Please note: The following review may contain spoilers for the first book in the Song of the Last Kingdom duology, SONG OF SILVER, FLAME LIKE NIGHT. Continue reading at your own discretion.

After making a deal with the Demon God known as the Black Tortoise and betraying Lan’s trust, Zen finds himself on a journey back to his ancestral home to find the answers he seeks to destroying the Elantians. He knows that he will need more than just a singular Demon God to save the Kingdom (and the girl he loves) and he finds that in the undead army his great grandfather once commanded.

Lan, heartbroken and lost after Zen’s betrayal, sets off to find the answers to destroying the Demon Gods once and for all. She will stop at nothing to complete the mission her mother set out on years ago, even if it means sacrificing the only man she’s ever loved.

I have waited a year for this sequel and it did not disappoint! Even with not remembering all the little details, Zhao was able to provide enough backstory in an organic way to remind readers what happens in the first book and where our characters are now. I was immediately pulled back into this beautifully written Chinese mythology inspired world.

Zhao has a way of writing that fully sucks you into the story and make time pass in a flash. Even in the slower moments of travel, I felt like I couldn’t read fast enough, anxious to find out what happens next. Each moment builds upon the last and edges the reader closer to the explosive climax that is the last battle to end all last battles. 

Even in the midst of action and battle, Zhao was expertly able to weave in a romance for the ages. I found myself highlighting so many lines that just took my breath away with how romantic they are. The conclusion to the book—as well as the duology and love story—masterfully blends together heartbreak and hope in a way that will continue to live with me for a long time to come.

I predicted last year that I wouldn't want to leave this world when it ends and I'm happy (and a little sad) to report that I was absolutely correct.

DARK STAR BURNING, ASH FALLS WHITES by Amélie Wen Zhao is the conclusion to the Song of the Last Kingdom duology started in SONG OF SILVER, FLAME LIKE NIGHT. Both are available now and you can grab copies here and here (respectively).

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well! If you prefer Amazon, visit my Amazon storefront and click on the list titled "2024 Book Recommendations."