Sunday 25 June 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Ash Born (Eternity Series, Book 1) by S.R. Crawford

Ash Born
Eternity Series, Book 1
Author: S.R. Crawford
Genre: YA Fantasy

Book Description:
Urban, Dark Fantasy.

Three worlds.
Seven species.
One war and one girl to change everything…

Letti Kane has always been an outsider. Perhaps this was why she foolishly fell for the dangerous Kaizen D’Anna at first sight. However, mingling with the D’Anna family will mean discovering the dark secrets of her own. Secrets of which are catching up to Letti’s mother, the infamous Bellemere Kane.

Unknown predators from her mother’s past are forcing Letti into the darkness that exists right under her nose. Once exposed, what will it mean for Letti though? What is her place going to be in this unforgiving world? Scared, betrayed and losing herself along the way, Letti must find her inner strength before it’s too late.

As she’s thrust deeper into these perilous realms, her mother has only one question on her mind: will the inferno of their world and the upcoming war consume Letti altogether, or will she rise from the ashes?

“The world isn’t big enough for all of us.”

Ash Born is a Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy novel filled with mystery, romance and angst.

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Letti Kane wants nothing more in life than to escape the clutches of her family. She plans to do that by excelling academically in college so she can go to university. At least, that was the plan before Kaizen D'Anna walked into her life, bringing drama and distruction along with him. There's a deep history between the Kanes and the D'Annas, a history that threatens to destroy Letti, her family and the D'Annas. There's a lot at stake, and Letti soon finds herself not only struggling to keep up her grades, but also struggling to stay alive.

Ash Born opens with a very chilling start that is full of mystery and suspense. It then settled into a slow introduction, establishing the characters - of which there were an abundance - while thowing in hints of the supernatural world here and there. There is a lot that happens in this book, events that take you from one part of the world to another part, events of which are highly intense, and although there weren't many twists in the story, the events that took place throughout the story weren't always predictable. There were some surprises, and there was a lot to unravel - not many answers provided, mind you - but the story had enough intrigue to make me want to know more. Why are strangers desperately seeking Letti?

It did take a few chapters for the story to really kick into gear, mostly because the predominant focus was on Letti's and Kaizen's insta-love chemistry, which I didn't much buy into at first because it didn't feel believable. Within the first few hours of meeting Kaizen, Letti has a outburst and snaps at him, reprimanding him for not disclosing details of his love life. It was a very intense, dramatic moment that showcased her naivity and vulnerability. There was definitely a Romeo and Juliet feel to the love story - that forbidden love between two warring families - which I very much liked, especially since both families despise each other, and the only thing they appear to have in common, the only common ground between them is Letti Kane. It seems everyone is curious about Letti, her family more so when they realise her involvement with Kaizen.

Letti was no doubt the black sheep of her family. She was so unlike them, not merely on genetic grounds, but also her traits and characteristics, particularly her ignorance and her willingness to easily trust strangers. Despite her passiveness, however, I liked the fact that Letti didn't just jump right into a leadership role, nor did she regard herself as the centre of the universe, although other characters did. Being the only human among various supernatural species, Letti was definitely the last person to know anything, so I found it exciting whenever Crawford revealed events that were taking place without Letti's knowledge, whether it be regarding her family or someone else in another part of the world. These instances allowed for a deeper insight into the dangers lurking around Letti, and it also showed how the events taking place affected not only Letti and her family, but also the entire world.

While there wasn't an overwhelming amount of adrenaline-fueled events, this was quite a dark story filled with gruesome violence and death. I didn't get to assess the extent of the nature of the war between the species as the story didn't delve into the supernatural world as such; rather, we feel the weight of the burden - more personal than political or otherwise - the war has on the two predominant families we're introduced to: the Kanes and the D'Annas. Also, the fact that Letti and Kaizen were left to romantically pursue each other in the presence of their families highlighted the fact that their dislike for each other went way beyond the grounds of genetics, so I'm looking forward to exploring more of this conflict in the sequels.

Depsite the many positive highlights of this book, there were some things that I found needed more developing. One thing I found distracting was the grammatical errors, particularly all the headhopping and passive sentences. In terms of editing, the work needed some tightening as the errors were a little too frequent. With regard to the headhopping, it became a problem because it kept pulling me out of the story. One minute I'm having an emotional connection with a character and the next I'm in someone else's head, all within the same scene. It was very jarring. It just threw me out the story at times or broke my connection with the characters. Thankfully, I was enjoying the book so much I was able to shift my focus on the story concept and how it was unraveling.

Despite those problems, I found Ash Born to be an intriguing start to the series. It difinitely pigued my interest and made me want to find out more. Based on the ending, Letti is going to be dragged deeper into that chaotic world. Will she be able to handle it, or will she falter? Time will tell. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys stories that sheds new light on familiar elements of the fantasy genre.


Award: Gold
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Source: Own copy

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