Let’s Join the New World | Kingdom of Ashes by Elena May

July 17, 2017

A long time ago, I received Kingdom of Ashes from Elena May. I say that, because I honestly should have posted this review a decade ago and now I’m feeling kinda guilty about it. Sorry Elena!

Isn’t the title magnificent? That’s what first caught my attention.


I liked some of the messages that the book was trying to send. “There’s nothing glorious about fighting a war, or interrogating prisoners.” (2) While I do enjoy quite a lot of fantasy books, so many of them glamourise fighting in battles or forcefully getting the upper hand on the enemy when in reality, people are dying. I think it’s important for the readers to get hit with a little bit of reality every now and then.


The writing was also quite quick paced. Despite not really being a huge fan of vampires anymore, I whizzed through the pages and dove headfirst into all of the action. There was very little filler, but Elena managed to capture some important points such as the reactions of a daughter when she learns that her parents are never coming back. It all made it much more real, in a sense that you could really imagine what was going on.


At times, the writing seems a little bit wooden. “Myra smiled … Myra grinned.” (14) Which is a huge factor in pulling readers out of the fantasy world, and into the realisation that they’re reading words on a page. Please keep in mind that these sentences do have another one in the middle of them, but the fact that they both start with the same thing has managed to link them together in my mind and it honestly seems a little bit monotonous. Occasionally, words don’t quite fit together. “Why, you sneaky little idiot.” (28) There seems to be different levels of hostility in that sentence, and it honestly kind of baffles me. Perhaps it’s a personal thing, but idiot brings up connotations of almost affectionate or ‘soft’ hate – and that really doesn’t seem to be what the character is going for.
If You Enjoyed This, You Might Also Like: The Immortal Rules. Also set in a world that deals with the subjugation of humans, and the superiority of vampires – this could be another big hit for you. Arguably, this might be for a younger audience, but I think that it would be just as enjoyable as Kingdom of Ashes.
The characters, while they don’t seem wooden per se, don’t seem to be fully formed people at times. There is an instance in which a younger cousin, a child, suddenly starts spouting philosophical wisdom despite being a normal child no less than two lines before. “It is only one of the many facets of your essence and it neither negates nor validates your other qualities.” (22) Yes, this oddness is noted upon by the main character but honestly? People generally don’t say things like that. Let alone children who had previously been shown to be a little bratty, and emphasised as young.


Also, this next point isn’t really terrible, but I just found it a little bit funny. “Well, well, general, you are starting to grow a spine.” (41) Doesn’t that remind you of one of those cheesy bond villains? It brings up imagery of someone swivelling around on a chair with wheels, after having waited hours for their intended to run up the stairs. Maybe I’ve been watching too many youtube videos! I don’t know.


I also thought that some of the choices that they made as a survival group were a little bit stupid. Myra is a writer. Her friends know that, her family knows that and the readers know that. It’s been heavily emphasised from the moment that we met her. So to have her go on a life or death kind of mission seems a little bit counterproductive. Literally anyone else would have been better. She has no training, no experience in the outside world and there is no reason that anyone would think that she would actually succeed. I mean, I get the whole giving people a chance thing – but when the lives of everyone else are at stake? Nah.

While I do seem quite negative in this post, I would like to point out that I honestly think that some people will enjoy this book – it just wasn’t for me. If vampires and dystopias are your thing then I say go for it!
Fleur xox
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  • Reply July Wrap Up 2017 – Fleur Henley July 31, 2017 at 4:30 pm

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