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Review: The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Beautiful Ashes
Jeaniene Frost

Series: Broken Destiny #1
Genre: NA Paranormal Romance
Paperback: 304 Pages
Publication: August 26, 2014
by Harlequin


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…

◆ A copy was provided by Harlequin for review ◆

The Beautiful Ashes presents a haunting world on the brink of a supernatural war. Ivy's situation feels reminiscent of that of Aislinn from Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series. Both have been able to see the supernatural world for as long as they can remember, and once they find themselves entangled in it, there is no escape for them. This is a dark and dangerous world that you cannot escape once you've entered it.

That said, while the world is one that many may find intriguing, however, the characters are a hit or a miss in this one. Ivy has a character that's pretty out there. One minute, she's calm and collected—and proud of herself for it. The next, she's a raging inferno. This is evident not just in her emotions but how she acts around people. She vascillates between feeling the hots for Adrian and reminding herself that he's a deranged psychopath, not to mention someone who essentially kidnaps her. And with Zach, she alternates between hating on him for not being there in her time of need and reminding herself that his boss (God) lets everything happen for a greater purpose. She can also be pretty manipulative, oftentimes so that she can go off and do something stupid and reckless. Besides the fact that there's little character stability in Ivy, I just couldn't like her because of the way she's so quick to change her mind about people without thinking about the possible reasons for them doing whatever they did that offended her.

Romance-wise, I just couldn't feel it. I think if events progressed differently I might have liked Adrian, but the way things are worked against him. First, he kidnaps Ivy, and almost immediately it's apparent that they're hot for each other. While Ivy eventually learns that he's a good guy, it just feels so wrong. I couldn't get rid of the creeps I felt. Maybe it's because of the "forbidden romance" vibe I later got. Maybe it's because it's all about the hots, and I don't see Ivy and Adrian getting in some good bonding time. Nevertheless, while it wasn't for me, I can totally see people loving Ivy and Adrian's characters and cheering them on.

What kept me reading on is the world building. The idea of the demon world being interconnected with and drawing upon resources from the human world is really cool, and I enjoyed exploring the different sections of the demon world with Ivy. The world of demons is grotesque and horrifying yet awe-inspiring at the same time. It's impressive how much they've managed to do with what they have. I wish that the demons and their world were better characterized because it's definitely by far the most fascinating part of the novel—for me at least. And while the plot was fairly predictable, it was solid and accomplished what it set out to do, and I appreciate how it has a solid conclusion while setting the stage for the next stage at the same time.

The Beautiful Ashes is a book that I can see people either falling madly in love with or having to put down because they can't connect with the characters or the world. If you're interested in the premise but don't like the world so much, I'd recommend checking out The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams. It too features another world connected to our world with doorways, and it too features a girl who gets kidnapped and finds herself strongly attracted to her kidnapper—but there's more world building and character development. It didn't feel like insta-love like with Ivy and Adrian (though there is a reason given for the connection they feel). The primary differences are  that The Shadow Reader has more of an urban fantasy feel and the supernatural creatures are the fae instead of demons and angels.

I do have a warning to give about The Beautiful Ashes. The characters, primarily Ivy and Adrian, do say some pretty offensive things. They say whatever comes to mind, and they aren't afraid of offending anyone—demons and angels alike. They also seem to think that God should fix their problems for them and not let such suffering as they have seen in the demon realms go on. At one point, Ivy does admit a belief that God lets things happen for a reason, but for the most part she does seem bitter about what happens. And she isn't afraid to let His messenger know that. . . which results in some very irreverant comments. Some of the things said really shocked me. If you're a Christian, you might want to take this into consideration before you pick this one up. I know that it's a fictional work, but if it's something you'd take great offense to, I probably wouldn't read The Beautiful Ashes on the basis that Ivy is the main character, and you'll be seeing a lot of her.

Overall, I did enjoy this novel in spite of my inability to connect with the main characters. The writing flows well, and the world is interesting. And it might have me convinced to pick up the second installment when it comes out.

Additional Information
  1. The Beautiful Ashes
  • Kissing, making out
  • Violence

About the Author

Jeaniene Frost is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of the Night Huntress series, the Night Prince series, and the upcoming Broken Destiny series. To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to twenty different countries. Jeaniene lives in North Carolina with her husband Matthew, who long ago accepted that she rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies with her husband, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling – by car. Airplanes, children, and cook books frighten her.

Connect with Jeaniene
Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

This post was made as part of the release day blast with Rockstar Tours


There is a tourwide giveaway for copies of Beautiful Ashes as well as swag

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6 comments on "Review: The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost"
  1. The world building sounds wonderful, but sad that the characters were hit or miss

    1. Yeah. It's wonderful if the characters work for you but disappointing when they don't. Like I said though, I can see a lot of people falling madly for this book. It just didn't happen to be entirely for me.

  2. Yeah, I felt the same. A solid three star but a three star read, for sure. I think it was the meh romance that knocked it back from a possible four. I'm definitely interested in what happens next but there was a lot of running around, which exhausts me after a while.

    1. I agree. The romance played a large role in how I felt about the story, as did the running around. The feeling of being taken around to places and not being any closer to the goal is pretty exhausting. The revelations at the end do have me curious about where the next book will take us though and will determine whether or not I read the series to the end!

  3. I keep seeing mixed reviews for this book, which is kind of interesting. I think some of the issues you described would have bothered me too, though I'm glad you enjoyed it overall! Especially enough to read the second book. I appreciate the warning re: the characters' behavior, though. Hmmm.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. I definitely see this as a hit-or-miss book! You either love or get very very annoyed at the characters and the paranormal romance aspects.


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