Review: Broken Banners (A Reaper of Stone Book 2) by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

I’m actually late in posting this review because Broken Banners, the follow-up to A Reaper of Stone was released several days ago. But, better late than never, right?

I’m going to tell you right now that I’ve been a big fan of the work by authors Gelineau and King ever since I read Reaper, so I’m pretty much always excited about every new book in the series. So far I haven’t been disappointed. The Ascended series has all the elements of fantasy that I love and please check out the cover, yeah? This series has some pretty gorgeous covers.

Read on to know more about Broken Banners and what I thought of the book.

Broken Banners 1500x2250About the book

Slaughtered and left for crows, soldiers of the King’s Army lay dead in a field. A grim reminder: the king’s law ends at the gates of the capital.

Elinor fought for what she believed and now she is an outcast. No soldier will follow her. No officer will stand with her. Yet when she finds her brothers and sisters slaughtered, she cannot turn her back on them.

Long ago, they swore an oath. Not to the king, but to each other.

And woe to those who break that bond.

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Great follow-up to Reaper

After the events at Timberline, Elinor is ordered to turn over what’s left of her group to Aldis, her friend from the Academy and leader of another reclamation group, the Ninety-Fifth Pioneers. But when then they find men and women of the Ninety-Fifth dead in a field not far from Height’s Ward Keep, the keep that Aldis was assigned to reap, Elinor decides to find out what happened and find justice for the slain soldiers.

Broken Banners is a great follow-up to A Reaper of Stone. In Banners, we see Elinor shine even more as the strong heroine that she is. We also see a little more about her backstory and get to know her more as a person. She’s still the tough and honorable leader that many are willing to follow, but we see a softer side to her as well.

Like all the Ascended books, Banners is an easy read. The characters – both old (Elinor and Con from Reaper) and new (Aldis) – are great together. The pace also picks up right away and the story just pulls you in and takes you through a lot of action-packed scenes. The battles are written well and realistic in the sense that the good guys are not indestructible and can get hurt as well – but of course they fight on through the pain. There’s also a hint of magic in the story that I think fellow fantasy lovers will love.

I really enjoyed reading this novella and I’m looking forward to the next one!

Note: I received a review copy of this book from the authors. All opinions and views expressed here are my own.

Check out my reviews of the other novellas in the Ascended series: 

Read an Excerpt from Broken Banners

Con and Elinor rode into a scene of horror.

The large clearing was filled with torn and shattered bodies.

Dozens of men and women lay in the snow, their red blood frozen on their black uniforms.

Black uniforms of the King’s Army.

“By the First Ascended,” Con swore, staring out at the charnel scene before them.

He knelt down beside one of the corpses. The black uniform had a green stripe down the arms; an engineer.

Cold dread curled inside Con’s stomach like a sleeping snake.

This was the other reclamation group. The Ninety-Fifth Pioneers.

Con moved to another body. A woman’s face stared up at him, eyes wide with fear. He recognized her. Her name had been Rina. Rina something. A noble, but he couldn’t remember her family name. He had known her in the Academy.

“Elinor, this is the Ninety-Fifth,” Con said. “I know—I knew some of these people.” He shook his head. “What happened here?”

“All the wounds are to their backs, Con,” Elinor said. “They were run down. Taken from behind.” She scanned the clearing, her eyes hard. “Where are the rest of them?”

“What do you mean?” Con asked, but even as he said it, he understood. Unlike their contingent, the Ninety-Fifth Pioneers were a full cohort. They traveled with forty soldiers and over twice that in attached engineers and teamsters. There were no more than fifty bodies in the clearing.

Con looked back to Elinor. “Lieutenant Janen?”

“Aldis isn’t here,” she said.

In her voice, Con heard an equal mix of relief and worry.

She moved across the bloodstained clearing until she stood above a body that clasped a long pole. A torn banner dangled from it.

Elinor removed the banner and folded it silently. With each crisp, precise movement, Con saw tension grow on her face. Cold fury in her eyes.

“What do we do, Elinor?”

“These were soldiers of the King’s Army. Our brothers and sisters. We bury them,” she said. Then her voice grew colder. “And then we find who did this.”

About the Authors

Mark and Joe have been writing and telling stories together for the last 25 years. They share a love for the classic fantasy tales of their childhood. Their Echoes of the Ascended series brings those old epic characters and worlds to new life.

Visit their Website and connect with them on FacebookTwitterMark’s Amazon Page and Joe’s Amazon Page.

For their latest releases, join their mailing list.

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