Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review: The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost

Title: The Beautiful Ashes
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Series: Broken Destiny, Book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 26 August 2014

In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate.

Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who's bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.

Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn't mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn't: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between...

The Beautiful Ashes opens right in the thick of things. Ivy is traveling to find her sister, who has been missing for a couple of weeks. She's determined to find her, and being all alone in the world the cost doesn't matter. To be honest, I found Ivy a little contradictory - and I think I mean that in a good way. She would feel like this eminently strong character one moment, and then like she was going to break the next. It's believable that that's how one would react to what she's dealing with, but at the same time I rolled my eyes a few times. Finding out her hallucinations are real and out to get her ... I'd be more than a little freaked.

Enter Adrian. Sexy, enigmatic, and brooding. Obviously, he's got some issues. Which makes him all the more interesting. What I liked was that he had real reasons to have issues - not some minor plot contrivance, but a very real thing. I also really liked that he wasn't hot and cold with Ivy, at least not until he knew who she was; more specifically, who she was to him. Then he legitimately tried to back off. It was obvious that it was for a good reason, so I was more intrigued with what the reason was than irritated. I liked Adrian, mostly, except for the secrets thing I'll get to later.

Ivy and Adrian have this definite pull towards each other, partly supernatural and partly plain ole' attraction. I'm not sure I entirely buy their professions of love at the end, especially with how Ivy reacts in the epilogue (which frustrated me, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms), but I believe there's room for it to become that in the next two books.

What did irritate me was the constant use of 'keep the MC in the dark.' And it's used a LOT. Fortunately, Jeaniene Frost doesn't follow most conventions of having the main character end up in a life or death situation that could have been prevented if only she'd known. I think part of my problem was that I was SO waiting for that to happen that I was irritated every time Adrian, et al, wouldn't tell her something despite her asking over and over again. It never came to that, and they actually did dole out information, eventually. I think my problem then became that it felt like an authorial plot device to keep information from the reader. Either way, it kept me from totally immersing myself in the story.

I did find the premise and plot completely interesting, though I have to admit that at times I was reminded quite a bit of the television show Supernatural. Granted there was no Sam and Dean, but there was a beloved car (Challenger instead of Impala), filled with weapons in the trunk, angels vs. demons, and a few other things that could be spoilery. It wasn't horribly overt, but I did see the similarities. With the revelations at the end, I'm looking forward to seeing where Jeaniene Frost takes this next. Given that I only thought the first Cat and Bones book was 'okay,' but loved the subsequent ones, I'm definitely excited to how she ramps up the stakes. Also, more gargoyle, please.

Grade: C+

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