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Memories of Ash (The Sunbolt Chronicles Book 2) Kindle Edition
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"This was an entertaining, awesome read--the fantasy is detailed, the prose gorgeous, and the characters wholly believable. I recommend this to lovers of complex stories, multi-dimensional relationships, and new/adventurous settings." - Elizabeth, Betwixt The Pages
About the Author
Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. She is the author of The Sunbolt Chronicles and Thorn (HarperTeen 2020).
Find out more at booksbyintisar.com
- ASIN : B01CX5G3OG
- Publisher : Purple Monkey Press (May 30, 2016)
- Publication date : May 30, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 4034 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 355 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #289,629 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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As with most fantasy, there is a quest with overwhelming obstacles and it takes the main character significant cleverness to find ways out of impossible situations. Where this books takes a drastic turn is in holding to Actual Morals. Yes, things are dire, yes, they are life-and-death, and yes, it's a major miracle that suddenly there is a solution. Except that the solution requires disposing of one of the disposables and that's just not worth the price. So the protagonist chooses to shoulder the consequences and protect the lives of her enemies.
It is amazing what it does for a novel to have that kind of spine. The actions and the emotions are so much more vital because there are absolute boundaries to what is possible and, no, the truth and rules of engagement cannot stretch to accommodate whatever is convenient. The story is vivid, believable and flows. The world is crystal clear before my eyes. The characters, too, are believable and grounded, compete with their conflicting motivations and imperfect information and judgment. I also really love that Hitomi has a bone-deep rejection of prejudices and an instinctive respect for different cultures. It's a pleasure reading through her lens, not only because she is a wonderful character, excellently written, but because I actually respect her and all her motivations and decisions. I can say the same for several other major characters.
The plot is creative and suspenseful. Very creative. I could not even try to predict the outcomes of the many many dilemmas that could have each been the central tangle in many novels but, here, were one of many. I love that Hitomi is not a quitter or a whiner. Her reaction to being at the end of the line is: ok, let's see what can be done here - I'm not done until I'm done.
I very purposefully did not let myself re-read Sunbolt, so I could let this book stand on it's own in my mind and it absolutely did that - stand strongly on it's own. History from the first book is woven into this one organically and elegantly. Having said that, I'm going to run off to re-read Sunbolt right now because I doubt Intisar can finish Book 3 by tomorrow and I need more! It's too good a story and I want to live in it a bit longer.
(I received an early review copy from the author in return for an honest review. This has not in any way influenced my review. I've bought the book, too.)
With most of her memories scorched away by the sunbolt she cast to save her friend Val, Hitomi is slowly working to rebuild her life with the help of her magical mentor, Stormwind. When Stormwind is summoned before the High Council of Mages on what Hitomi can only imagine to be trumped-up charges, she has to summon every trick she knows, from both her old life and her new one, to attempt a bold prison break.
Much like the first book, Memories of Ash is oddly structured, leading from one place to another as much as it follows the dramatic arc at hand. The experience of reading it is more like watching a Netflix season than reading an installment in a series of novels. Characters come and go, their significance seeming as flexible as if there were actors’ contracts to consider. Major plot threads are introduced, not just hinted at but explored for major sections of the book, and then left for a later entry without even temporary resolution.
Though the unconventional rhythm is frustrating in places, I personally didn’t mind too much, because each step in the story’s meandering course is engrossing in its own way.
The heist/prison break/courtroom drama at the center of this installment is especially hard to put down, mingling Hitomi’s criminal tricks, her varied collection of allegiances, and the unique mechanics of magic in her world into a tensely compelling thrillride.
The appearances of Hitomi’s lost mother are haunting, understated, and complicated. There may be more yet to come in her story and in their relationship, but if she never surfaces again, their encounter in this book would be perfect even in its gaping incompleteness.
Above all, I can never praise enough Khanani’s successful creation and maintaining of a fascinating pacifist hero. Hitomi’s refusal to take life under any circumstances would normally be a phase a hero goes through before returning to normal, or a nearly irrelevant quirk that comes up sporadically between scene upon scene of action that easily could kill unfortunate bad guys and bystanders but conveniently never does. Hitomi’s personal moral code is an ever-present core element of who she is, and it makes the solutions she comes up with all the more creative and interesting.
I do I hope to see some of the hanging plot threads resolved in future books, but I’m thoroughly on board to find out.
We get to see how much Hitomi has grown. There's plenty of adventure and heart racing moments. I loved the traveling and meeting new people(and non-humans) and seeing new things. I loved the glimpse into a different culture as Hitomi meets some of her father's people. I'm really hoping that gets explored more indepth in later books.
I loved how many new characters there were and the variety of loyalty and integrity that they showed. So many characters who helped out Hitomi and had various reasons for doing so--even at risk to themselves. Just a nice cast of well-rounded individuals. I loved that she got to meet backup with Kenta because he's a character that NEEDS more page time. (Please, please no love triangle in the future. I don't care if there's a romance and I don't care who she chooses but good gravy please don't make it a love triangle.)
I liked that Hitomi is willing to risk everything to help out Stormwind. It shows a lot about her character and makes it easy to get behind her.
Overall this book is rich in characters, world building, and a unique story.
Top reviews from other countries
Hitomi remained a clever, likeable heroine and a prime example of my favourite thing about Khanani's books: strong, female characters. I liked meeting the other characters in the book too, and there was quite the colourful, fun cast to become acquainted with. Particular favourites included the re-introduction of the cast of 'Sunbolt': Val, Stormwind, Tanuki, as well as some new faces such as Osman Bey, Stonefall, the Phoenix and Huda. The world itself has received a lot of attention too from Khanani and I was pleased to see more explanation on the strange creatures that live there, the history, the laws of their magic and of course the politics. Hitomi travelled to a fair few places so I'm excited about the prospect of her discovering more in the next book!
Honestly, there wasn't really an awful lot that I didn't like about this book. Khanani did an absolutely cracking job and now, sadly, I have to wait until the next book is released or until the first of 'The Theft Of Sunlight' series is released, which is the first in a companion trilogy to 'Thorn'. I will never stop recommending Khanani's books because I think they are an often overlooked, fantastic contribution to the diverse, fantastical YA world.
I loved Hitomi's character in Sunbolt and she grows even more in Memories of Ash. Although there’s a whole host of secondary characters – both new and returning – which gives the world a brilliant level of depth, Hitomi is very much front and centre. Her personality and objectives are never out-shadowed by the world-building, plotline or other characters. She’s creative, strong-willed, determined and self-sacrificing – the perfect heroine for this type of story. She’s not perfect though, she has moments of doubt, fear and vindictiveness, all of which make her relatable and make sense for the situations in which she finds herself.
The world-building is just as well-done as it was in Sunbolt. We see a whole host of new places, characters and cultures as Hitomi leaves the sanctuary of Stormwind’s cottage, travels through The Burnt Lands and the desert and finds her way in the big city. I especially loved the Mage School and all the details of life there that Khanani wove into the plot. The world-building was great but never got in the way of Hitomi’s journey.
While I did miss Val in this instalment (he’s crucial to the plot but only briefly appears), this was very much Hitomi’s story. Khanani develops the character so well, while also exploring morality and choosing-your-path in an unobtrusive way. I loved that Hitomi’s fate was decided by her own actions and she never shied away from the consequences of her decisions. I also thought it was interesting to see a story where the protagonist doesn’t rack up a (glossed over) body count to achieve their objective/ escape etc. I thought Hitomi’s decisions e.g. to be caught rather than win a fight and kill someone, made her both more interesting and more realistic
Memories of Ash is a brilliant sequel that completely smashes Second Book Syndrome -- I can’t wait for the next instalment!
The main character is a youbg woman with emense magical abilities, who has honor and a penchant for saving those who are in dire need. She truly is a hero who regularly puts others before herself.
Her friends and those who gain her loyalty along the way are an interesting group of individuals who help carry the story along.
I truly recommend this book as well as the first book in the series, Sunbolt, to anyone who enjoys a good paranormal fantasy where the heroine is clever, quick witted, powerful, kind and always saving the day!
I’m running out of superlatives but I loved every part of this book. The world is stunning, the characters are complex and convincing, the writing is effortless (to read – I’m sure it wasn’t to write!) and the story swooped and whirled with lots of surprises along the way.
Memories of Ash is simply gorgeous. I feel like I’ve had a fabulous (if rather eventful) holiday. I really didn’t want it to end. As the percentages ticking along on the corner of my Kindle edged over 90 my chest started to ache with genuine grief at the idea of leaving. I can’t wait to go back to Hitomi’s world.
I think you could probably read Memories of Ash without first reading Sunbolt (first in the series) – but why in the world would you want to? Grab both and cancel everything for some quality reading time.
I must say that the first book was initially mundane compared to the second but I can now understand how the first book created the necessary foundation to build the characters and the plot.
If you are looking for a series with unpredictable plot, unique blend of characters, well-developed story and a colorful world to.immense yourself, then this is the series for you.
I can't wait for the next installment!