Age of Ash (Kithamar #1) by Daniel Abraham

Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Thanks to NetGalley for the e-arc in exchange for a review. (I was really excited to get to read this early.)

What a stunner of a book! Pure joy to read. Abraham’s ability to drive big story and large drama with small characters and private intrigues shines here: Tregarro’s and Sammish’s unrequited loves, Elaine a Sal’s clandestine and doomed affair, Gray Linnet’s daycare treasure hunts. Even the side and small characters have their impact on the story. The lives of the main characters feel full and lived in, particularly Alys and Sammish and the people of Longhill.

Alys’s coming of age is so effective and powerful, her longing to find her place in the world as she grows combined with her grief for her bother and what it drives her to. The crucible of her journey was so enjoyable to follow her through, and the scenes where the impurities burn away and leave only Alys’s essence behind are some of the best in the book. I loved the conversation and confession between her and her mother.

I didn’t see the shape of this book until halfway through, and that is so refreshing. I value the lack of exposition at the beginning to set up the story, the absence of clues to give the game away. The choice of Alys and Sammish as the reader’s entry into the story, the dramatic framework, the gateway for information is brilliant. That distance between the two sets of characters, the two parts of the story, allows the story to unfold, allows an ambiguity and uncertainty about who is the hero and who is the villain. BY the time it becomes clear which is which, you feel every inch caught in the trap along with these characters, wondering how they’re going to solve this, fearing that every scene may be their last. Abraham uses the knives in the story for theme as well as plot devices, and keeps the characters, the whole city, and reader on the edge of the blade.

Thrilling to see the cracks already forming as Andomaka goes forward into the next phase of this story. While there is a victory at the end of this book, it’s unclear how long it will hold, and what complications wait on the horizon. Can’t wait for the next volume.



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