A beautiful beginning

The Beautiful Ashes - Jeaniene Frost

Originally posted on The Book Nympho


Quick summary
Ivy begins the story in Bennington, Vermont, the last location of her sister, Jasmine, before she went missing. As she checks out one of the town's Bed & Breakfast inns, what she thought was a hallucination turns out to be real. See, Ivy's had these visions all of her life and was told they were due to a brain disorder. Now she knows they are real after meeting a hunk named Adrian who seems to know a lot more about her than Ivy knows about herself. And, he's a bit other worldly himself. The race to find her sister is the catalyst for everything that happens going forward.


The mythology
There's a mix of religious theology, mythology and fantasy that involves demons and "others from the light" that seems to work here. I'm not normally a fan of demon stories (didn't know they'd be here) but Frost's dark beings are created in a way that makes more sense to me. They look like what you'd think those from dark elements would and they behave accordingly. You can tell the bad guys from everyone else. I also liked the connection to biblical history as it gave me a chance to deduce some things on my own. I needed the help as much as Ivy did.


The world building
Parallel realms are nothing new but Frost added what I felt were some unique elements that made the story more complex, interesting and suspenseful. I don't want to share too much as these things are revealed throughout the book, which made everything easier to digest. I didn't have to capture everything at once and it didn't bog down the story. Don't get me wrong, however...there's quite a bit to take in.


I enjoyed Ivy. There's a lot about her that reminds me of Mac without the initial TSTL (Too Stupid To Live) factor. She uses her brain to figure out stuff she's confronting and doesn't waste time in denial. Ivy gets more right than she gets wrong.


I hate to continue the Fever series comparisons but Adrian reminded me a LOT of Barrons. Not in how he looked and that sort of thing but in all that mystery he was shrouded in. I, along with Ivy, didn't know what he was, the nature of his secrets and why he felt the need to hide all that stuff. And, he has that alpha male thing going but doesn't wear it like out-of-control testosterone. 


The romance?
Ivy and Adrian had instant chemistry but did a dance throughout the story for really good reasons. It works here but be prepared to have this play out beyond this first book. It worked perfectly with the story.


Bottom line summary
The action starts literally from the first page and almost never lets up. Ivy and Adrian are interesting individually, as a team and as a couple. The romance is the weak aspect but it's in tandem with what's going on. The supporting characters are really, really good and I like the mythology and the created world. It's not perfect but I rolled through the book. I'm in for the next in the series.


(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)