* * *
Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who's bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.
Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn't mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn't: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between…
The Beautiful Ashes has a very creepy, cinematic opening where Ivy is driving around in the rain, hitting up hotels in the area looking for her sister. She lands at a B&B and while it doesn’t launch into the Rocky Horror Picture Show, things do get weird immediately and before she knows it, Ivy is running for her life. It’s nice that the action practically pounces on you so that there’s no time to fully process what’s going on. Then Adrian enters the picture and it’s not immediately discernible if he’s the good guy or bad guy. He’s just hot and aloof and complicated. Do they come any other way?
Ivy learns that her sister has been taken prisoner by an unspeakable evil and that she can trust no one. The only way to save her is with Adrian’s help (wait, we still don’t know if he’s good or bad). That’s not the only things she learns – she’s also destined to destroy this evil that is waiting to unleash itself on the world.
Ivy has a very hard time absorbing this and it almost feels like she’s in denial because she spends most of her time drooling over Adrian instead. That part is a bit strange because her sister is in peril after all and she’s constantly wondering about Adrian’s lips. Really? To be fair it has something to do with their entwined destinies. Still, whenever she was wondering about Adrian or swooning over him, I was guilt-ridden about her sister.
The story is more exciting when it moves away from the whole Ivy/Adrian drama and focuses on the task at hand – travelling through realms, seeking out a way to destroy that pesky evil threat that’s hell bent on destroying them and the world and possibly may be, overturning their own destinies. There were a couple of creative scenes that had me laughing out loud involving Ivy in ingenious situations. They may have been embarrassing but they were a nice reprieve from their gruesome task.
The Beautiful Ashes as the first book in the series shows promise. It’s take on some of the greatest stories ever told lends it some allure. While some of Ivy's behaviour puzzled me in this one, I’m still interested to see how her story continues to develop and if she still believes, as she preaches to Adrian repeatedly, that everyone has a say in their own destiny.