders will compete, but three of them have more to lose than the rest–a champion’s daughter, a scholarship entrant, and a revolutionary’s son. Who will attain their own dream of glory? Or will they all flame out in defeat?