Cover Image: A Touch of Stone and Snow

A Touch of Stone and Snow

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Member Reviews

An exiled warrior, a bastard prince, childhood friends to lovers to one-sided enemies back to lovers romance—Milla Vane delivered so much of what I love in A Touch of Stone and Snow. 

When their island home is in danger, Lizzan and Aerax must team up to save it. Their reunion is rocky one: She hasn't forgiven him for exiling her, while he stands by doing what he had to to save the woman he loved from a worse fate. Vane delivers all of the angst and longing that you'd expect from a pair who want nothing more than to be together and believe they can't—especially when Lizzan knows that the quest she accepted is prophesized to end in her death.

I love fantasy so it's really exciting to see between the first book and this one how Vane is building her world and the mythologies within it. But it's the romance and unbreakable connection between Lizzan and Aerax that makes this book a standout. If you love characters who would sacrifice anything for each other, you'll want to pick this up.

I also really appreciated the way Vane explored Lizzan's mental health. Ostracized from her home and seen as cursed by those she meets on the road, she's in a dark place at the start of the book and tries to numb her feelings with alcohol. I loved the way Vane showed her finding her way back to her purpose (a warrior who helps and protects) and how she realizes that she isn't ready for her story to end.
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Loved this book, looking forward to more coming. Hurry up Milla and write more.quickly please. 📖📖📖📖 as I love the series.
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This book is so epic it’s hard to gather words to describe what a showstopper this novel turned out to be. The world Building is exceptional the plot is exciting the action is amazing and the characters are ones you instantly fall in love with and root for from start to finish.
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Nobody is doing gritty fantasy romance with delicious steam and even more delicious angst like Milla Vane. The balance between the fantasy elements, including a dire plot and rich world building filled with religious lore, and the romantic tension between main characters is just flawless. The first book in this series bewitched me, and this second installment is no different. I cannot WAIT for A Dance of Smoke and Steel to come out later this year so I can learn more about Laina!
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This is the second book in the Gathering of Dragons series.

Check it out if you like:
- Second chance romance
- Childhood love that is rekindled
- A snow cat as a pet who is absolutely striking and understands every conversation
- Very very steamy times
- Virgin hero and Virgin heroine
- Slow burn
- Overarching plot and personal relationship conflict
- Amazing side characters
- A LOT of action

I really enjoyed this book. However, the first book is still my favorite. I feel the main characters in the first book spent a lot of time together as opposed to the MCs in this book. The starting 25% was pretty slow when it came to romance, but once the MCs met and their journey together began, the story and my investment picked up.

I am very very excited about the next book. I love that there is this overarching plot where I know that characters from all the books will come together to fight the evil. I am all for it.
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This is book 2 in the A GATHERING OF DRAGONS fantasy romance series and it’s quickly become a must read series for me. There’s something magically enthralling about the world Ms. Vane has created and it just keeps me coming back for more.⁠

Of course, not just the world. The characters are fascinating and you can’t help but fall hard for the heroes! Aerax is no exception, he was smoking hot. All that leashed intensity!⁠

This book explores some politics a bit more in this world and we learn more about the Destroyer. But I also think it could work as a standalone, although why would you want to do that when both of these books are AMAZING.⁠

Strong heroines, alpha males, a medieval ruthless world. This series delivers everything I look for in a fantasy romance and leaves me anxious for more every single time. Pick up your copy today!⁠
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A Touch of Stone and Snow (A Gathering of Dragons #2). By Milla Vane. 2020. Berkley (ARC eBook).

When Lizzan, a Kothan soldier, is the sole survivor of an ice wraith attack, her account of what she witnessed is not believed. For how were wraiths responsible for the massacre when the island of Koth is protected from such dark magics? She is then named a coward and exiled. Traveling as a mercenary she stays clear of Koth and other northern nations. But when she meets a group of Kothan and Parsathean warriors seeking to strengthen alliances in preparation for the Destroyer’s return, she is reunited with Aerax—the boy she loved in her childhood—the man who did not dispute her exile.

Aerax is the bastard prince of Koth. With no desire for power nor courtly politics, Aerax is glad to be back in the wilds with his snow cat Caeb; away from Koth and the deadly secret he and his uncle, who sits on the throne, keep. He is relieved to have found Lizzan and to be traveling with those who would lend their support to the northern realm. As the assaults of a cruel and deadly warlord, a sorcerer servant of the Destroyer, continue to ravage the north, will the motley band of warriors be enough to turn back the tide? Aerax will do anything to keep Lizzan and her family safe, even if he has to forsake Koth to do it.

Milla Vane’s A Gathering of Dragons series is so enthralling. There is so much passion and ruthlessness in this fantasy world—where the politics are just as deadly as the creatures, magic and barbarians. And Lizzan and Aerax (and Caeb) are my favorite yet! I highly recommend this series, including the prequel novella, The Beast of Blackmoor, and I can’t wait for Saxen’s story!
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A Touch of Stone and Snow is Milla Vane’s second novel in her series—The Gathering of Dragon. Vane’s novels weave an intricate, intense, and romantic story for readers. The world-building in these fantasy novels is exemplary. Vane gives readers a strong heroine and a gentle yet intense hero. Readers follow the adventures and hardships of Lizzan and Aerax as they navigate their complicated relationship and the impending coming of the Destroyer.  If readers have not picked up this series—they are missing out on the best high fantasy romance novels that have been published in years. Milla Vane’s series is sure to be a reader favorite for years to come.
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An amazing addition to the world built in the first book, readers will find themselves clamoring for more as they sink into this story.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this one! Lizzan and Aerax were good for each other. I didn't like her at first but the more they come together and the story is told, she wasn't as bad as I first thought. I can't wait for the ensemble's stories!
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I received an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Earlier this year, I picked up the first Gathering of Dragons book, [book:A Heart of Blood and Ashes|50764370], and then, you know, PANDEMIC, and I retreated to easy, lighter reads for a few months until I felt like I could get my head around it. And when I finally did, I was floored by phenomenal world-building, unforgettable characters, and a slow-burning relationship that, when it finally happened, was a bonfire.

So when I got a review copy of A Touch of Snow and Stone, I was STOKED and took no time to dive into it. I'm so glad I did. This time, the setting, the unforgiving world, the star-crossed relationship between Lizzan and Aerax all worked perfectly to distract me from my world going to hell in a handbasket. After learning the ways of the Ran and the Parsatheans, moving north to learn about Koth was a graceful way to explore the world and the terrors of it from a new angle. 

Lizzan and Aerax, who have loved each other since their youth, were separated by tragedy, and when reunited, Lizzan's trauma was too much to let her guard down. Aerax's dedication to her and Lizzan's strength in finally dealing with her trauma were so wonderfully done (I want to especially shout out that even though the goddess purifies everything she drinks, she still has the cravings, thank you for that view of addiction, MV!). Again, super hot love scenes, an incredibly creative world down to weird animals and topless warriors (written without any hint of titillation), and a series I'm enjoying so much. I can't wait for the third book.
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Lizzan was exiled from Koth and was working as a mercenary for hire. Then she encounters Aerex, her childhood friend turned lover and soulmate--until she was exiled and he let her go--and a group of warriors sent from Yvenne and Maddek to seek alliances due to the possible return of the Destroyer. 

A Touch of Stone and Snow was better than the first book, and I really enjoyed it. The second chance love was done well, and I was satisfied with the end for that, too. If you enjoy George RR Martin’s high fantasy series and loved Lord of the Rings, and enjoy a good romance, then this second book of the Gathering of Dragons series will surely gain a place of honor on your bookshelf of favorite fantasies.
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A Touch of Stone and Snow is the second sweeping tale in Ms. Vane’s Gathering of Dragons fantasy romance series. While a standalone romance, separate from the first book in the series, the overarching plot of the Destroyer coming back to the Western Realms continues. Taking place two years after the first book, A Touch of Stone and Snow is set in lands north of the Burning Plains (book 1), in Krimathe and Koth, where a few familiar faces (and a bunch of new ones) are in search of creating alliances to stop the Destroyer.    

Lizzan is a disgraced Kothan soldier who was exiled from the island when it was believed she abandoned her troops while they were slaughtered by bandits. She’s wandered the lands making money as a guide and mercenary while remaining drunk to dull the loneliness and forget the horrors she’s seen. Aerax is the bastard prince of Koth who broke Lizzan’s heart when he didn’t stand up for her after the slaughter, and instead, sent her on her way from Koth. However, he hasn’t stopped loving Lizzan and carries a heavy burden he cannot share with another, lest they be killed.

Simply put, I absolutely adored A Touch of Stone and Snow. There is so much to gush about, so much I loved, but overall, it’s the amazing storytelling of Ms. Vane that makes the book so entirely epic. She can weave a tale like none other. She shares stories and gives history lessons - building the world, adding layer upon layer - through her characters. She creates tension in both quiet moments and action-filled scenes. I love the mythology and how the gods and goddesses of the realm shaped the world and its people, and how they still work within the world. 

A Touch of Stone and Snow is epic and grandiose, yet it feels intimate. Lizzan and Aerax have a love that is above all else, even though they continually put the needs of their people and others before their own happiness. I love that they fight so hard not to give into their love, knowing it will hurt tremendously when they have to say goodbye again, yet they realize they can never be strangers. Their journey to HEA, which is so intimately tied to their quest to save Koth, is filled with challenges, and they each mature, realizing they are better together, rather than fighting or apart. They give one another all that they have. And they show us through their actions how heroes are made and not born.

I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the large list of supporting characters, each who add so much to the story. Some are still waiting for their stories to be shared like Laina, the High Daughter and future queen of Krimathe or Seri, the young Parsathean warrior. There are others whose story and character development is woven into Lizzan and Aerax’s story, like Degg, the Kothan counselor who started the journey opposed to all that Aerax and Lizzan represent. And of course, there is Caeb, Aerax’s snow leopard, best friend to Aerax and more human than most Kothans.

In the end, I absolutely adored everything about A Touch of Stone and Snow, from the raw passion and quiet prayers, to the loss and hurt; joy and forgiveness. Lizzan and Aerax go through so much and deserve their happy ending.

My Rating: A+ - My favorite
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this is a really amazing series. the evolution of the fantasy world has been really interesting to see.
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I had been so excited for A Touch of Stone and Snow because I was a HUGE fan of Milla Vane's first A Gathering of Dragons book, A Heart of Blood and Ash. I wasn't exactly sure how this sequel would connect with book one, since the main characters were new to me, but it does continue on with the overall series plot arc concerning the Destroyer.

Unfortunately, I didn't love ATOSAS as much as AHOBAA. It felt like I was reading the start to a new series, because almost everything in the world felt new to me. It was more world-building and info dumping, and I had a hard time getting into the story because I was trying to figure out everything like I did in book one. I was excited about the childhood friends to lovers/second chance romance for our main characters, but it unfortunately got overshadowed by everything else going on in this fantasy world. I wish this book balanced the romance and plot better, gave more focus to the romance, because that was done extremely well in book one.

Still, even though I was a bit disappointed by this sequel, I'm still looking forward to book three of the series! The next main couple is introduced in ATOSAS and I'm so curious and intrigued by them. Hopefully I love it more than this one.
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This copy was kindly given to me by Netgalley and its publisher for review; all opinions are completely my own. 

Marked a coward and a deserter, Lizzan is shunned from her homeland of Koth and now wanders in solitude as a mercenary for hire, until she encounters a group of warriors seeking new alliances with the northern kingdoms—a group that includes Aerax, the bastard prince of Koth, and the man who sent her into exile. Though they were childhood friends, Aerax cannot allow himself to be close to the only woman who might thwart his treacherous plan to save their island realm. But when a goddess's demand binds them together, Lizzan and Aerax must find a way to overcome their painful pasts. Or there will be no future for the western realms.

I wont lie to you, I was kinda worried going into this book. I had been so excited for the first in this series and while I mostly enjoyed it, the language was often a little coarse for me (like the way she would reference sexual terms and slang choice was just plain crude to me) and it kinda took some of the appeal of an enemies to lovers romance. I am happy that this one wasn’t like that (dirty talk was just dirty enough that it was masochistic or slimy), Much like her other book, this one dives deep into the different cultures of the characters in Vane’s world which is always interesting to read. I love the familiar faces that played parts in this novel.
Lizzan is one bad ass lady yet suffers a serious drinking problem, It unusual for a main character in a fantasy to be the one with a substance abuse issue but Vane works alcoholism and the escape it provides into this work. Lizzan with a heart that feels deeply just wants to dull the pain; the trials since the day she lost everything in battle have weighed heavily on her and the man who lies at the heart has just collided back into her life.  While I wouldn’t say I typically read second chance romance, I really liked that aspect in this book; it made the reunion intense and oh so fun to read. Aerax is a sweetheart (well, to Lizzan. Don’t mess with his cat or her) and I loved him!! The love these two characters have for each other from the moment WE meet them is so unlike the relationship in Vane’s first book of the series. It’s sweet and sad and has you rooting for both of them even more. I will say that what made this more of a 4 star read for me was the fact that there were  parts of this book where I think things were glossed over or just accepted by the characters a little too quickly. Even the climax at the end felt like it went just a little too fast but that is totally a personal opinion. I even wished for just a little more life or death conflict than we actually get. Half the book is just the two trying to navigate around the fact that they are seeing each other after 10 years more than facing an evil sorcerer hell bent on helping destroy their world. 

Dinosaurs, sabertooth cats and danger around every turn, A Touch of Stone and Snow was a great second book in the series and I can not wait to read the next (characters I already ship so hard).
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A Touch of Stone & Snow is filled with slow burning angst, longing, sacrifice and passionate love.

Warriors of the realms unite to fight against the Destroyer and become the gathering of Dragons. A dire misunderstanding separates Aerax and Lizzan, painting Aerax as a villain in Lizzan's eyes. For when Lizzan was amidst the battle she witnessed the horrors of the Wraiths. She was the lone survivor but instead of seeing her as such, her people deem her as a deserter and Lizzan is exiled.

"But there was nothing else for Lizzan to say. She only slowed to collect her belongings. Running away. Not long ago, she’d been exiled from her home, branded as a deserter and a coward by an entire realm. This was the first time she’d ever felt like one."

Now, Lizzan must follow her quest and undo the shame cast upon her family name.

Lizzan and Aerax were by far my favorite couple of the series. Also, I really loved the mythical world consisting of all the different Gods and creatures: My favorite had to be Caeb, the Saber-toothed cat 😻.

As I struggled to get into the first book of the series, I found that I enjoyed this story a little more. I loved the connection between the two main characters, it was palpable and captivating. The ending was even set up just right to allow readers to preview what's to come in the series as the Destroyer is still alive!

Milla Vane has penned a great high fantasy romance that you won't want to miss!


*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Berkley through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*
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I’ve been waiting for Milla Vane (aka Meljean Brook) to return to writing for years. When this book popped up on NetGalley, I actually squee’d out loud. Then I started it and…wasn’t in the mood. It had nothing to do with the book, I just wasn’t feeling a dark epic fantasy at that time. Fast forward to this month; I saw the audiobook and decided to purchase it. I’m really glad I did. I ended up loving the narrator.

Maddek is determined to avenge the death of his parents at the hands of a neighboring kingdom. When the traditional path is closed to him because of the alliance, he decides to take his revenge in another way…by killing the heir to their thrown. The problem? Yvenne is nothing like he expected. She’s small, weak and nothing like the warrior queen he expected. She’s also just as determined to bring her father down as Maddek is. Though he trusts her not at all, he agrees to take her as his wife if it means being able to kill her father and brothers.

The overall theme of this novel is very dark, and so are the actions of both characters. Maddek was bent on revenge and could see nothing else. Yvenne was determined to kill her father and claim her kingdom. She was also determined to make Maddek into a king, whether he wanted it or not. Yvenne was fierce, for all her physical frailty. I loved how she stood up for herself, and wielded her tongue like a weapon. I liked their dynamic, though his vow that he would rip her tongue out if she spoke of his mother was frustrating. I understood Maddek’s need for vengeance, but I didn’t love the way he treated Yvenne. I wish he’d have wised up a little sooner. In the end, I forgave him because Yvenne did.

I did think it moved a bit slow in parts and the world-building took some time, but I enjoyed the book as a whole.

3.75 out of 5
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4.5 stars.

Absolutely incredible worldbuilding, action and a quieter romance (than the previous book).  This is mainly Lizzan's redemption journey, with Aerax along for his apologetic ride.  She is a fierce, complicated and generous heroine.  My heart ached for her several time throughout the book.  Aerax did his part (although I wouldn't have minded a bit more groveling) and their reunion as a couple was precious. 

Vane continues to conquer this unrelenting violent world with aplomb. I have enjoyed each book building on each other and really am wondering how the greater gang will overcome and defeat the Demon Destroyer. CANNOT WAIT for next book!!
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This series filled a hole in my reading I didn't even know was there. I am fan and anxiously await the conclusion of this series! The book is filled with action and romance. I cannot recommend this series fast enough to fans of The Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings. The world-building is fantastic. Excellent read.
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