(TLDR rating: 4.5/5)
This is a non-spoiler review.
Legacy of the Brightwash was a book recommended to me several times by people who know of my love for the grimdark genre. I initially hesitated at purchasing/reading this book because I knew that there was a lot of romance in it. I don't typically mind romance in my fantasy (often times these subplots can be some of my favorite parts of the books) but I'm not into super romance heavy stories. Eventually, however, I caved because I took the recommendations and had always admired the style of the cover:
Legacy of the Brightwash didn't disappoint. But before I get into what I did like, I always like to start out with the things I didn't. I prefer to leave off on the positives. So what didn't work for me? Well, as I already mentioned, major romance storylines aren't really my thing, and this book features a pretty prominent one. I felt like there was a lot of the mushy talk/thoughts (more so thoughts) and it got a bit, "yeah, yeah, okay, she's beautiful and you admire her, great". Another part that stood out was I noticed there was (in my opinion - though you can admittedly call me cold-hearted or emotionless and I wouldn't argue that) an extensive amount of teary eyes and crying. I get it - bad things happen and people cry, but it just felt like everyone was similarly emotional and as somebody who tends to roll their eyes when people I know in person cry, it was annoying to me - this is in no way a knock on the author's ability. There are a ton of emotional people out there who I'm sure would call me crazy and stupid, and they very well may be correct. Regardless, neither of the points I've ranted about here are going to knock anything from my overall score, as I feel both of these are very much issues I have, than downsides the book does.
Alright, so let's discuss the things that did work for me.
The story, while pretty slow during most of the novel, was engaging and interesting the entire time. If you're looking for an action-packed bombastic fantasy series, this is likely not the book for you. If you're more into character relationships and the slow building plot of political intrigue while slowly exposing an organization's secrets, then this book is something you'll likely enjoy.
The characters, however, were the primary standouts, I think. Tashué is the MC and most of the chapters are from his POV. He's a man with his vices - primarily alcohol and smoking, though I'd also toss in "doing the right thing", as he often makes a huge mistakes while constantly trying to do what's right. But what is right, you might ask? It's a question Tashué battles throughout the entire book as he learns new information and changes what he feels about things. I think the major standout character for me was easily Ilea Winter, though. She's an intelligent, seducing, cold-hearted bitch who is willing to do anything and everything she needs to get what she wants. I loved reading about her and hope she shows up more in the future, because yes, I do plan on continuing the series.
I think the last thing I'd like to highlight is Krystle Matar's writing. It has the gritty prose that you'd expect from a world where a mutilated child is found in its opening chapters. Frequently descriptions would paint a vivid image in my mind (and I'm somebody who generally doesn't picture much - if anything- whilst reading).
Overall, I think I'll give the book 4.5/5 stars. It's a very good book.
You can find Legacy of the Brightwash's Goodreads page here.