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Review: Age of Ash: Kithamar 01

Synopsis

Kithamar is a center of trade and wealth, an ancient city with a long, bloody history where countless thousands live and their stories unfold.

This is Alys’s.

When her brother is murdered, a petty thief from the slums of Longhill sets out to discover who killed him and why.  But the more she discovers about him, the more she learns about herself, and the truths she finds are more dangerous than knives. 

Swept up in an intrigue as deep as the roots of Kithamar, where the secrets of the lowest born can sometimes topple thrones, the story Alys chooses will have the power to change everything.

Review

I’ve had Daniel Abraham’s books on my TBR for a long time and never manage to get to them. Age of Ash presented an opportunity for me to read one of Abraham’s books without committing to a full series.

Age of Ash is book one in the Kithamar trilogy and was a bit of a mixed bag for me, though I will say, just in case you don’t read the full review, that Age of Ash gets stronger as we progress. Early on I thought I was heading towards a 2.5/3* book and a series I would not continue, however, I am eager to read book 2 next year, which will make or break this trilogy for me. I have high hopes given the how Age of Ash engaged me more are we progressed.

In Age of Ash, we follow Alys, a member of a thieving crew, who becomes resolute in her determination to avenge her brother’s murder. This takes her on an emotionally painful journey and down a dark path that pushes her away from her friends, including Sammish, our second POV, who does her best to support Alys through her grief.

Alys’s family background is complex, and this is developed throughout the story, as are the backgrounds of other characters, though, for me, this happened too slowly—as I mentioned in the opening Age of Ash picked up around 30-40% then again around 60%. That said, particularly once we learn more about Kithamar, it’s evident that Abraham has built a complex and well-thought-out world, which promises much more in book 2.

Age of Ash is a story filled with darker themes and you shouldn’t go into reading it expecting rainbows, it’s certainly a book for those who prefer dark fantasy, not so much in the murder and violence, but more so in the psychology of the key characters, though Abraham handles this very well and his prose certainly has beauty.

I do worry that some will DNF this before the 30% mark and I wouldn’t blame them. I probably would have had I not had an arc, but as I mentioned earlier, I am glad I stuck with Age of Ash. This is one of those books that lays a lot of groundwork and will be better appreciated once the trilogy is complete.

Rating

“Who gives a shit? Who promised you fair? I didn’t. Fair is good people get treated good, and bad people get the bad. That sound like anyplace you know? I’ve never been there.”

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.