The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost
Broken Destiny #1
Published August 26th 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…
*An ARC was provided by Harlequin in exchange for an honest review.*
The Beautiful Ashes is the only book I started to read when I was at BEA this year. Granted, I only got through the first four chapters, but I was already intrigued and wanting to know more, which is a good sign. Needless to say, I was looking forward to getting back to it and seeing where things would grow from there. This was my first foray into the New-Adult genre, but considering it's a paranormal with demons and angels that offers up a fresh twist on old mythology, I was excited to see how everything would fit together. This was also my very first Jeaniene Frost book, despite owning some of her other books and her being on my tbr shelf for ages. I'll definitely be reading more books by her... but at the same time, I don't think this one is likely to be her strongest work. I definitely did enjoy myself, but I had some concerns as well.
The Beautiful Ashes sucks you in right from the first pages with a mystery and a feisty heroine determined to get to the bottom of things. We meet Ivy in the midst of searching for her sister who's gone missing. The local police don't seem to be doing much to help and fresh off the heels of another tragedy, Ivy will stop at nothing to find her sibling. Trouble is, Ivy has always seen things that weren't there and when we meet her, it happens again. One thing leads to another and Ivy gets kidnapped by this guy. This stunning, hot, smooth-talking guy who seems to be going out of his way to be nice to her and who tells Ivy her visions are real and that if she wants to ever find her sister alive, she should come along without a fight. Say whaaaa?!!
Ok. So this polite kidnapper, who is the epitome of hotness (did I mention?) - his name is Adrian, by the way - and Ivy have an instant-attraction. It's not insta-love, but there's definitely some sexual attraction and already it's clouding Ivy's judgement. Too soon for my liking to be honest but I went along with it anyway, because I was more interested in what was up with Ivy's strange visions. Since she was a child she's had these sudden sort of double-image visions that she could never explain. Well, it turns out what she's seeing are demon realms. From the synopsis it isn't made clear, but those 'parallel-realms' are demon realms. And of course, Adrian knows all about those. So once again I was reading a story where the hot guy knows all the answers, and our female heroine becomes dependant on him to move along the plot and get to the bottom of things. Have I mentioned how this trope bugs me sometimes? I have huh? Ok, moving on...
I guess it's around that point where I began to have a few issues with The Beautiful Ashes. Where the plot itself started off promising enough, the characters felt like they were lacking proper development on their own. The focus was on the development of their attraction for one another and that certainly escalated quickly. Still, there was a sort of prophecy tied to Adrian and his past which also ties into Ivy and her lineage, and I was curious about those parts enough not to let the romance issues deter me. The mythology at play here works by incorporating Judean and Davidian elements which was something I'd never come across, especially in a paranormal setting so that was definitely something new and exciting! The bits about Adrian's past were intriguing too, but I wonder if maybe his character could have benefited from getting his own POV in the story. It might have helped me get a better feel for his character.
Unfortunately, even the plot of The Beautiful Ashes itself started to get redundant after a while, Ivy and Adrian's adventures into demon realms all began to blur together until it all felt like the same thing over and over. Honestly though, I think the ending sort of saved it for me. I'm curious enough about the mythical weapon quest aspect of it all to want to read on. And I am a sucker for a nice paranormal with demons after all! So despite my issues with this one, I'd still recommend it to adult paranormal readers who don't mind these types of Twilight-ish romances. Hopefully the next installment puts to rest any concerns I had with this one.
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars