Reviewed in the United States on April 24, 2013
The first book of the Elemental World series tells the life stories of Carwyn ap Bryn, a thousand year-old vampire priest and Brigit Connor, the young woman who has lived among vampires, since they rescued her from the abusive parents in her childhood. From their early years (individually) to their growing relationship, and a few glimpses of the Elemental Mysteries storyline mixed-in – Building From Ashes is a great companion novel.
Even though this story is complete in itself, I would recommend that readers acquaint themselves with the previous Elemental Mysteries series, not only because they are great stories, but it would certainly add a level of understanding to this new series.
As mentioned above, this novel covers a span of long time, from Carwyn being sired into a vampire, to Brigit’s childhood at an abusive home, and the following rescue by Ioan (Carwyn’s vampire son); her life in college and battle with personal demons, Carwyn’s struggles with his feelings for Brigid and his commitments to the church, to *finally* their blossoming relation and more. It is another well-written novel by Elizabeth Hunter, and she certainly knows what her audiences want and love about her books. I’ve found myself thoroughly entertained by this novel, especially since I found Carwyn to be a personal favorite character from the previous series, and wished him to be the subject of the separate books – *wish granted*.
Although, I thought this was a good novel, I found certain elements a bit repetitive and thus somewhat dull. I found myself having a love/hate relationship with Carwyn’s character this time around. He was quite mysterious in the previous series, but the glimpses we saw of him were always so cheerful, fun, and exciting that I instantly dubbed him the favorite. Here, we certainly learned much more of Carwyn, and some of his actions felt a bit at odds with my picture of Carwyn. I was sad that he didn’t share more with B & Gio. Nonetheless, I still love his character, and am happy he got his own story.
On the other hand, we had Brigit – a new character all together, and while one could certainly make a lot of parallels to Beatrice’s character of the Elemental Mysteries, I found her a bit less likable. I couldn’t relate to her character as well, but understood where her rough edges came from. Her transformation in the later part of the book was somewhat drastic in my opinion. [I found it interesting, that fire vampires were made to seem quite the rare occurrence in the previous series, and here, of course, Brigit is transformed into a very powerful (why do they always need to be *special*?) fire vampire, and in addition one of Carwyn’s children is also married to a fire vampire. This made me go “hmm…” I felt it was too convenient.]
The transitioned storyline of Lorenzo, the elixir, and the missing manuscript has crept in parts into this novel as well. While it was good to see a different perspective of things, and once again hear of B & Gio’s adventures, the main plot of searching for the elixir - *drug* and its producers/dealers started to get tiring. Although, this is the theme that well connects the Elemental World series to the previous set of “Mysteries” I wished this story revolved around something else all together, but am afraid it will continue into the future novels as well, which I’m sure will still be on my TBR list.
So, if you are a fan of Elizabeth Hunter’s writing and especially the characters of the Elemental Mysteries – I am certain you would not be sorry to once again immerse yourself into this wonderful world of elemental vampires, ancient mysteries, and some very sexy romance…