Oh man, this one was a fun read! I won a giveaway by Liz and eagerly jumped into Asunder and the world of A Vatan Chronicle. Okay, first off, lets talk about this cover. Liz painted this cover herself, and it’s a depiction of Mayli, the Princess of Ammos. Liz was inspired to write this novel after painting her character, Alden. She wanted to tell the story of the man beneath the hood. I am absolutely FLOORED by her abilities, her paintings are so lifelike that they could be photographs.

Liz’s inspiration for Asunder‘s rogue, Alden

So, book reviews and blogs are SO important for an independent author, and I must say, I was nervous to read this. Not because I doubted Liz’s abilities, but because I had gotten to know her before receiving the book and I really wanted it to be my cup of tea. I did not want to have to give her a bad review, but that’s the name of the game. LUCKILY, I loved this book. If you’re looking for political intrigue, a bit of fantasy, and some romance, then you have come to the right place. I know some people that absolutely despise romance in their medieval/fantasy books but I am not one of them. I like seeing relationships build, and Asunder did that beautifully. It wasn’t the cheesy, bodice ripping romance either. Just true connections, tender moments. In the package Liz sent me, there was a twenty-sided die, feathers, bookmarks, stickers with crests on them, a page with a donut attached to it. I was delighted to see all of these little pieces start to make sense as I read. There’s a dice game, Mayli wears feathers, the royalty wears tattoo crests on their shoulders.

“Feathers from her jacket floated downstream as if they were too embarrassed to be with her any longer.”

The crests were an amazing touch. I loved this unique way of marking nobility being presented. The world building in this was gradual and encompassing, rather than in-your-face. We learn about the rivalry between noble houses, and there’s a mystery as to who killed Mayli’s mother, whether it was Mayli’s suitor, Colin, or someone less obvious. The rogue, Alden, has made it his mission to find out the truth of this, to try to bring peace between kingdoms, when his band of thieves is sent to capture Mayli, on her way to a new suitor’s home. From here, we are taken on a journey while Alden tries to keep her out of harm’s way.

“What makes you think I was anything worthwhile?”

“You are a good person.”

Alden sneered. “Look, knights, soldiers, guards, queens, and princes are not free from wrongdoing—you should understand that the best of anyone—and thieves, murderers, and liars can rationalize their actions to be good. Everyone is just in their own mind. Title is irrelevant when it comes to virtue,” he said, then continued rubbing his nail against the black steel.

She grinned, clamped her hands on the chair and pushed up to stand with a hop. “See, you said it yourself.”

He looked up from his blade. “Huh?”

She lowered her chin and peered up at him with wide, smiling eyes. “You said: thieves can be good!”

Pg. 181

This was a fun, fast read. If I were to rate how much I enjoyed it, it would be a 4.5/5 stars. Liz doesn’t write like a debut author and she’s a testament to the quality of independent, self-published authors. There were moments that I stopped to reread a line because Liz’s imagery was so potent, her metaphors were witty and grin-inducing. You can tell she really enjoyed writing this and her attention to detail as an artist really gave her an upper hand in writing. Alternatively, she was careful not to let that hinder her either. She didn’t dally about for pages describing scenery, her imagery was concise and perfectly calculated. Now I’ve joined the crowd patiently and eagerly waiting for book two, especially after that MAJOR CLIFFHANGER she leaves us with. Wonderful job, Liz. I’ll leave her site links below if you’d like to check her out, she’s constantly posting her wonderful artwork and creative processes.

L. Steinworth: IG | Twitter |Website

L. Steinworth and her Mayli painting

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