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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Ashes of the Rahn'ka is part one of A Rebel's Crucible and the fourth entry in the Pantracia Chronicles by Amanda Muratoff and Kayla Mansur. This fantasy novel follows a well-developed protagonist, Damien. He deserts the Helgathian military. A bounty is on his head and when he meets Rae, an attractive woman and a thief, he is irreversibly drawn to her, little knowing that she has other plans — win the bounty on his head. Disguised as Bastian, Damien soon realizes that he is the one destined to be the next Rahn’ka, but this also comes with serious repercussions that drive him to near madness. As Rae gets to know him, her trust in him deepens and she begins to see herself as part of the struggle to restore the Rahn’ka to the country and drive out tyranny. But does he have the inner strength to control the power that grows within him?
This is a beautiful story with characters that I fell in love with. Bastian is a sophisticated character and the authors do a wonderful job in exploring his military background, his physical strength, and his psychological state. The reader encounters a fugitive who is supposed to worry about his survival, but who receives great responsibility instead. Rae is another gorgeous character that readers will want to follow. She once belonged to a gang of robbers, but her connection with Bastian leads her to a new purpose. The worldbuilding is wonderfully achieved, and I enjoyed the rough uncultivated landscapes that come alive in the story with dangerous animals and enemies. Ashes of the Rahn'ka has a setting that comes alive in the writing. It is written in strong prose and in a voice that is absorbing and confident. While it is an entry in a series, it can be read as a standalone story; it’s a page-turner.