December 14, 2014
Review: The Beautiful Ashes
The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
This book started out with a bang, a first chapter that is a classic example of in media res ("in the midst things"). Most of the time, this is actually a pretty good way to start your story. If your first chapter is an action-packed set piece, as this one was, you can quickly draw your reader in. Of course, the author then has to fulfill the implicit contract made with her reader, and provide a book that lives up to that first chapter.
Unfortunately, this book doesn't do that.
For one thing, the storyline feels very derivative and unoriginal. The Biblically inspired (very much so, as the protagonist, Ivy, is a descendant of King David, and her antagonist/love interest, Adrian, is a descendant of Judas...hey, let's punch it up here and bring in a descendant of Jesus and Mary Magdalene! Actually, that would have been far more interesting) angel/demon mythology has been done before, and way better. (Off the top of my head, the first person I can recommend you read instead is Lilith Saintcrow, whose five-book Dante Valentine series is superior in every way to this.) I guess this is supposed to be New Adult, as Ivy is twenty instead of a teenager and there's a lot more sexual steam in the plot, but she doesn't come off as terribly intelligent (and that's putting it mildly)...just stubborn. Adrian, who kidnaps her in the first chapter, is one of those taciturn, macho assholes who withholds things from Ivy for her own good, supposedly. This maddening trait is also shared by Zacchaeus, the Archon (this book's ill-advised euphemism for angels, which immediately reminded me of the Star Trek episode The Return of the Archons--not a flattering comparison, to be sure). A few chapters of being manipulated and lied to by these jackasses, and Ivy should have said "Screw you" and walked off, sister-in-peril or no sister.
Of course, we wouldn't have had a book...dare I suggest that might have been the better outcome?
Finally, the title of this book is just...icky. As I read, I kept wondering what it could be referring to. I found out in the gory climax, when Ivy finds and wields King David's slingshot (yes, the same one that slew Goliath...groan) and kills every demon and minion in the realm where her sister is being held. They literally burn up from the inside out, thus producing a several-feet-deep layer of ashes. Apparently the author thinks this is "beautiful." Ugh.
As far as I'm concerned, Adrian's and Ivy's destiny can just remain "broken," as I'm not going to read any more books in this series. Not Recommended.
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