Friday, November 23, 2012

Review: Ashes of Twilight by Kassy Tayler

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Ashes of Twilight
Kassy Tayler
Series: Ashes Trilogy, #1
Publication date: November 13th 2012
by St. Martin’s Griffin


Wren MacAvoy works as a coal miner for a domed city that was constructed in the mid-nineteenth century to protect the royal blood line of England when astronomers spotted a comet on a collision course with Earth. Humanity would be saved by the most groundbreaking technology of the time. But after nearly 200 years of life beneath the dome, society has become complacent and the coal is running out.  Plus there are those who wonder, is there life outside the dome or is the world still consumed by fire? When one of Wren’s friends escapes the confines of the dome, he is burned alive and put on display as a warning to those seeking to disrupt the dome’s way of life. But Alex’s final words are haunting. “The sky is blue.”  What happens next is a whirlwind of adventure, romance, conspiracy and the struggle to stay alive in a world where nothing is as it seems. Wren unwittingly becomes a catalyst for a revolution that destroys the dome and the only way to survive might be to embrace what the entire society has feared their entire existence.

*A copy was provided by St. Martin’s Press for review purposes*

Ashes of Twilight starts off very strong and quite intriguing when we’re taken into this desolate world inside a claustrophobic dome. After the planet was destroyed, humans were forced to take shelter inside a dome where the royals rule, leaving everyone else as mere slaves to insure it all runs properly.

It’s your typical dystopian with minor steampunk elements. The blurb as well as the cover clearly makes it sound much more exciting than it is, however. So, when I’m reading this and I pass the half way point with still nothing very monumental happening other than a lot of talk about wanting to leave, I began to rethink what I had gotten myself into. This wasn’t an exciting novel, nor was it intense or really that much entertaining. If you think this novel is about leaving this dome and finally finding out what’s on the outside, having to survive, learning dark secrets about their world… think again. The whole novel takes place inside the dome, while Wren questions everything she has ever been taught. She questions if the outside is really only flames and nothingness. She questions their way of life. She questions… and questions… and never actually does anything about it. Sure this world is very dark and sinister, people get burned alive, people suffer and the way they live is unimaginable. Nonetheless, there is no “pulse pounding action” here. There is nothing that even compelled me to turn the page other than wanting to be done with it. I mostly found myself bored with the stagnancy. The part of the blurb that states “Wren unwittingly becomes a catalyst for a revolution that destroys the dome and the only way to survive might be to embrace what the entire society has feared their entire existence” only happens during the last 2 chapters…

Furthermore, I’m not the kind of reader who will always notice or pick at particular annoyances with the writing in a book. I did, however, get irritated by the constant repetitiveness in this one. Aside from the persistent questions asked by our protagonist Every. Two. Pages, the most prominent annoyance is the constant appearance of “yet”. It seemed like every third sentence was formed using that same conjunction and it literally became distracting. Instead of reading I was hunting for the next “yet”. And there it was, again and again. Yes it’s small, and might go unnoticed for some, yet… it stood out for me like a sore thumb that kept poking my eyeball.

Even though I haven’t mentioned anything positive up to this point, the book wasn’t terrible. I did like the dark, dreary world. I liked the mystery of the unknown outside world. It did have extreme potential if only it had a faster pace; more meat to its frivolous bones. The characters that failed to both charm and compel me were no help, either. Every one of them were cut from the same cloth.

When I go into a dystopian I’m looking for an exciting ride: A pulse pounding story that makes you fear for the characters and cringe at the way they have to live. Although Ashes of Twilight is definitely cringe worthy at times, it simply lacked suspense, narrative drive, and clearly fell short of my expectations.

2 Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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22 Responses to “Review: Ashes of Twilight by Kassy Tayler”

  1. Kat Balcombe

    Another pretty cover with no substance? Gah!

    I can overlook a lot of things for good pacing and action, but if you found it a chore then I’m bailing.

    And, yet…. LOL

  2. Amy

    With so many dystopians out there a book really needs to be creative or at least action filled to keep my interest. This doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy with the characters not being that great and the story not really going anywhere. Thanks for the fab review babe!!

  3. Megan K.

    Blergh, too bad you didn’t enjoy this one. It sounds so amazing. But, a slow-moving story and having a lack of suspense? No, thanks. 🙁

    Thanks for the honest review, though! Definitely won’t be picking this one up unless I’ve had a sudden change of heart, ha.

  4. Sarah Elizabeth

    Have to say that I really enjoyed your review! Think I’ll pass on this one, the repetativeness would drive me crazy too, and I would be so annoyed if she didn’t leave the dome. Sounds like she just moans a lot to me.

  5. Renae

    Ah, too bad you didn’t like this one, Giselle! It’s always really awful when the cover blurb leads you to expect one thing, but instead you find another. And, to me, it seems like it happens more often than it should.

    I’m definitely disappointed to hear that this wasn’t very past-paced or exciting. Like you, I feel that’s one of the big draws of a dystopian novel.

  6. Aneeqah

    Aww, I’m so sad to hear that you didn’t like this one! I think that I wouldn’t enjoy it either, based off of what you said. I mean, no action? That is something that I just can’t overlook in a dystopian, especially one that seems like it’s full of action. The lack of action and a fast paced plot may make me DNF this one alone, not even to mention the annoying ‘yets’ that the main character obnoxiously uses. I’m sure I do this during my writing, but it’s NaNoWriMo, so the thing is, I CAN. When I edit, I’ll be looking for over repetitive words, and I’ll take those out. It seems like this book didn’t get edited that well. :/

    Thanks for the honest review Giselle! If I see this book at the library, then I may give it a chance, but other than that, I’ll be passing this one up.

  7. Melliane

    I’m always annoyed but the redondant elements, it seems like this book isn’t for me either… We can find so many great amazing dystopians book, I think it’s difficult when we have one a little less good.

  8. Sam

    I’m not always particular with writing either, so when the flaws becomes noticeable, you know there is room for improvement. This sounded so very interesting so I’m sorry to see it didn’t quite work for you. The reviews so far have been a mixed bunch. I think I might pass.

    Great review, hun!

  9. Lisa

    Am I the only one, who can’t just stop reading a book, no matter how terrible it is? It could be boring, filled with hundreds of yets, and have absolutely no action, but “yet” I feel obligated to finish the book? Am I the only one?


  10. Mel@Thedailyprophecy.

    This sounds boring. I don’t mind if the character questions everything, but I do want action and suspense, otherwise there is no point in thinking.. Yup, definitely going to stay way from this one.

  11. Christina

    A dome is totally a good start!

    NO ACTION? What the heck? Action is usually the one strong element in the bad dystopias, like Divergent, which pretty much just had punching and jumping going for it. Sigh.

    Weird. Why would protag keep saying yet?

    Sigh. I won a copy of this, but maybe it won’t show up. X_X

  12. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    Oh boo, it’s too bad that this one was so slow. Maybe setting up for the series? I hate when that happens though, there can still be action in the book and it set up a good series. I’d seen this one around a lot lately and was definitely curious about it, and now I am happy that you read it first! 😛

  13. Alexa

    Have you read Pure? The mention of the dome to keep them all “safe” reminded me of it. It’s a pretty great novel, and I’m curious to see what happens next.

    Okay, back to this novel. Hmm. Well, the summary definitely made it sound exciting, so it’s kind of sad to hear it’s not as exciting as I’d like. Plus that yet thing would probably bother me too!