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…
Ivy has never really fit in and for years has had strange visions of nightmarish places seem real. Her adopted family has supported her but now her parents are dead and her sister is missing! Ivy has left college to track her sister's whereabouts but her journey takes her to a bed and breakfast where she is attacked. She manages to escape but when she goes to her hotel room someone else tries to kill her. This time she's not left to fight alone because Adrian has been sent to save her.
Adrian is working for the good guys (angels or archons as they are called here) but his past is dark and he knows far more about the demons and their world then he tells Ivy. Together they will undergo a hunt for a weapon unlike any other, but all Ivy wants is to rescue her missing sister. Finally discovering that what she sees is real and not imaginary reassures Ivy that she's not going insane; but the truth that demons are real is not something Ivy is in any way prepared for. She will have to man up pretty quick though as she's now their biggest target and a wanted woman!
Adrian just drives her insane with his mysterious prevarications and half truths but Ivy is more than a match for him, but is she ready for hell? The last of her line and she's the only one who can locate the missing weapon but just what is it Adrian's hiding? Ivy may try to fight demons but can she fight destiny?
Hmm, I'm a little undecided about my feelings for The Beautiful Ashes. On the one hand there's great world building and the images of the cold realms of hell and its creatures straight out of nightmares are truly creepy. Then there's the hideous way those in hell survive, it just made me shudder to think about it! The idea of Ivy being descended from David and Adrian from another less salubrious biblical character works very well and I found that to be such a unique basis for the characters. So I should love it, but it's the two main characters that just let it down for me. I do get Adrian sees their relationship as almost forbidden and that certainly makes it intriguing to read but I personally prefer more sexual tension in a romance and was undecided just what age this book is aimed at. Is it meant for teenagers or those who are slightly older? The couple clearly has instant attraction but it felt more like lust than love so I'm hoping for a resolution of some sort as this series progresses.
I was gripped by it even though at times I found this story frustrating. I'm a little cheesed off by all the secrets and half truths that Adrian is responsible for. Ivy is at times very annoying but ultimately, she does make a stand and her tenacity is rewarded. That's where I felt a bit annoyed though as the end felt a little rushed and the sheer lack of information initially then becomes truly obvious. Ivy may have thought she was rescuing her sister but a whole new ball game has started and yes, it's Ivy's turn to bat! Throw in vile demons and angels who don't really seem that bothered who lives or dies and I'm left shouting!
The upside of the ending though is now Ivy knows exactly where she stands and the truth about Adrian is out, but I suspect Ms Frost intends her characters to suffer a lot more before she is through with them. Yes, I'm a little disappointed but then again I am a fan of Bones and Vlad so that probably explains it.
So in retrospect, if this is aimed at a much younger audience then a good beginning and I'm hoping for even more explanations as this series unfolds.