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#95 In Ashes Lie by Marie Brennan

This review has spoilers for the first book in The Onyx Court Series, Midnight Never Come. There are no spoilers for In Ashes Lie.


In the mid 1600s, England stands in peril. Above ground King Charles and Parliament fight for power. Below ground the faerie queen, Lune, struggles against dangerous adversaries. Together with Anthony, her human consort and The Prince of Stone, both hope to find peace for both the human and faerie England. But what will both sides be able to do when London is is suddenly set ablaze by a deadly and magical fire that consumes the city?

In Ashes Lie is the second book in the Onyx Court series, following Midnight Never Come. The series has a fascinating concept, retelling English history by adding in a second court made up of faeries. The events of the human world are often mirrored by those in faerie. The character of Lune returns, but this time as Queen. It’s easy to sympathize with her during her struggle as she attempts to hold her world together even when things seem hopeless. I also enjoyed the character of Anthony who replaces Michael Deven (from Midnight Never Come) as her human consort. There is no romance between the two central characters this time, which I did miss a little. Still I found their relationship to be powerful, regardless of it’s platonic state.

Admittedly, I found In Ashes Lie to be a step below Midnight Never Come. Part of that reason is my own prejudices. While I have an established interest in the Elizabethan setting that housed Midnight Never Come, I am less interested in the English Civil War, so the historical elements did not always grab me as much. Also, In Ashes Lie makes use of two time lines. The main story takes place from 1636 to 1666, and features very long chapters. The secondary storyline takes place in 1666 during The Great Fire of London, and features shorter chapters. In someways it was interesting to see glimpses of the future, and then how the present got there, but in other ways this stylistic choice caused a lot of problems for me. I often found myself getting confused with the 1666 storyline, as so much time was spent away from it, I forgot what state the characters were in by the time I got back to it. As a result, this damaged my enjoyment of the book.

Due to my lack of initial interest in the chosen time frame, as well as problems with the multiple time lines, I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy In Ashes Lie as much as I did it’s predecessor. Still, I once again enjoyed watching how real life events were parallel by those in Onyx Court, and the characters were complex enough to hold my interest, so I did end up liking the book in the end. I do plan on continuing the series.
Rating: three and a half stars
Length: 433 pages
Source: half.com
Other books I've read by this author: Doppleganger (also called Warrior), Warrior and Witch (also called Witch), Midnight Never Come

xposted to temporaryworlds, bookish, and goodreads
Tags: author: b, genre: fantasy, genre: historical fiction, review
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