October 6, 2015
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The strange war down south—with its rumors of gods and monsters—is over. And while sixteen-year-old Hallie and her sister wait to see who will return from the distant battlefield, they struggle to maintain their family farm.
When Hallie hires a veteran to help them, the war comes home in ways no one could have imagined, and soon Hallie is taking dangerous risks—and keeping desperate secrets. But even as she slowly learns more about the war and the men who fought it, ugly truths about Hallie’s own family are emerging. And while monsters and armies are converging on the small farm, the greatest threat to her home may be Hallie herself.
An Inheritance of Ashes had a slow beginning, but became a great story. It is an interesting blend of post-apocalyptic and fantasy and a tale of Hallie and her personal demons.
The setting is intriguing and different. Things are simpler, with people running family farms and general stores, with vegetable gardens in their backyards. Most hings of today are left in the past, after something happened. Parts and pieces of the 'old-cities' are still around, buried and all but forgotten. Though we don't hear much about it, there are some mentions of things not quite forgotten that remind you this is a time 'post' and not 'pre.'
I wish there had been more said of what happened to the cities, to the modern, industrialized world. It was not very relevant to Hallie and her life, though, so I can understand its exclusion.
Still, I liked what we did learn of Hallie's life on the farm, how things have been impacted by the war and the absence - or, even, the return - of so many of their men. With winter approaching, it is harder and harder for Hallie and her pregnant sister Marthe to keep their barley farm going. And harder still to maintain a relationship.
Hallie's character was annoying at times. She knows her relationships are not what they should be, but to her, they may be what they need to be. Or as best she thinks she can manage. I wanted someone to tell her what was what, to get her to see things differently. Yet, I understood why they didn't and why how she acted and thought was crucial to the progression of the novel.
About half way through when the action of the story picked up, I enjoyed it so, so much more. The characters' struggles, the toll of the war, the presence of the gods and monsters in their world really became something. The second half of the novel was, by far, my favorite.
I loved the journey the characters went on - if not geographically than mentally and emotionally - the blend of fantasy and a world that was like ours. Though the story has a clear ending, I really wouldn't mind novellas set in this world that give us more explanation of the past or glimpses into the future,it is a wonderfully imagined world and characters.
digital review copy received, from publisher, via NetGalley