Pride of Ashna

Foundra Book 2

Fiction - Science Fiction
548 Pages
Reviewed on 05/06/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

To say that Pride of Ashna is an exciting read would be an understatement. In fact, it is an exhilarating, dizzying ride exploding with action. The second book in Emmanuel M. Arriaga’s Foundra series, it transports readers into a well-imagined and cleverly constructed world with a compelling female protagonist. While her team is out to deal a final blow to bands of pirates that continually assault those who are unfortunate to be born in the Outer Rim, Serah'Elax craves revenge against those who murdered her family and she will go to any lengths, together with the Ashna Maidens, to achieve that goal. They are faced with not only the brutal and daring strength of the pirates but with a more powerful threat from another dimension that can annihilate the Outer Rim completely and destroy the Twin Galaxies. They will need the help of Foundra’s Elites to face this looming threat, but what chances do they have of victory?

Emmanuel M. Arriaga weaves a story that takes into account personal journeys and explores the dynamics of a world rocked by tensions. The setting in the Outer Rim is well-written and the reader immediately understands that it is the world of the destitute, people who are not fortunate enough to be born where their human values can be respected, where work is easy to find, and where dignity is a word people are familiar with, so they are subjected to dangerous attacks from bandits, crime, and living in poverty. The setting is detailed and the relentless pacing, coupled with bombshell plot twists and a sophisticated female protagonist leading the way, transforms this novel into a page-turning read. The elements of science fiction are brilliantly written, the work of an effusive imagination that creates technology in sync with the thoughts of the protagonist. Serah'Elax operates her weapons with her mind, gliding through the sky as though the sky were her plaything. The descriptions of the ships are brilliant and the author renders them so neatly that the reader can easily imagine them.

The writing is highly descriptive, and I was pulled in by the very first sentences. I loved the focused scenes, especially when the author describes the scene featuring the dead body of Nesal’Velexi and the murder of Ovah’Hal. Pride of Ashna is the perfect example of a masterclass in storytelling, with twists and turns and relentless action set against a fascinating world and dramatic situations that keep the story moving forward. The author creates a culture and a language that is peculiar to that culture, and as the reader hears some of the words and expressions from the characters, they become acquainted with the world the author has intelligently imagined and crafted. Authors like Emmanuel M. Arriaga write novels that not only entertain readers but give them companions to distract them from the doldrums of the day. It was a perfect escape for me, and while it is lengthy, the speed never slows down.

Rabia Tanveer

Pride of Ashna is the second book in the Foundra series by Emmanuel M Arriaga. The story of Neven and the rest of Founder’s Elites continues as new enemies arrive as well as new allies. Losing her family because of ruthless pirate bands was the most painful experience for Serah'Elax, but she chose to rise above that and do something about it. She joined the Ashna Maidens in hopes of getting her revenge and becomes one of their best weapons. On the other hand, Neven and some members of the Founder’s Elites were not expecting to come across trouble as they vacationed. However, it seemed like there was no rest in store for them. They were tasked by the Alliance to take care of disturbance in the Outer Rim, but the danger was far greater. The safety of the Twin Galaxies and its survival was at stake. Neven, Serah'Elax, and the rest of the Founder’s Elite had to band together to figure out a way to protect everyone.

I had very high expectations and this book was far more entertaining and interesting than I imagined. The first thing that jumped out at me was how much Neven’s character had developed. He was more confident, more in tune with his role in the Founder’s Elite, and wasn’t hesitant in taking charge. Serah'Elax’s character was my new favorite. She had the same spark that Neven had in the first novel in the series. As expected, the world-building was mind-blowing, the imagery was vivid, and the descriptions made me feel like I was part of the story. The narrative ran smoothly until the end, the author kept the tension in the plot intact and gave enough action to readers so that they would read on until the end. The ending gave me goosebumps. I was not expecting that, and I hope the author releases the next part very soon.

K.C. Finn

Pride of Ashna is a work of fiction in the science fiction, action, and adventure sub-genres, and was penned by author Emmanuel M. Arriaga. The work is intended for the mature adult reading audience and contains gore, violence, and some scenes of a sexual nature, including an assault. Following on as the second novel in the Foundra series, we find the Founder’s Elites in need of more help than ever as life in the Outer Rim gets darker and more violent than ever. What results is a highly engrossing political, social and military tale that is sure to keep readers turning the pages from cover to cover.

Author Emmanuel M. Arriaga has once again crafted an immersive and cinematic work of science fiction with plenty of tense moments and new dark surprises to offer readers of the Foundra series. Pride of Ashna brings with it empowering female characters on the sides of both good and evil, which delivers diverse, fair, and interesting new dynamics to the tale in an innovative way. Aside from the obvious plusses of the work like its inventive and coherent worldbuilding and fantastic plot of impending doom, I also found myself more emotionally invested in these characters than ever before through the narrative handling of their thoughts, feelings, and fears. The dialogue was also very effective, serving to display the unique traits of the characters whilst moving the plot forward in a natural way. Overall, I would highly recommend Pride of Ashna to fans of compelling intergalactic adventures, dark and edgy characters, and sci-fi enthusiasts everywhere.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Pride of Ashna by Emmanuel M Arriaga is book 2 of the Foundra series. The Outer Rim is not a place to be caught up in, lawless and violent as it is. A young girl has lost her family, murdered by marauding pirates. She vows vengeance and teams up with the Ashna Maidens who police the Outer Rims – or try to. A ruthless band of pirates has taken control of a cruise ship in Alliance Space but fall foul of the Founder’s Elites, military specialists vacationing on the ship. The Elites are given the task of taking down the pirates for good but things aren’t quite what they expected in the Outer Rim. It's time for Serah’Elax and the Elites to join forces to save the Twin Galaxies from certain destruction but do they have what it takes or will the Ashna Maidens be forever torn apart?

Pride of Ashna by Emmanuel M Arriaga is a fitting sequel to the first in the series and I would urge anyone thinking of reading this that, while you can read it as a standalone, you should read the first book before you do – it will make more sense. There are some violent scenes in this book and assault scenes that may upset some readers – you have been warned. This book brings the Ashna Maidens to the forefront and it's good to see them get their own story after being briefly touched on in the first book. We also have a couple of new characters that are as well-developed as the original cast and fit right into the story seamlessly. The plot is full of action, all the way through, with some disturbing scenes but not outside the context of the book. The story flows well, taking you on a journey through the stars that you won't forget in a hurry. Great sequel to the first one, and sci-fi fans will love this.

Christian Sia

Pride of Ashna is the second book in the Foundra series by Emmanuel M. Arriaga. It has a strong plot and nonstop action with characters that are fully drawn. It is well-written for fans of science fiction, and those who enjoy epic fantasy will enjoy the impeccable world-building. It has been twenty-six years since her family was murdered. Serah'Elax has found her wo’shae — her twin sister — Nesal’Velexi lying in a pool of her own blood. One of her mothers, Ovah’Hal, was murdered in front of her and she barely avoided death, thanks to Dera’Liv who telepathically stopped her from exposing herself to the killers. Now, enlisted with the enthusiastic Ashna Maidens who strive to police the Outer Rim, Serah'Elax quickly becomes a powerful tool in fighting the enemies. But she has a mission of her own: go after the pirate bands who murdered her family and that continue to prowl the Outer Rim. But they quickly discover that there is more trouble than handling the ruthless pirates. A new and powerful threat from another dimension faces them and even with the help of the Founder’s Elites fighters, it is uncertain if Serah'Elax and her team can beat the insurmountable odds and stop the threat from destroying the Outer Rim and the Twin Galaxies.

The story is packed with explosive action right from the opening pages, growing in proportion. The plot is robust, featuring background stories that are diligently written. Emmanuel M. Arriaga’s characters are fully drawn and multidimensional and readers will adore the depth to which the key characters are explored, including Serah'Elax, Dera’Liv, Founder Lanrete, Avatar LukaHelrit, and many others. The character curve is exceptionally handled and characters like Dera’Liv — a supporting character — is developed in a way that allows readers to see how social realities affect her life. The setting is interplanetary and the Outer Rim is a world rife with danger. The unprotected who suffer the brunt of the marauding pirate bands are exposed to situations like slavery, murder, rape, and abject poverty. It is a world where the moral core of many individuals is thrown away like rags. Pride of Ashna is a compelling narrative that has the potential to entertain readers with wide tastes. The cinematic writing captures the pulsating action with vividness and images will definitely stay in the minds of readers. The scientific elements of the setting are skillfully written and I enjoyed the way Serah'Elax uses her mind to communicate with her weapons and fighting tools. The descriptions are terrific, and the author conjures strong imagery to excite the imagination of the reader, capturing emotions with skill and writing realism into the characters. Pride of Ashna should be the next blockbuster movie.