I received this book via Edelweiss. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet
Published by Clarion Books on 2015-10-06
Length: 400 pages
Reviewing eARC from Edelweiss
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.
I’ll be completely honest with you…I was REALLY disappointed with An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet. I thought I was getting this post-war era book. I thought it was along the lines of historical fiction…”strange war down south” signifies to me the civil war. This was my first mistake. It didn’t take me long to realize I was way off base. The characters had modern technology. So yay! I thought I was getting a dystopian. I LOVE dystopians! This was my second mistake. Yes to some degree, it is a dystopian, BUT it has none of the traditional things we all know and love. An Inheritance of Ashes is actually a poorly done fantasy.
Harsh statement I know, especially coming from me because I REALLY wanted to like this book, but I just couldn’t. There are so many things wrong with this book. Let’s break them down…
First, the world-building…it’s basically nonexistent. It wasn’t until I was roughly 25% into the book that I realized it was set in a post-modern time as the main character describes the ruins of the “great cities.” This was a big problem for me as I was – as I stated earlier – expecting civil-war era. The tone I had set for the book, the way I viewed the characters and their surrounds, had to change. Then there’s the monsters in the book. What are they?Why are they there? Why is there a war against them? None of this is really addressed until the next to last chapter. I was baffled and confused!
Then Hallie…Hallie is the main character and the entire book is told from her perspective. She’s an odd-ball, but I liked her. She’s the younger sister and part-owner of the farm they live on. Her sister is pregnant so it is up to her to run the farm. This is a huge responsibility for a barely 16 year old. The weight really crushes her. My problem with her though is there is little insight on why she does the things she does. She makes some very bad choices involving her sister and then tries to cover it up. There’s really not much remorse and then when she does FINALLY come to the conclusion that what she did was bad, she completely loses it! Who does that?! Suck it up and be a woman!
Lastly the war…the entire story revolves around this war that occurred down south. Soldiers have been home for a while yet there’s really no explaining what they did or saw down there. They don’t talk about it AND when one of the characters finally does it seems there wasn’t a war at all. So why all the injuries and deaths? Makes no sense!!!
The book’s saving grace is it’s secondary characters. While I liked Hallie, I really liked her friends Nat and Tyler. They are fully developed and bring out the best in Hallie. Nat adds levity while Tyler adds a touch of romance to the story.
Overall, I would whole-heartedly recommend you skip this book. It has a lot of problems that need to be fixed, mainly the actual plot of the story which again is nonexistent. The only positive I can think to say about the book is that for a young adult book it is a clean read (so yay for that!). Also the premise of the story had a lot of potential, it just wasn’t carried out. If you enjoy young adult, dystopia, and fantasy, then maybe give it a try. If you do, come back and let me know how you liked it!