I did a buddy read for this, for more thoughts, comments, and quotes:Embers Buddy Read
It was not ten paces of Northumbrian soil that separated him from her. It was a whole country. It was grief and loss and blood and the inescapable ties of other loyalties and other cares.
You'll definitely want to read the first in this series as this one deals with Brand, the brother to the hero in the first, and follows the timeline immediately after. Brand running away with a woman, Alina, that was politically refused to him, started the fallout for both brothers. Here we have Brand meeting back up with Alina and dealing with the ending fallout.
I liked the first better than this one, as I found the story with the author's style of ethereal writing/tone slowed down the middle too much and made characters' motivations too murky; I spent a good portion of the latter half confused.
Still, if looking for different tone and style, Kirkman is vastly different from a lot of authors out there. I wish our main couple could have gotten more scenes simply enjoying being together or verbal interaction as an ending scene of them together had amazing chemistry, wit, and banter.
Read the first before this one, enjoy the wonderfully set early medieval time period, and prepare for a slower ethereal tone.