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Ashen: Chronicles of Warshard Kindle Edition
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I was also bored and it was difficult for me to finish this one.
At first, to me, it seemed like Adni's actions don't make sense. While reading, I felt like Bogle lost sight of her character in order to move the plot the way she wants. But then, rethinking it, it's possible the event I'm thinking of is a result of a true reaction of an 18 year old. As things progress, you see Adni still fumbling in her youth, but also growing into adulthood. The depth of characters is shown in almost all of Bogle's characters, many of the "good" guys having "bad" moments and vice versa. It seems there's always a possibility of redemption or fall, and Adni is not exempt from that.
Something that does strike me as odd, though, is Adni's total unawareness of being attracted to...anybody. How does one reach the age of 18 and have zero experience being attracted to anybody. She's not shocked by her attraction to a woman...but she doesn't seem to have ever been attracted to a person before. I love that her attraction isn't something that she struggles with due to Julian being a woman. So many authors I've read with non-conforming relationships have the MC struggling with accepting that relationship. I know this happens a lot in the real world, but it's refreshing to see Bogle letting Adni just go with it instead of wallowing in teenage angst.
Overall, this book is a solid fantasy read. It incorporates dragons and magic and a world that seems determined to tear itself apart. It's a great coming of age story written in the formula that have starred young men for ages, but instead starring a young woman and her female love interest.
At its core, "Ashen" is a story about overcoming your past/upbringing, fighting for a bright future, and self-acceptance. One of my favorite things about Adni is that she's a reluctant hero. I mean, we had Haven who was very uncertain of herself but willing to do whatever she could. Now there is Adni who admits that she really just wants to run home to her family most of the book. She wants to hide away and not be part of this whole saving the world business. Part of that is because she doesn't accept who she is and her insecurity is severe enough that her desire is to hide. However, slowly, she overcomes that fear. The more she opens up to people, the more they accept her (in general, with one exception).
As always, the writing keeps the reader focused on the characters and plot the entire time. Everything is constantly driving forward. It's one of the things I love the most about Katherine Bogle's books. While it doesn't seem there is anything left to explore in the Warshard universe, I am hoping for more. In the meantime, I plan to dive into her science fiction series!
I quite enjoyed the idea behind Ashen and the rest of the Chronicles of Warshard, which are all tied together in one giant finale. Additionally, this particular segment of the series offered more to the wondrous, magical, unique world of Warshard. These two aspects really pulled me in and kept my attention as the story progressed. Though, a little more explanation on some pieces of the world would have been nice, but I just like knowing everything. 😉
A little Flat
I’ll be honest, I found the main character, Adni, to be a little flat. She’s not a particularly active character in the story and has a lot more happen to her than she actually does on her own. It gets a little better as the story progresses, but I would have liked more from her throughout the course of the book so that I could have connected with her better. Or perhaps just offer more of her personality as I didn’t really feel like I knew much about her as a person.
The pacing was a bit off for me. It felt a little fast, like the story and scenes weren’t fully fleshed out. I would have liked to have it slowed down more and given more visuals and more interactions between the characters. This would have really helped to develop the character relationships better as they felt a little forced at times and like a few steps of their interactions were skipped. Slowing down would have been great for fleshing this out, especially since the character relationships seem to be a large part of the story.