The Ashavan: An Epic Fantasy Series (Across the Asha Book 1) by James Parrish
It’s dark and foul in the sewers of Mazu, capital city of the Island of Mazu. The wide, slimy tunnels that were originally constructed to spew excess water deposited by the Stormphoenix back into the Middle Sea now house an elite team of magi, readying themselves for a near suicidal assault on the impenetrable castle known simply as the Gray Keep. Amongst them John Michael Williams and Lilith Smith, two Drifters from Earth, sit side by side in the muck, wondering how the twists and turns of their very different lives brought them together in this frightening new world called Nocht. There is not one universe, but many, and like all things, each world is paired with its opposite. Earth is no exception. Its sister world of Nocht has leveraged a mystical connection to steal life from Earth since the dawn of time, spawning a chaotic and often dangerous evolutionary timeline that seamlessly melds history and fantasy. This dark sister-planet is particularly selective over humans however, choosing to take only those gifted with magical ability. As Drifters, both Mike and Lily are granted these magical gifts. After being pulled away from their family, friends, and countries their foreign status in this ancient world both elevate and alienate them in the ruthless social hierarchy of humans that have managed to survive Nocht’s harsh environment for millennia. Despite arriving in that world at different times and ages, they lean on each other heavily, bonding over a shared past and leverage each other’s skillsets to survive an invasion by a refined, yet vicious nation of warriors known as the Alari. The first leg of their story ends with confessions of love, and with the pair being threatened into separation by forces beyond their control. Can two exiles outwit and outfight the unforgiving forces of Nocht and return home to their families? Only time will tell.