Series: Ashes #1
Published by Katherine Tegan on December 2013
Genres: Paranormal YA, Supernatural YA
Source: For Review
I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!
Callie dies in a tragic accident and finds herself in the afterlife which is not at all what she pictured. She’s stuck in a realm called the Prism which is where one goes after they die and before they go to heaven. The point of being at the Prism is that you learn to move on and let go of your former life and help the loved ones you left behind to heal and be at peace. Her guide Thatcher helps her to deal with her feelings and tries to help her learn about the Prism and the whole haunting process on earth. She struggles to see her dad, best friend and boyfriend in so much pain and she has a hard time letting go. Soon she meets some ghosts who are angry and have not yet moved yet and they will do whatever they can to stay on Earth. The things they tell Callie conflict with what Thatcher has told her and she struggles with letting go and moving on or trying to cling to her old life.
I’m familiar with the author’s contemporary novels, though I haven’t read them, and my interest was certainly piqued to learn she was writing something a bit more supernatural. The premise seemed interesting to me because I’m fascinated by “after life” kind of stories so I picked it up when I was in a pretty bad reading slump. My feeling overall was that it was an “okay” to “good” book but it was perfect to get me out of my reading slump because it’s so out of what I normally read. I read it all in one day and just COULD NOT STOP. It’s hard to explain because I know that it sucked me in but it wasn’t necessarily because it completely blew me away. I’ll break it down:
Things I enjoyed
+ the world building: I was very fascinated by Melissa’s version of the afterlife. After you die, you kind of hang in this balance and you are supposed to “haunt” your loved ones to help them move on and then you move on yourself. The way Melissa wrote the afterlife just completely set the mood and I enjoyed learning how the “moving on” process went and how things work in the Prism. We learn everything through Callie’s guide, Thatcher, and it really started to get interesting when some characters emerged who DIDN’T move on and started telling Callie conflicting things from what Thatcher was telling her. I kept wanting to figure out the truth and see if Thatcher was keeping things from her about the whole process.
+ Callie’s own moving on story: Callie’s death actually became more devastating to me as she went and haunted her old life. The scene with her dad really choked me up. Even though Callie was a bit much to handle for me personally, I did cut her some slack because of the fact she’s dead and has to watch her old life — especially when she starts to find out something about someone close to her. I enjoyed watching her try to grapple with the fact that she’s in this afterlife and decide what to do with the information she’s presented with. Her emotions were very strong and I couldn’t even imagine having to watch your loved ones mourn you and feel so connected to your life. It got even more complicated when she starts hanging out with some of rebel type ghosts because we watch her struggle with the idea of moving on or staying like that forever so she can be “a part” of her old life still in a way and not let go of it. ALSO, part of the story was that Callie seems to have more energy and be a bit “special” comparatively to the others. THAT was pretty interesting and I was dying to find out why.
+ how the ending sets up for book 2: MAN. Game changer kind of ending and I think the story has the ability to be super interesting because THINGS.
Things that were MEH
+ the pacing: While I was interested in the worldbuilding personally, it was just very uneven. It was pretty slow moving in the beginning, which I don’t even mind, but it seemed like the end just because VERY break neck. All of this info came at us and all of these things happened and there was just so much. Wish it had been a little more even. I was intrigued from the beginning so I was committed but it definitely had pacing issues.
+ Callie: I couldn’t figure that girl out. It was hard to get a sense of who she was before and all I knew of her was what we got to know in her time of grief when she was dead. I didn’t feel like she was all that developed for my taste and I really didn’t like connect with her. I think her confusion and grief over dying stood out to me and leapt off the page but that’s about it. Something was off with her voice but I couldn’t even begin to try and explain that. I also found her very naive in ways to an almost unbelievable point. I mean, CLEARLY there was something different with her and she just shrugged it off.
+ The ending: As much as I said I LIKED it up there because of the potential it brought with it, I totally had an inkling about it and thought it was maybe a bit predictable.
Ashes to Ashes was the sort of book I needed to get me out of my rut because it was a different kind of read for me being paranormal. I read it all in one day because I was fascinated by this version of the afterlife and thought the mood of the afterlife and Callie’s grieving was written really well. However, there were things that definitely detracted from the story like pacing and Callie herself in ways. I wouldn’t say this is a MUST READ but I found it to be an entertaining read. I’ll be reading the conclusion to this duet for sure though!
afterlife stories, books like Touching The Surface & The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg, paranormal/supernatural books
Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? If you read it, what did you think? Did you find the setup of the afterlife interesting? Did you guess the ending? Any predictions for book 2? Have any of you read any of Melissa Walker’s contemporary novels and do you think I’d like them?