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Ashlords by Scott Reintgen
Young adult


by Scott Reintgen

Quick take

The violent dystopia of The Hunger Games with fiery, phoenix-horse races leading to a revolution. Hold on tight.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FastRead

    Fast read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Action


  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Series

    First in series

Why I love it

Juliann Nelson
Content Producer, Fortune

Dystopian YA had its heyday while I was in high school, and you can bet I devoured every one I could get my hands on. So as I dove into Scott Reintgen’s Ashlords, I felt an acute sense of nostalgia that took me right back to the days I spent poring over The Hunger Games and Divergent. Simultaneously familiar (in the best way possible) and inventive, I haven’t had this much fun reading a book in a long time.

In The Races, it’s not enough to be a great rider. Contestants must also have mastery in combat and alchemy if they hope to survive, let alone win, the brutal days-long event with their phoenix horses. When The Races bring together a champion’s daughter from the upper crust, a revolutionary with something to prove, and a scholarship entrant planning to uproot the system entirely, the simmering tension of an oppressive society erupts.

Whether you’ve been reading dystopian YA for years or this is the first you’ve picked up, Ashlords has something for everyone. With its fight-the-system attitude and fearsome characters facing impossible odds, plus a little alchemy and a Wild West-inspired setting, Ashlords is an insanely exciting, binge-worthy read I couldn’t put down.

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Every year since the Ashlords were gifted phoenix horses by their gods, they've raced them. First into battle, then on great hunts, and finally for the pure sport of seeing who rode the fastest. Centuries of blood and fire carved their competition into a more modern spectacle: The Races.

Over the course of a multi-day event, elite riders from clashing cultures vie to be crowned champion. But the modern version of the sport requires more than good riding. Competitors must be skilled at creating and controlling phoenix horses made of ash and alchemy, which are summoned back to life each sunrise with uniquely crafted powers to cover impossible distances and challenges before bursting into flames at sunset. But good alchemy only matters if a rider knows how to defend their phoenix horse at night. Murder is outlawed, but breaking bones and poisoning ashes? That's all legal and encouraged.

In this year's Races, eleven riders will compete, but three of them have more to lose than the rest—a champion's daughter, a scholarship entrant, and a revolutionary's son. Who will attain their own dream of glory? Or will they all flame out in defeat?

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Check out a preview of Ashlords.

Member thoughts

All (423)
All (423)
Love (196)
Like (194)
Dislike (33)
447 ratings
  • 44% Love
  • 43% Like
  • 7% Dislike
  • Pembroke, NH

    I want to live in this book. The story sucked me in and I couldn’t wait to see how all the characters ended up. There arethree different viewpoints (one of which is second which keeps the story fresh)

  • Diamond Point, NY

    The three different viewpoints really made this book for me. It gave amazing insight into the thought processes of the characters, and definitely helped me understand the impact of the racial tension.

  • Charleston, SC

    This book kept me on the edge of my seat! I loved that the story was told from three perspectives. It really gave you a glimpse of what this world was like for every group of people! Highly reccommend

  • Pittsfield, MA

    I love this book! I knew I would since I love the Nyxia series, but it was better than I expected. Imelda and Adrian are written beautifully (1st person) but Pippa’s 2nd person POV was awkward 4.5/5

  • Rockwood, PA

    Great read, saw a TON of inspiration from THG, but it's like if you made the Arena one giant racetrack ;) and threw in scary Greek-esque deities,lol. Interesting linguistics for Pippa's POV, "You."

  • Alamo, NV

    I loved the world created for this book: one in which there are phoenix horses that are reborn every sunrise. The 3 main narrators give an in-depth view of the class system, making it feel more real.

  • Aylett, VA

    Ashlords made me think of The Hunger Games in the way that there was big competition that I couldn't wait to get too. I loved the each of the perspectives and the horses, I can't wait for the sequel!

  • Warner Robins, GA

    The world-building was awesome and I was intrigued by the accurately written evolution of cultures and religions in the type of society the story is based in. And I was rooting for every character!


    While on the surface this story is a retelling of the Hunger Games, I love how the author really created his own universe with its own games and its own rules to play by; especially the mythology!

  • Freehold, NJ

    Fans of the Hunger Games should give this book a try. It’s fantasy enough for those of us who love the genre, but relatable for those who don’t always lean that way. I couldn’t put it down.

  • Marshfield , MA

    Phoenix horses, races, and politics all in one! Consider me sold on this novel. I loved the pacing and general themes and plot. Perfect for fans of The Hunger Games, and with very good reason!

  • Coweta, OK

    Hunger Games, but with magical horses. Wish there had been more backstory on the Ashlords, Longhands and Dividians, but overall it was a really fun read. Can't wait for the next one!!

  • Hobe sound, FL

    Like the hunger games but horses. I'm scared of horses so this was beautiful. Loved being able to jump into a fantasy world of horse games . ending in a revolution. A must read

  • Oviedo, FL

    A bit slow to get into (the race doesn’t begin until 50%), but then it was hard to put down! Great characters and a compelling finish that makes me want to read book two.

  • Evant, TX

    This was way more fun than I thought it would have been. I wasn't the biggest fan of this author's debut and worried this would be more of the same. It wasn't. I loved it.

  • Durham, NC

    Super cool story of a class-tiered society with a Hunger Games-esque tournament in which competitor teens ride phoenix horses. A thrilling read with never a full moment!

  • Chattanooga, TN

    “The Hunger Games” meets “Black Beauty.” Who doesn’t love a book that combines magic, class struggle, competition, and horses that rise magically from ashes?

  • Tilton, IL

    I enjoyed the three different points of view and loved the horse aspect. I feel the story is unfinished and now I have another series to add to my reading list.

  • Boring, OR

    So different and enjoyable. This was a fun ride. What a great imagination and characters I loved. I will snap up the next book very soon.

  • Selkirk, NY

    Iditarod style race but with pheonix horses and alchemy! Loved this so much, could not put it down. So excited for the next installment!

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