From Cold Ashes Risen by Rob J Hayes


From Cold Ashes Risen is the unsettling, vengeance-fueled conclusion to Eskara Helsene’s story that successfully fulfills all the foreshadowed promises of the earlier books while landing many new surprises. Although its slower-paced start stretches longer than necessary, we delve deep into Eska's psyche as she suffers the ramifications of her life's decisions. And although we suffer right along with her, it's a heart-wrenching, wonderful experience. 

Once again, I have to tip my hat to the storytelling narrative device that Hayes has tweaked, deciding where and when to let the reader know bits and pieces of key info along the way. You know what’s coming, but not how. And when the how drops, it’s a rush. I’m not using hyperbole, I’ve actually been bodily thrilled at several points while reading this story. How cool is that??

I must admit that the pacing of this story was a bit scattershot, as this one started off slower than the other two. The first act served as a realignment and aftermath from the events of book two’s conclusion, and it took a while to move past it. But once the story (quite literally) hits the ground, it’s full speed ahead and never looks back. It was jolting, but looking back I can see why the pause was necessary.

While the end of this trilogy serves as a good stopping point, there’s still so much more story to tell. Not only of Eska’s life, but of the ripples she’s made throughout the rest of the world(s). That’s a roundabout way of saying “I want more,” which is especially high praise, considering I’ve quickly binged these books and I'm still starved for more from this world.

I’ve mentioned before how Peter McLean’s ‘Tomas Piety’ has such a strong and lasting character voice that lived inside my head, long after I finished those books. Hayes has created a character to rival Piety in Eskara Helsene. She is unique and unforgettable; a rebel, innately defiant, forced to murder as a pre-teen, a tragic antihero that is a flawed human like the rest of us at her core. I think that’s why I’m drawn to her. She makes so many mistakes and I love her for it, because we all screw up. It’s just that she’s so damn powerful that the world breaks whenever she makes a oopsie.

I’ll cut myself off here before I write my own Eskara novel, but if you’ve read this far, then you know how much I recommend this series. The characters and world-building are fantastic even for Hayes' standard of work, the prose is especially tight, and highlighted quotes are abound. The War Eternal is simply essential reading.

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All reviews for Rob J Hayes's The War Eternal series

Along the Razor's Edge
The War Eternal #1

No one escapes the Pit.At just fifteen Eskara Helsene fought in the greatest war mankind has ever known. Fought and lost. There is only one place her enemies wo [...]

The Lessons Never Learned
The War Eternal #2

I am the weapon. Eskara is free of the Pit, but far from safe. She is beset by the ghosts of those she has killed, and plagued by the ancient horror that p [...]

From Cold Ashes Risen
The War Eternal #3

The Corpse Queen Comes.Eskara has lost everything. The War Eternal has cost her everything she loves, and the Iron Legion has taken the rest. Y [...]

More Rob J Hayes reviews

It Takes a Thief to Catch a Sunrise

There comes a point in every thief's life where one has to take stock of all that they have achieved. We have stolen almost everything there is worth stealing: Prince H [...]

City of Kings

War makes monsters and corpses of us all. For generations the blooded have ruled the Wilds, cultivating a lawless frontier and bleeding the good folk dry. [...]


In the near future Emotional Transference is the drug of choice.Garrick is a Drone, going to ever-increasing extremes in order to sell the emotions. But he does [...]

Never Die

Ein is on a mission from God. A God of Death.Time is up for the Emperor of Ten Kings and it falls to a murdered eight year old boy to render the judgement of a [...]

Where Loyalties Lie

Everybody knows Captain Drake Morass is only out for himself. As the fires of a dying city burn on a distant shore, Drake sees an opportunity to unite the other pirate Capt [...]

The Fifth Empire of Man

The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki [...]


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