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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Empire of Ash: A Slow-Burn Paranormal Romance by L. R. W. Lee is the first book in the Gods of Secrets series. Pell makes the discovery of a lifetime when she unearths and deciphers a papyrus with hieroglyphics depicting a riddle about a sphinx. The find could put her archaeology career on the map until a mysterious man appears, insisting that the scrolls should never see the light of day. Pell is determined to take the credit despite his constant interference or attempts to convince her to hunt for a mythological creature. Reading a riddle aloud could not possibly release a sphinx, and is it her responsibility to capture it? The mysterious stranger whisks her off on an adventure that brings her face-to-face with magic, up close with a mythological creature, and even sparks some romance. Their chemistry starts with her attraction to him as she finds him to be a sexy combination of dangerous and untamed.
Empire of Ash is an archaeological adventure with the tone of Indiana Jones and the chaos of The Mummy as Pell accidentally unleashes a sphinx. She starts off being skeptical about everything that her mystery man claims, and expresses this distrust loudly, with humorous results. The snark behind her skepticism is charming and funny while also making her instantly likable. She's a strong-willed and feisty woman who is thrown into a new world, creating a comedic adventure that will soon become your next favorite read. Several stand-out moments can be found with L. R. W. Lee using various stunning locations. Pell's inner dialogue is a delightful part of the story, in which she voices her frustration over not being taken seriously in her profession because she's a woman. This helps to maintain the humorous tone throughout. The bantering dialogue contrasts the attitudes of Pell and her mystery man, creating a conflict that drives their adventure. Well worth the ride, Empire of Ash is a brilliant tapestry of adventure, romance, and mythology.