Review: A Touch of Stone and Snow by Milla Vane (A Gathering of Dragons #2)

A Touch of Stone and Snow by Milla Vane // VBC Review

A Touch of Stone and Snow (A Gathering of Dragons #2)
Milla Vane
Published: July 21, 2020 (Berkley)
Purchase at: Amazon or BookShop
Review Source: Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 5 stars

Note: This review will be spoiler free, however it will reference previous events in the series. If you haven’t yet started check out VBC’s review of A Heart of Blood and Ashes.

All Lizzan ever wanted was to become a soldier in Koth’s army, to protect her people, to help. When she’s given the opportunity to command her own battalion what should have been an easy task, ridding Koth of a group of bandits, goes horribly wrong leaving Lizzan the only soldier left standing and branded a coward. Exiled, Lizzan travels the Western realms offering herself as a sword-for-hire.

Aerax, a bastard prince of Koth—an isle kingdom in the Northern realm—has been sent west to secure aid in banishing a threat that plagues the outlying forests bordering Koth and is slowly taking over the island and all its inhabitants. When Aerax and his contingent of dignitaries come upon the group gathering to fight against the rumored return of the Destroyer—the megalomaniac who demolished the Western realms nearly a generation ago—he’s taken aback to discover his childhood friend and young love Lizzan amongst their ranks.

A Touch of Stone and Snow, in part, continues the overarching storyline that was started in A Heart of Blood and Ashes, building up to the seemingly inevitable return of the Destroyer. But it is also, again, a completely contained story for Lizzan and Aerax. The entire time I was reading this I couldn’t help but think “Avengers Assemble!” like Milla Vane is getting all these moving parts together and the final installment will be a combination of all these characters coming together to fight the Destroyer. At least I hope that’s how this is going to play out (and I can only image how huge that tome would be).

This book moved at a quicker pace than its predecessor. I’m also a sucker for a second-chance romance and enjoyed the slow burn that Milla Vane teases out over the majority of the book. That’s also what kept me reading—I just wanted to see them together! Every interaction between them was like a spark.

And I loved that they both had different relationships with Koth. Aerax has no love for the isle. Growing up a bastard prince, his very being was not acknowledged until he needed to take his place with the family after a plague kills almost all the royals. And all Lizzan wants to do is defend and protect her people. Even when she’s been exiled, she has this caring nature that won’t allow her to turn the other cheek. It’s this very thing that potentially puts a wall up between them.

Overall, I loved A Touch of Stone and Snow more than the first book. While it took me a bit of time to connect some of the secondary characters that we’ve seen before with the previous story, Vane does a great job of rehashing everything without making it seem redundant. This time, I think there’s a clearer path to where the story is going next, and I cannot wait to continue the journey.

Content: Graphic sex, violence, references to child abuse/rape

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