If you’ve read A Wicked Thing, Kingdom of Ashes is a must read (especially if you liked the first book in the series). I finally got to read A Wicked Thing recently (I have no idea what took me so long), and while I did point out that it was a bit slower paced and didn’t have as much action as I had hoped, Kingdom of Ashes delivers all that action and fast-paced awesomeness that seemed to be absent in the previous book.
Kingdom of Ashes is amazing. There is so much going on in this book, and if you like your books faster paced (like I do), then this is definitely a sequel that you don’t want to miss.
This book picks up pretty much exactly where A Wicked Thing left off. There isn’t really any gap in the time from one book to the next, and that makes it easier to jump right back into this amazingly crafted world. Plus, this book revolves around dragons. Yes, dragons!
“‘We know three things about dragons for certain,’ Finnegan said. ‘That they exist, that they hate water, and that they kill us. Everything else is guesswork. No one gets close enough to fragons to learn about them and lives to write a book.'”
Oh, and Finnegan is back, too, which I thought was awesome (I’m a huge Finnegan fan, and this book only made me more so)!
So, Aurora is making her way across the kingdom after running away in the last book, with her powers completely uncontrolled, with essentially no food or anyone on her side. When she finds out the guards are looking for her and that there is a reward for bringing her back to the castle, she tries her best to hide, but when faced with danger, she accidentally burns down the village she is hiding out in. When Nettle reappears, with the job of helping her across the land to Vanhelm (Finnegan’s kingdom), Aurora is relieved and finally feels like things might pan out for her.
When she reaches Vanhelm and sees Finnegan, she is thrilled. She tells him what happened, and of course, he welcomes her into his kingdom and allows her to stay. We get to meet Finnegan’s mother and sister, as well. I was pretty partial to his mother in the beginning, because she’s a strong queen who does what she needs to do to help her people, and they respect her for it. She seems to like Aurora for the most part, and allows her to stay there until she figures out what she needs to do.
Finnegan and Aurora spend plenty of time together, and their relationship goes beyond that of constant bickering friendship. Aurora does spend a good portion of her time wishing Finnegan would kiss her, and wishing she could just work up the courage to kiss him, and this whole mindset does get a little frustrating, but seeing the two of them develop feelings for each other is sweet. Their entire romance is just one of those that you were probably even hoping for since the first book (I know I was!), and fans will finally get the chance to see some flirtation between the two. Finnegan is back to his goofy, bad-boy self, calling Aurora by the nickname “Dragon Girl,” which is kind of cute.
“‘What can I say, dragon girl? You’re hard to look away from.'”
As Aurora learns about her magic and how to control it and work with it, she also realizes a few secrets about herself that are vital to the story, so it’s important to pay attention when you’re reading this one. Finnegan helps her research and try to figure things out, while also helping her plan out how she is going to go back and save her own kingdom. When Aurora realizes that she can connect with the dragons that have left Vanhelm a literal kingdom of ashes, she starts to wonder if perhaps the dragons are a way that she can save her kingdom and fight off the king.
The ending of this book seemed to wrap up the story that began in A Wicked Thing quite nicely, so I’m not sure if there will be a third book or not. If there is, I’m looking forward to reading it, but if not, I think things were wrapped up pretty well, so it won’t be a disappointment.
There is a lot more development with Aurora’s character in this book than in the last – she has become strong and independent – definitely the type of ruler a kingdom needs. The whole dragon aspect of the book was AMAZING. It tied the whole book together, and really made things more interesting. The return of all the characters from the previous book was nice, too.
If you liked A Wicked Thing, definitely don’t miss out on this one!
Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.