Ashes On The Waves by Mary Lindsey | Book Review

Ashes on the Waves by Mary LindseyBook Title/Author: Ashes On The Waves by Mary Lindsey
: Penguin June 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: No
Other Books From Author: Shattered Souls

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!




Liam lives on the island of Dochas  where he is a complete outcast — everyone calls him a demon, his own father hates him and he seems to be cursed. When a childhood friend named Annabel Leighton, the daughter of a family who owns an estate on the island, returns to Dochas things seem to be looking up for him as they their relationship grows. The Otherworlders, the mythical beings that live in the sea, make a wager that human love can’t endure in the face of suffering and trials and put the strength of Liam & Annabel’s love to the test with these terrible obstacles.

I’m so conflicted on this one and I seem to be in the minority as I scanned all the glowing 4 & 5 star reviews of people who seemed to not feel conflicted. Ashes On The Waves was definitely unique compared to what I’ve encountered in paranormal YA with being based off of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem “Annabel Lee” and infused with Celtic lore. I appreciated the fresh feeling the story had but it lacked something for me and I’m going to attempt to explain it though I’m not sure that I’ve quite put my finger on it even still so I’m listing it all out.

What I Liked:

1. The premise: I LOVE LOVE LOVED Annabel Lee when I had to read it in college and thought it was an amazing inspiration for a paranormal story. I loved the way Mary Lindsey took the bare bones of that poem to write a truly compelling story about true love and infused it with Celtic lore and these otherworldly creatures that were testing the love of Liam and Annabel. The story really got interesting when the wager was made and it was so heartbreaking to watch Liam and Annabel’s love being messed with by the Otherworld. You couldn’t help but root for them to conquer all. It was a nail-biter until the very end as we watch the bet get uglier and uglier as Liam and Annabel prevail.

2. The setting: The island of Dochas was creepy — it’s this island that isn’t up to speed with modern life. So everywhere else is much like our contemporary society and Dochas is just archaic and still clinging on to its old ways — including very old superstitions. The writing of Dochas was incredible because it was so atmospheric and haunting and I honestly almost forget this book was set in present day. Dochas definitely took on a life of its own and it was easy to picture this creepy place!

3. The lore: The celtic lore was so interesting to me and I was quickly pulled into all of the otherworldly, mystical beings. It was so refreshing and unique!

4. Liam: I really liked reading this from Liam’s point of view and I really felt for him. He was such an outcast and people were SO cruel to him and he lived with a lot of guilt, a father who hated him and, aside from his boss who I LOVED, he was just so alone. This is one character who I felt like my heart kept breaking for throughout the course of the novel. I was happy that he had Annabel (for his sake) and as soon as that wager was made I was LIKE COME ON LET HIM HAVE SOMETHING GOOD IN HIS LIFE.

What Didn’t Work So Much For Me:

1. Annabel & Liam (and my connection to them):
OK, so from the get go we know this is an epic love story that is being tested by the Otherworld. We are supposed to root for them because they are being put through the ringer and we want love to prevail. To some degree, I really did root for them but more so on principle and not because I really FELT their relationship. I really didn’t FEEL connected to their love story it just honestly didn’t do much for me maybe until the end but at that point I already felt like a fly on the wall rooting for them rather than feeling the passion they had for each other. It’s going to come down to, I think, whether or not you connect with their love story. I can’t tell if my disconnect was because I didn’t GET Liam’s intense love for Annabel after really only knowing her as a little girl but following all the news stories about her crazy, socialite life or if I just didn’t GET Annabel and if I really felt her passion for him like I did Liam’s.

2. The pacing: I understand the beginning was setting up Dochas, Liam’s life and Annabel’s return to Dochas but it CRAWLED for me. There was no pull for me to read other than knowing I was promised an awesome premise. I seriously kept sideeying the book for a bit because I was bored to tears and almost got sunburnt because I fell asleep reading. HOWEVER, I will say once the wager is made…BOOM. You won’t be able to put it down. The mystery pulls you in and you are so invested in seeing how the wager affects Liam and Annabel.

If you are looking for a fresh YA paranormal novel that is NOT part of a series, Ashes on Waves is a good one! It’s well written, the setting is one that you feel transported to easily with its creepy and haunting atmosphere and its a tale of epic love that is being challenged by Otherworldly creatures who try to break them apart because of a wager. The Celtic lore was fascinating as well and I was quickly sucked into this story. HOWEVER, being that this is a tale of epic love, my problem was that I never connected or felt ANYTHING towards their love story until maybe the very end which made me feel quite distanced from this read. However, I’d still recommend and hope that you connect to their love more than I did.




Let’s Talk: Have you read of this one? Heard of it or is it on your TBR? If you have read it, did you enjoy it or no? Did you feel connected to the romance? Anybody know of any other Poe inspired stories?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. While the premise sounds undoubtedly original and I’m really excited by its inspiration (Annabel Lee!) I’m not quite sure this is the sort of story I would enjoy.

    Aside from being rather burned out on the paranormal genre at the moment, your inability to connect with the main characters and their relationship definitely worries me. Given that the entire novel seems to centre on convincing the audience of how important and unshakeable their romance is, if you’re unable to connect with the fundamental emotional core of the novel the entire story seems moot. It’s unfortunate that Lindsey was unable to really sell their feelings for one another and involve the reader in their struggle, particularly given what an otherwise inventive and interesting premise this novel has!

    Wonderful review, Jamie 🙂 I really appreciated hearing both what you did and didn’t like about this one as it definitely gave me a better understanding or whether or not it was right for me. I think I’ll pass on this one for now.

  2. I haven’t seen too many reviews on this one yet. I have the ARC and can’t remember if I requested it or if it was unsolicited because I am usually ify on those “epic love story” type books mostly for the same reason why you didn’t connect well with the romance. It’s such a toss up because your enjoyment is dependent on connecting with it. So I’m still kinda on the fence on if I want to read it or not. I might start it, but it’s disappointing to hear the beginning was a drag. : /

    As for other Poe inspired stories, the only one that comes off the top of my head is Evermore by Kelky Creagh. I read it a could of years back and REALLY loved it. It’s based on the mystery surrounding Poe’s death. I think you’d enjoy it!

  3. I am really interested in this book. I love the original and the setting sounds fantastic. But I can totally understand your feelings about the love story. I find a lot of the love stories I’ve come across lately have been so cliché and it makes me want to roll my eyes rather than cheer the characters on. When I do get to this one I’ll definitely be wary!

  4. The lore and the premise sounds AMAZING. I’m still going to give this one a try and hope that I’m able to connect with the romance. *fingers crossed!*

  5. Methinks I am going to put this one off a little more — right now I need snappy pacing, and while the celtic stuff and the EAP stuff sounds great, I just want books that are fast, fast, fast. Also, that are recommended by people with good taste (like Estelle recommended Openly Straight and it was GREAT).

  6. Hmm I think I need to read Poe’s Annabel Lee first off, and perhaps use that a gauge as to how interested I am in reading a paranormal-ish retelling in novel form. Unconvincing relationships are usually what cause me to lose interest a book, so there’s a good chance I’ll feel the way you ended up feeling. I have heard good things about Shattered Souls, however, so maybe I’ll read that instead! I enjoyed how honest your review was and how you really pointed out what ended up working and not working for you!

  7. Hmms now I am tentative about this one..and I was really looking forward to it..alas!

  8. This book sounds very creepy + different! I don’t read a lot of paranormal, so I didn’t really consider picking it up, but I love that it’s inspired by Annabel Lee.