An Inheritance of Ashes
by Leah Bobet
In the aftermath of a brutal war against the servants of a dark god, Hallie and her older sister Marthe struggle to keep their farm going while they wait for Marthe's husband Thom to come home from the war. As time goes on with no word of Thom, it becomes increasingly, agonizingly, apparent that Thom is not coming back. But when a plague of Twisted Things — bizarre and dangerous creatures who serve the dark god — infests the farm, Marthe and Hallie, along with their new hired hand Heron, have more to worry about than Thom.
An Inheritance of Ashes is a beautiful book, but one that's painful to read at times. At its core is the relationship between two sisters, survivors of abuse, who love each other deeply, yet haunted by echoes of the past, they can't seem to help hurting each other.
Although it's initially framed as a fantasy, An Inheritance of Ashes is really more science fiction than fantasy. I can't say too much without spoilers, but things are different than they appear initially.
However, that's not what's important in this book. It's really a book about relationships, about how we sometimes hurt most the people we love best. It's about how misunderstanding can blossom and become habit. It's about the pressure of expectations we place on ordinary people who become accidental heroes. It's about healing and love and redemption.
There is also a beautifully believable romance - stumbling, halting, at times uncomfortable, as real romance can sometimes be, and yet built on a foundation of understanding and friendship and developing into something more.
There is a diversity in this book that seems natural and real. Hallie and Marthe are light skinned. Thom has dark skin. Heron is described as having brown skin a few shades lighter than Thom's. A neighbor who is the closest thing Hallie has to a father figure is married to a man, in what is the most stable and loving relationship in the book. Soldiers and townspeople appear to be from various ethnicities and religions.
An Inheritance of Ashes is a 2015 Cybils finalist.
- Science Fiction
- Family Relationships
Source: Library copy.
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