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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Embers Rising is a political thriller by Sterling Carmichael. Eager to pay off his gambling debts, sellsword Kaimana seeks the help of his old accomplice Laurenze, a half-elf, to rob valuables from their former employer, Aethryn, who is on his deathbed. However, on their arrival in Aethryn's fortress, the two friends stumble upon evidence of Aethryn's betrayal of the nation of Arian and his nefarious aid to the corrupt politician, Twylo, who is determined to climb his way to the top. They gather their former mercenary group from all over the country to destroy Aethryn's legacy and stop Arian from falling into the hands of tyranny. Joining them in this endeavor are their former leader Joh, Taelinn the archer, Caelbren the mage, and a recruit, Raven, who wishes to fight for her people.
Imagine the crew of Ocean's Eleven in a fantastical world, where they attempt to expose a deep political conspiracy, and you will end up with something like Embers Rising. With vibrant characters that leap off the pages and an unpredictable plot, author Sterling Carmichael weaves an absorbing tale filled with humor, magic, and intrigue. Whilst written with different points of view narrative, each character feels distinct, with their personalities reflected in their actions and motives. Carmichael's quick-witted dialogue was one of my favorite aspects of the book, especially in the scenes involving banter between the members of Joh's group. Embers Rising is suited to fantasy fans and readers who love thrillers.