An Inheritance of Ashes will draw you in with the setting – think post supernatural war America in a future reminiscent of post American Civil War – but the quietly introspective narrator is the real reason you’ll stay. This book isn’t for everyone, but it is magnificently strange and strangely universal in its characters and theme.
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 really enjoyed this strange and unexpected read. It was nothing like I expected, but it was such a beautiful story of how perspective can color and cloud everything around you. While I think the external conflict is really going to be the draw for most readers, the internal conflict is the true heart of An Inheritance of Ashes. Hallie’s world is in chaos, the result of a war against a god who brings destruction and death in his wake. This is simply added stress to her already precarious position – she is afraid that she is a disappointment to her older sister, and disappointment could mean she will be forced to leave the family home. There is just enough detail given about the war and the fall out to make a satisfactory backdrop to a book about what it means to the person you think everyone expects you to be. I think this book is most intriguing for what it doesn’t say. There is a lot here that is left up to reader inference and that is so perfect because almost all of the conflicts are centered around miscommunications that could be resolved with conversation. I really enjoyed the almost eerie atmosphere that is heightened by the isolation many of the characters are experiencing. It was so different from anything else I’ve read in the YA genre, but I really enjoyed it. I don’t think this book is going to be a big hit with everyone because it is sort of odd, slow paced, and quiet. There is action and there is a wildly original supernatural element at play, but the majority of the book was paced to develop characters, and I would classify it as a Bildungsroman. There is also a really honest romance that some readers will find lacking in romance, but I thought it was just about perfect. While some readers might grouse about a lot of things in this book, I bet there aren’t any who could complain about the resolution – it was just right. Fans of books like All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry will definitely want to pick this book up. Language and situations are appropriate for grades 7+, but I think it will hold more interest for high school readers or adult readers of YA.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.