Kindle Price: $3.99
Official Rating: 3/5
“For eighteen years Aia Wynnald has lived a lie. Raised as a highborn in the Kingdom of Tharien, she’s filled her days with tutors and archery lessons. But simmering beneath her polite surface is a dangerous gift, one which she must keep a secret. Aia is a Bender. And in Tharien, Benders are feared and hunted.
When her unruly power breaks free with dire repercussions, Aia’s lifelong goal of independence shatters. As she scrambles to piece her life back together while evading capture, she disturbs a vengeful force intent on destroying the kingdom.
Now, with the help of an unlikely ally, Aia will decide the fate of Tharien. To rescue those she cares about will require accepting what she is. But can she risk becoming the monster she’s dreaded to save the very citizens baying for her blood?”
This book wasn’t bad. There were some undertones that I felt were put in subtly and not-so-subtly, but it was good overall.
The heroine is Maia Wynnald and she’s a Bender. A Bender is someone with paranormal powers that runs through their veins and gives them the ability to Bend. Bending is a bit like telepath but a lot less predictable and a lot harder to control; especially when you spent the first eighteen years of your life suppressing it.
I liked Maia, who prefers to be called Aia and will be from this moment forth. She was rather calm in some situation and had amazing compassion for people who hated her. Though I think the compassion was half foolish and half brave, but not to the point that it was the definition of courage. Would I have done the same thing? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know. At times I wasn’t sure what Aia stood for. I know that she never received the full truth from both parties, but she just seemed very undecided. One moment she would be totally ready to fight for Side A and then she would feel something or see something and suddenly she’s completely Team B. I feel that Aia should have understood that you can’t always bake your cake and eat it, considering she’s eighteen. Yet, I don’t think she ever did. I didn’t see much character development and I had really wanted her to embrace who she was a lot more than she did by the end of the book. Such a long time of suppression would no doubt make it hard for her to accept herself and I’m not saying that “it took her too long,” just that I wish she had experienced more acceptance. I don’t see her as much of a leader, but that’s definitely something that could change in the later books. There was obvious room for improvement in Aia, but I think that that may have been done on purpose so that there was a gradual and realistic change in her. Aia wasn’t a terrible character, she wasn’t even bad. I didn’t love her, but I didn’t dislike her. I would’ve liked to have seen a more fiery side of her, but she’s learning more about herself so I’ll let it slide.
The possible romantic interest (who I will not name since I consider it a spoiler). He was a huge mystery! I enjoyed him. I guessed all of the things that made him a mystery (a terrible habit), but it was good even so. It added so much more personality to him; his complicated identity, his conflicting feelings, he was a great character. Not much character development with him either, but I don’t think it was necessary for this book. Maybe later on, but for now, he didn’t seem to need it. I liked that he seemed like a steadfast man; someone you could count on wholeheartedly, but he also knows when it was okay to be vulnerable. I appreciated his character and felt it was necessary.
I also sincerely appreciated that romance didn’t take over the story. There was no “I felt a tingle when it touched a single strand of my hair. I’m going to think about it for the rest of the book.” and I did not mind that it wasn’t there.
The plot itself was interesting. I didn’t feel too engaged, but I can recognize an interesting plot. There was a steady and rather quick pace, not rushed, but quick with the ending coming to a close at the right moment. I would want to have learned a bit more about the history of Benders and Bending and such, but I suppose more will be explained in the next book. I enjoyed Morrison’s choice to switch between three characters so that there was a well-rounded view of how they each perceived things. It was tastefully and smoothly done and there were no abrupt or awkward changes. The lack of abruptness helped to move the plot along without literary bumps in the road of reading. There was a lot of violence, but from the point-of-views given, it was in self-defense so I wasn’t bothered. However, the descriptions might seem a bit graphic to some people, I didn’t mind them, but I don’t represent everyone. Despite what the villains were doing, I didn’t hate them. If you ever read the book, that might sound very harsh, but I would like to explain. I saw how Benders were treated, but I also saw how the people were constantly misinformed. Their lives were continuous rumors and threats and accusations and they all lived in fear. If you are given false information all of your life, what are you more likely to believe? Something you grew up believing or something someone tells you even though it’s illegal to say so? There is no excuse for their actions, but there is at least some explanation. Everything considered, From the Ashes was a good read. There’s room for improvement, but nothing that made it unenjoyable in my eyes.
I received a copy of this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.