Friday, January 18, 2013

Book Review: From The Ashes

From The Ashes (The Fairville woods)
Simone Snaith

Imagine that every sixteen years, you died and started over, with no memory of the past. Could true love ever find you? Only if it were immortal.

In 1915, a coven of vampires attacked the town of Fairville, MA, the disappearances making headlines. Sixteen-year-old Lundy Guillory and the boy who loved her, Harlan Wallace, discovered the culprits, so the vampires devised a cruel punishment: Lundy was cursed to die and be reborn every sixteen years, each time retaining no memory of her past lives. Harlan was turned into a vampire, so that, immortal, he would be tortured with the task of finding her again in every new life, and telling her their story. Over ninety years later, Lundy Lawson and her parents move into Fairville, one month before her sixteenth birthday, with desperate hopes that the doctors there will be able to help Lundy, whose health has been diminishing steadily.

But Lundy begins to have strange dreams. First there seems to be a ghost in the library, trying to reach her; then a stranger shows up at her window at night - Harlan, unearthly, impossibly pale and sharp-teethed, and madly in love with her. It's Lundy's first lifetime back in the town where it all began, and this time she and Harlan have their chance to break the vampire's curse.

(Cover from Author's Website. Source. Description from Amazon. Source.)
Published By: Simone Snaith
Publication Date: November 26, 2012

Kat's Review

When I read the synopsis of this book, my mind immediately went to another YA series, where a fallen angel searches for his love across lifetimes, as she dies in his arms after learning about their curse.  I was wary of reading a book that would essentially be the same story, only with vampires instead of angels.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that beyond the initial similarities in concept, the books are nothing alike.  From The Ashes lays it out on the line almost right from the start, and the plot moves along at a fast pace.  Since this is the first book of a series, I was wondering how there would be enough drama left over to continue to a second book.  By the time I got to the end, I realised just how much there is left to discover.

The main character Lundy is a likeable teenage girl, who is dying from a mysterious illness.  As her parents scramble to find out what's wrong, they move her to a new town to be closer to a special clinic.  Lundy discovers what's really wrong when Harlan, a vampire and her long lost love, shows up at her bedroom window and tells her about the curse.  This is the first lifetime that Lundy has shown up back in the town, and house, where it all started.  They embark on a journey to break the curse and stop Lundy from dying all over again.

This was a quick read for me.  I started it one afternoon, and then stayed up late to finish it.  The author does a nice job of interspersing action and back story, enough so that I was never lost in the plot or anxious for the story to move along.  There are a lot of characters that are introduced quickly near the end though, and a few times I had to slow down and figure out who was on which side, and could have benefited from a more gradual introduction. 

What did work, however, was the pace of the romance between Lundy and Harlan.  Although he has been in love with her and followed her over several lifetimes, the author paces their gradual increase in affection for each other quite nicely.  She is not falling into his arms the first time they meet, which is refreshing.  Lundy is also strong willed and independent, two qualities I never get tired of in female main characters.  Overall, this book did a good job of holding my attention and leaving me wanting more.

Rating: A Good Read

This is an original addition to the vampire genre, with enough action and intrigue to keep me turning the pages.  I am looking forward to reading the next installment in the series.

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