Tina S Beier
Weight of Ashes (Book Review)
I received an advance review copy for free from BookSirens, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Weight of Ashes is a quick-paced novel with an intriguing premise.
In a somewhat post-apocalyptic future, aliens, called the Qyntarak, have taken over Earth. Court lives in a village off-the-grid with his family but becomes involved in a plot to save humanity when he meets a young woman on the run from the government.
This is an easy-to-read, entertaining story. While not particularly fleshed out, Court and Elle’s motivations are clear. There is real tension in the story, as the bad guys are not bumbling fools, but methodically tracking down their prey. Unfortunately, we don’t see enough of the aliens to really understand them. I couldn’t really picture what they looked liked, though the descriptions of their ability to read emotions via heat signatures was interesting. I also enjoyed the technology. The novel does a great job providing exposition on how the world came to be under control of the Qyntarak through dialogue, rather than an info-dump.
And as a Canadian myself, I always enjoy when a novel takes place in my country.
While still enjoyable, this book sits around a 3.5/5 for me, as there were some aspects I found took away from the story.
The characterization is weak. Elle is a strong-willed character, but we aren’t given enough backstory about her life with Donovan to truly understand her. She mentions her life in a few memories, but it’s unclear whether she resents it, and there are some reveals at the end of the novel that raised questions but did not contribute to the resolution.
There is also the addition of new character perspectives, which sidelined the main characters, leaving them passengers rather than the drivers of the story. The protagonist was delightfully malicious and his chapters bickering with the aliens were one of the best aspects of the story. Yet, for his actions at the end of the story to make complete sense, he needed a bit more backstory.
I also wasn’t too keen on the ending. It felt like a lead-up to a sequel rather than a solid finish.
Overall, I did enjoy reading it. The first third is tightly-wrought and the momentum from those chapters helps propel the weaker second half.