by Shelby K. Morrison
Publication date: May 3, 2015
Series: Legend of the Liberator #1
Synopsis: 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 Tharine. 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?
Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars
**I received a copy of this book on a read to review basis in exchange for an honest review.**
I really needed a nice, refreshing fantasy book with a different plot when I picked up this book and that’s exactly what I got. This book had everything: an original plot, well-developed characters, and rich world building that wasn’t overwhelming. However, there were some things I didn’t like about this book–well, mainly just one.
First, let’s start with the many things I did like. The number one thing I liked about this book was its totally original concept! It dealt with benders, people who could shape elements around them and bend them at will–think Last Airbender–and normal people who wanted the benders gone and out of their world. Yes, I know I just compared it to Avatar, but I say original because I’ve never seen the concept in a book. The way Ms. Morrison developed all of the bending abilities characters had, why they were being persecuted, and the rituals behind “cleansing” and “draining” them was absolutely wonderful. She developed the world and their beliefs as well as its layout and description/history so that it wasn’t overwhelming. Instead of throwing all of the information at you like some fantasy books, Ms. Morrison slowly introduced different parts of the world as they were necessary to the plot’s development.
I really loved all of the growth all of the characters, but mainly Maia (Aia for short) underwent throughout the story. At first, Maia had no idea what to do, but instead of sitting on her butt for someone to rescue her, she actually did something about it! Shocking right? Anyway, throughout the book Aia was faced with so many hard choices and had to weigh what she wanted versus what would help everyone the most.
Now, on to the things I didn’t like. 😦 For one thing, I felt that the book was a bit slow at times. I don’t know why, but I just wanted a little more action. As far as I know, I’m the only one who felt this way, so maybe there’s something wrong with me. In hindsight, I feel that the book piked up around the 40% mark because enough world-building and character development allowed the plot to turn more action-filled. I understand why the book picked up at the 40% mark as it was the right time, but I still wish there had been a little more in the beginning. However, once the book did pick up pace, it didn’t let me down and it kept the pace until the very end.☺
The other issue I had with this book is that I could guess some of the plot twists in it. Again, maybe that was just me. However, I really liked that even though I’d guessed some of the twists, they didn’t make the story any less interesting. There were definitely some twists I wasn’t expecting, but again, I really liked the twists the book took.
Overall, From the Ashes was a good start to a new fantasy series, but I was expecting more from it. I will definitely read the next book to see where the characters and storyline go.