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Kingdom of Ashes

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Myra never witnessed the Nightfall. She has only heard stories from the eldest among them; tales of the Old World and of the scientists who invented the WeatherWizard - a technological innovation that controls the weather. Unfortunately, the device also gave an ambitious vampire prince the means to cover the world in impenetrable clouds, allowing his armies to crawl out of Myra never witnessed the Nightfall. She has only heard stories from the eldest among them; tales of the Old World and of the scientists who invented the WeatherWizard - a technological innovation that controls the weather. Unfortunately, the device also gave an ambitious vampire prince the means to cover the world in impenetrable clouds, allowing his armies to crawl out of their caves and conquer all. Vampires rule over the New World, breeding humans for food. After fifty years of guerrilla warfare, the Resistance is fading, its supplies dwindling. They must rally and succeed—and soon—or all hope of restoring human civilization will be lost. When Myra goes on a desperate mission to help the Resistance, she ends up a captive in the vampires’ palace. With time running out, she must find a way to stop Prince Vladimir, and every wrong step leads to the death of innocents. Her battle abilities prove useless, but Myra discovers she has another skill that can give her an edge over her captors. Now, Myra must defeat the vampire leader at a power game he has been playing for almost two millennia.


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Myra never witnessed the Nightfall. She has only heard stories from the eldest among them; tales of the Old World and of the scientists who invented the WeatherWizard - a technological innovation that controls the weather. Unfortunately, the device also gave an ambitious vampire prince the means to cover the world in impenetrable clouds, allowing his armies to crawl out of Myra never witnessed the Nightfall. She has only heard stories from the eldest among them; tales of the Old World and of the scientists who invented the WeatherWizard - a technological innovation that controls the weather. Unfortunately, the device also gave an ambitious vampire prince the means to cover the world in impenetrable clouds, allowing his armies to crawl out of their caves and conquer all. Vampires rule over the New World, breeding humans for food. After fifty years of guerrilla warfare, the Resistance is fading, its supplies dwindling. They must rally and succeed—and soon—or all hope of restoring human civilization will be lost. When Myra goes on a desperate mission to help the Resistance, she ends up a captive in the vampires’ palace. With time running out, she must find a way to stop Prince Vladimir, and every wrong step leads to the death of innocents. Her battle abilities prove useless, but Myra discovers she has another skill that can give her an edge over her captors. Now, Myra must defeat the vampire leader at a power game he has been playing for almost two millennia.

30 review for Kingdom of Ashes

  1. 5 out of 5

    Katerina

    “She had become the author of her own fate.” And Elena May became the author of a remarkable debut! I hadn't read a book focusing solely on vampires for a very long time. I went through my vampire phase in high school, meaning I attended every single Twilight premiere and hung Edward posters on my bedroom walls and fought Damon Salvatore's fans online (Stefan girl here) and dressed up as a vamprire on Halloween etc. Later, I decided that I grew up and was too old for this drama. So, wh “She had become the author of her own fate.” And Elena May became the author of a remarkable debut! I hadn't read a book focusing solely on vampires for a very long time. I went through my vampire phase in high school, meaning I attended every single Twilight premiere and hung Edward posters on my bedroom walls and fought Damon Salvatore's fans online (Stefan girl here) and dressed up as a vamprire on Halloween etc. Later, I decided that I grew up and was too old for this drama. So, when Elena May asked me if I would be interested in reading an advanced copy of Kingdom of Ashes, it took me by surprise how eager I was to give it a try. And I am very glad I did. Let's start with the plot, shall we? “He didn't conquer the world. He destroyed it. He rules over an empty world of ashes and death.” The human world had progressed. The scientists created a device, the WeatherWizard, that could control the weather. But it turned out that this device was a fatal mistake, since a vampire named Vladimir organized what would later become the Nightfall; he hid the sun, and the vampires left their secret, dark hideouts and came to the surface, determined to make the world theirs by soaking it in blood. There were two types of humans they didn't kill; the most beautiful ones that were turned, and and the ones who were taken to the Farms, bred and raised in captivity as food supplies. But there was also a third group. The Resistance. The Resistance that suffered terrible losses and decided to launch an impossible mission, the assassination of Prince Vladimir. When Myra volunteered for the task, she thought they would decline. She thought she would die fighting of return a victor. But when she was captured, and kept alive for reasons she could not understand, she realized that the vampires were not the faceless enemies anymore, but beings with their own feelings, ambitions and desires. Surrounded by bloodsuckers that wanted to be her friends, torn between the need for revenge and the thirst for knowledge and culture, the urge to finish the mission and the unholy wish to stay in the Palace and enjoy what she was offered, Myra eventually became the author of her own story, and the impact of her decisions would alter the fate of the world. For better or for worse, it remains to be seen. “This is war. The right way is the way that works. Your pseudo-conscience will one day doom mankind.” I can't possibly deny that there were many clichés used in Kingdom of Ashes. A plain girl suddenly thrown into a court full of schemes and power games she doesnt' know how to play, an enemy with a tormented past and a depth she didn't expect to find, a world swallowed by darkness and fear in a dystopian environment, we've seen all these things before. But somehow, Elena May made them work. Mixing the post-apocalyptic with the medieval, describing with vivid (and sometimes morbid) details a blood culture that creeped you out but also fascinated you, she managed to capture your attention, to drive you insane with the desire to sink your teeth into this disturbingly delicious book that was not coloured in black and white, but in every shade of grey you can imagine. Yes the vampires are evil, and we witnessed their atrocities and cruelty many times. But they still can love, suffer and dream, they are the victims in their own story, the ones hunted like animals until they stood up and claimed the world for themselves. And precisely, this grey area, where you can understand the ways of the most dangerous creatures of the night, is Elena's greatest achievement in my opinion. “Why does everything I learn about vampires involve either blood-drinking or orgies?” “It is not either one or the other. The blood-drinking is a part of the orgies.” Myra's character was refreshing. She wasn't someone who played the hero or was certain that her decisions were the best, she was just a girl that loved reading and writing stories and found herself in a precarious situation, trying to survive. What made her special was her ability to create, not her fighting skills or her snarky remarks, even though there were plenty of them. I understood her inner battles, I could justify her confusion and her reluctance to kill Vladimir, I could relate to her, even though I recognise some of her choices were stupid. The vampires, they were all spellbiding in their own way. Vladimir was a riddle I could not solve, cunning and always one step ahead, enchanted by the human culture and fixed on preserving it, even though he was the one that drove it to the brink of extinction. I could never guess his thoughts and his motives, and despite his wickedness (or because of it), I was transfixed by him. Tristan was also an intriguing character I came to love, but I haven't made up my mind about Armida. If you are worried there might be a love triangle, I can assure you romance is not in the spotlight of this novel, it is barely there, but I can see the connection forming between Vladimir and Myra and I am curious about the possible consequences! Kingdom of Ashes was a pleasant surprise, and I highly recommend it to paranormal lovers who are looking for a promising new author! *ARC generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review* Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | BookNest

  2. 5 out of 5

    ✶Rachelle✶

    DNF at 52% I will make him say he is proud of me, Myra thought. And then, only then, can I start thinking about killing him That sentence was the last straw. I can't take it anymore. The MC is one of the dumbest I have ever read, and I read the first 3 books of Falling Kingdoms. The dialogue was horrific. It was stilted, overly dramatic, and it had no natural flow. All of the humans in this book were just stupid. I'm not sure if this was on purpose or not. The only enjoyment I got out of the book DNF at 52% I will make him say he is proud of me, Myra thought. And then, only then, can I start thinking about killing him That sentence was the last straw. I can't take it anymore. The MC is one of the dumbest I have ever read, and I read the first 3 books of Falling Kingdoms. The dialogue was horrific. It was stilted, overly dramatic, and it had no natural flow. All of the humans in this book were just stupid. I'm not sure if this was on purpose or not. The only enjoyment I got out of the book was the banter between Vlad, Tristan, and Armida...the 3 vampire MCs. Apparently they are the only characters who are capable of intelligent speech and thought. Vlad in particular I really liked...he loved to call out Myra's idiocy and I was rooting for his snark and sarcasm every step of the way. Myra was childish, immature, and way too naive for this world....it doesn't even make sense to the story. You would think that growing up a fugitive would harden a person, but no. Myra's main goal in life was to frolic in the meadows and dance in the rain. Barf. It's not often I cheer for an MC to be killed, but ughhh can we kill off Myra already and have this book just be Vlad and Co? I would read that. Oh and this WeatherWizard thing? Totally extra and not even relevant to the story. It was just thrown in there for....reasons...that I should know by the 52% mark. But I don't. The most intriguing part of the whole story gets basically 0 page time. This book was 99 cents. I will be asking for a refund. ------- A beauty and the beast retelling with vampires? Yeah sure why not

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeannette Nikolova

    Also available on the WondrousBooks blog. Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I have been very, very cautious with vampire books in the last couple of years. In fact, I don't remember the last vampire novel that I read, aside from re-reading The Historian and Dracula two years ago. However, I read the synopsis of Kingdom of Ashes, and the many positive reviews, and I decided to give it a shot. And I'm glad I did! This book reminded me why I Also available on the WondrousBooks blog. Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I have been very, very cautious with vampire books in the last couple of years. In fact, I don't remember the last vampire novel that I read, aside from re-reading The Historian and Dracula two years ago. However, I read the synopsis of Kingdom of Ashes, and the many positive reviews, and I decided to give it a shot. And I'm glad I did! This book reminded me why I love YA so much. It was very engaging and it kept me flipping the pages to a point where I skipped lunch with my colleagues in order to read on a bench. The thing, which, for me, was very original and exciting, was the fact that every step of the way and every part of the narrative was cleverly thought-through. The author took all famous (and silly) vampire cliches and tropes and she turned them into an outspoken joke between the characters. Elena May managed to make everything that could have destroyed the book its exact opposite. For example at one point Myra tried to pull a Scheherazade on the prince and I was sitting there, worried whether this is going to be a real thing, because it was so obvious. And then the prince himself recognized and ridiculed it. In terms of plot, there was one thing that was a bit of a cliched narrative and that was the fact that (while the book is obviously not doing the Scheherazade) it did go along the lines of Beauty and the Beast. Watching the movie right after finishing the book just made me realize it more clearly. However, I'm not sure that at a time such as ours where we are so over-saturated with pop culture, it's possible to create anything that doesn't borrow from absolutely anywhere. Character-wise, I liked the fact that there was a game of black/white and shades of gray. Myra was on the same boat as me when I was trying to make up my mind about whether the vampires are all evil or all good, or those are concepts that don't even apply to the situation. For example, many of the points the prince made on humankind were just as challenging as what can be said about vampires in terms of the book. In a world where vampires and humans co-exist and vampires have overtaken the world and wiped out a big part of the population, I think it's still fair to say that that's nothing humans haven't done to other species or even to themselves. The only reason why people generally sympathize with people, and not, say, vampires or werewolves, is simply because we are people. But humans can be just as evil in a completely different way. For example, just yesterday a colony of griffon vultures in Bulgaria was completely destroyed by hunters who poisoned all of the birds. If that's not monstrous, I don't know what is. Having said all of this, while I did sympathize with Myra at certain times, I didn't necessarily think she was a nice person. Contrary to what I read in the reviews of people who thought she was selfish and self-absorbed, I think that was one of her most likable traits in terms of writing. She was a very realistic person, unlike the perfect/all-I-do-is-effing-magic heroines of other YA books. I wouldn't like Myra as a friend, but I can read about her and think "Well... that's true." And her selfishness is something that can be attributed to most humans. The fact that she is so focused on her book and improving as a writer is to be expected from any person with any artistic capabilities. Then again, she was sometimes obnoxious and she did make stupid decisions, so I'm on the verge with her. But I am also known among my friends as someone who is specifically very demanding of female characters... As is probably to be expected, I really liked Vlad, because I would say that I both appreciated his attitude, and got where he was coming from. He followed his set of rules and had a reason to act the way he did: I'm a vampire, my nature requires me to drink blood, so I drink blood. I like art, humans make art, I like humans. The end. I am really excited for the next book in the series, I really hope it comes sooner, rather than later. * I'm so happy vampires were just vampires, and not vampyrs, vampyres, etc. and magic was just magic instead of magik or magick.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Minx

    Utterly alluring and remarkable! This story was set in a dystopian future where humanity is at the brink of annihilation. When I started this book I was struck by how Ms. May created a terrifying reality for humans who survived a harrowing extermination attempt. I so enjoyed the attention to detail that explained the positions of both the side of the vampires and the humans in this conflict. I was drawn to feel compassion for both species in this war and it can be compared to many past events th Utterly alluring and remarkable! This story was set in a dystopian future where humanity is at the brink of annihilation. When I started this book I was struck by how Ms. May created a terrifying reality for humans who survived a harrowing extermination attempt. I so enjoyed the attention to detail that explained the positions of both the side of the vampires and the humans in this conflict. I was drawn to feel compassion for both species in this war and it can be compared to many past events that have occurred in our own histories. Myra is a great character. She is naïve and overly confident and that leads her into absolute disaster. I enjoy her naiveté because given her role in the world she is living in I think she is spot on. She would be idealistic and hopeful having not truly experienced her reality beyond the caves but when she is faced with reality she develops into a ninja of subterfuge and I love it! Throughout everything she strives to maintain her humanity and keep her number one goal in mind. The relationship between Prince Vladimir and Myra reminded me strongly of the relationship between Scheherazade and Shahryar from One Thousand and One Nights or as often known in English as the Arabian Nights. The parallel that I see is that Vlad spared the life of Myra because she captured his interest through a skill she exhibited and it is this skill set that he has become invested in and in turn keeps her alive. If you are unfamiliar with that story there is also a similarity with Wesley from The Princess Bride and the Dread Pirate Roberts. Who doesn’t love that book?? Very interesting that Vlad has such a focus on Myra. I spent much time trying to figure out what it was that he wanted from her. What was he preparing her for? Was it as simple as what they were suggesting? I loved that I did not know for sure! It was also a bit frustrating and confusing because it was so outside the norm for this genre but it was clearly what kept me fascinated! I found it appealing that there was so much focus on her unique skill set. I enjoyed that the focus was not fleeting and that there was much discussion and building around the subject. I am sorry to be speaking in such vague terms but it is a large part of the overall story development and I cringe to give it away. This was an amazing debut novel and I encourage you all to give this first installment in the Nightfall series a try. It is sure to delight you! *Thank you to Author Elena May for this eARC of Kingdom of Ashes* This review is based on an eARC I received from Author Elena May. It is an honest and voluntary review and the advanced receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating. Find this review and more at The Genre Minx Book Reviews

  5. 4 out of 5

    Wolf (Alpha)

    I liked that Myra was confident and strong and did not give up. I liked how it explained Myra's part in defeating Vlad. I liked that the book explained how Myra was confident and I liked how it explained the positions all the characters were in. I really enjoyed this book and plan on reading the Nightfall series. I reaceived this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. I liked that Myra was confident and strong and did not give up. I liked how it explained Myra's part in defeating Vlad. I liked that the book explained how Myra was confident and I liked how it explained the positions all the characters were in. I really enjoyed this book and plan on reading the Nightfall series. I reaceived this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty (Amethyst Bookwyrm)

    Thanks to Elena May for giving me this book to review. Kingdom of Ashes is a really good paranormal dystopian novel which is fast paced and raised good questions about morality and what it is to be human. I love the mix of post-apocalyptic with the gothic paranormal the book has. I also liked that where was not any romance between Myra and any of the vampires in this book as it was refreshing and would have been detrimental to the story. Myra is naïve and creative but she is also very self-centre Thanks to Elena May for giving me this book to review. Kingdom of Ashes is a really good paranormal dystopian novel which is fast paced and raised good questions about morality and what it is to be human. I love the mix of post-apocalyptic with the gothic paranormal the book has. I also liked that where was not any romance between Myra and any of the vampires in this book as it was refreshing and would have been detrimental to the story. Myra is naïve and creative but she is also very self-centred which did not make her the most likable main character. Vladimir is cunning and ruthless and I feel we have only just scratched the depths of who he is and what he wants. Tristan is very loyal and big headed, and Armida hides her lack of self-worth with a mask of confidence. I really enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to reading Men and Monsters. I would recommend Kingdom of Ashes to fans of Fireblood by Trisha Wolfe and The River Witch by Helena Rookwood This and my other reviews can be found at Amethyst Bookwyrm

  7. 5 out of 5

    Humay Mejidova

    I want to thank Elena May for sending me a free copy of Kingdom of Ashes. To be honest I had some prejudices against YA novels and I expected it to have a dull and common storyline but after reading Kingdom of Ashes my opinion changed in a good way. I think Myra shows us you do not need to be physically strong to be called a heroine. In fact Myra's writing skills are her only weapon. The parts I enjoyed most were witty conversations between Myra and Prince Vladimir. I hope the second book of Nig I want to thank Elena May for sending me a free copy of Kingdom of Ashes. To be honest I had some prejudices against YA novels and I expected it to have a dull and common storyline but after reading Kingdom of Ashes my opinion changed in a good way. I think Myra shows us you do not need to be physically strong to be called a heroine. In fact Myra's writing skills are her only weapon. The parts I enjoyed most were witty conversations between Myra and Prince Vladimir. I hope the second book of Nightfall series will be as good as Kingdom of Ashes.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Fleur

    First, I’d like to say thank you to the author, Elena May, for sending me a copy of her amazing new book. And chocolate. Chocolate and books are always appreciated. Kingdom of Ashes focuses on Myra, a girl who starts off with the same headstrong determination, black-and-white views and passion for writing as Briony Tallis in Ian McEwan’s Atonement. Myra is a member of the Resistance, a dwindling pocket of humans trying to overthrow the world-ruling vampire, Prince Vladimir. She’s sent on a missio First, I’d like to say thank you to the author, Elena May, for sending me a copy of her amazing new book. And chocolate. Chocolate and books are always appreciated. Kingdom of Ashes focuses on Myra, a girl who starts off with the same headstrong determination, black-and-white views and passion for writing as Briony Tallis in Ian McEwan’s Atonement. Myra is a member of the Resistance, a dwindling pocket of humans trying to overthrow the world-ruling vampire, Prince Vladimir. She’s sent on a mission to kill the Prince to wreak havoc among the vampires and so gain control. But Myra becomes a captive of Prince Vladimir, a vampire who is as complexly layered as an onion (or was that ogres…?), and who, in a surprisingly Sherlockian manner, desires to find an equal in the form of a worthy opponent. Myra realises that she can give the vampires the one thing they don’t have: human creativity. At this point, you’re probably thinking “Oh no, not another book about vampires. When will this plague end? When will the world be rid of this clichéd creature?” But don’t fear. Kingdom of Ashes is an original and worthy addition to the genre. For one, the story is unique as there is no romance between the main character and any of the vampires. Even without romance, this book does not feel lacking. I only wish there were more authors out there who realise YA doesn’t need to be synonymous with romance. May also articulated the human need to create, more clearly than any other book I have read. Through Myra and Tristan creativity can be seen as it truly is – not a want, but a need. May has captured this theme in such a frank way. I find this easily relatable. So much so that I felt the need to attempt some music inspired by May’s book: https://soundcloud.com/user765062257/... However, if I were Prince Vladimir, critiquing this book and making suggestions, I would suggest this: add more cliff-hangers. I understand that Kingdom of Ashes is more character-driven than plot-driven, but when you’ve got the Prince throwing his weight around by threatening Myra, you’ve got an opportunity to make the reader, well, read. As it is, the chapters in Kingdom of Ashes feel rather self-contained, similar to (though not the same as) Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad; you can read any chapter at random and it would feel like a satisfying short story. If you were to move some of the text to the following chapter you could create tension. For example, when Prince Vladimir is about to kill the human boy to teach Myra a lesson - end the chapter there. Let us find out in the chapter after that whether he lives or dies. Overall, I found this to be an interesting read. I’m hoping book two, Men and Monsters (not to be confused with Patrick Ness’ Monsters of Men), will fill in some of the blanks in characters’ backgrounds; see Armida transform from a quiet, somewhat submissive character to a powerful princess; and further the relationships of some of the characters.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Mathis

    Myra never witnessed the Nightfall. She has only heard stories from the eldest among them; tales of the Old World and of the scientists who invented the WeatherWizard—a technological innovation that controls the weather. Unfortunately, the device also gave an ambitious vampire prince the means to cover the world in impenetrable clouds, allowing his armies to crawl out of their caves and conquer all. Vampires rule over the New World, breeding humans for food. After fifty years of guerrilla warfare Myra never witnessed the Nightfall. She has only heard stories from the eldest among them; tales of the Old World and of the scientists who invented the WeatherWizard—a technological innovation that controls the weather. Unfortunately, the device also gave an ambitious vampire prince the means to cover the world in impenetrable clouds, allowing his armies to crawl out of their caves and conquer all. Vampires rule over the New World, breeding humans for food. After fifty years of guerrilla warfare, the Resistance is fading, its supplies dwindling. They must rally and succeed—and soon—or all hope of restoring human civilization will be lost. When Myra goes on a desperate mission to help the Resistance, she ends up a captive in the vampires’ palace. With time running out, she must find a way to stop Prince Vladimir, and every wrong step leads to the death of innocents. Her battle abilities prove useless, but Myra discovers she has another skill that can give her an edge over her captors. Now, Myra must defeat the vampire leader at a power game he has been playing for almost two millennia. Rating: 4/5 Penguins Quick Reasons: vampires! I rather love vampire stories; this is also dystopian, which works for me; Myra is a bit naive and a lot annoying at times, but I loved her mostly; the characters are complex and well-written; the relationships are believable and realistic; the world-building is great; overall, an entertaining read Huge thanks to Elena May for sending me a copy of this title free in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book. "So these are our enemies," she whispered as Alerie returned and crouched next to her. "Yeah, a motley band of peacocks," Alerie said. "Unfortunately, they fight better than they dress." This book is LONG, penguins--but such a quick and entertaining read! I found myself, through many parts of the journey, wondering if perhaps there were many more fairy tales Elena May drew inspiration from then she lets on. The biggest one, I believe, is Beauty and the Beast--I am almost positive that several of the plot points woven throughout this story support this theory. I won't bore you with the details, though--I'll let you find them on your own. Just trust me: there are TONS of references and inspiration laced throughout this journey. I doubt even I found them all, honestly--mostly because I wasn't actively seeking them out until much later in the read. Elena May crafted a believable, action-packed dystopian world. While there were moments I found myself struggling to suspend my disbelief, these were all in regards to one character specifically and not due to the plot or world-building. In fact, I adore the world-building of this book--I feel we've only just begun to skim the surface of this future, but already know SO MUCH about it. I really like that we are taken in a much different direction than I expected when setting out on this read. I LOVE that technology, in the end, is what caused the downfall of humanity...though not in the way I'd have ever thought. It was so seamlessly done, and brilliant--I am bowing down at Elena May's feet. The Prince smirked. "My dear girl. All humans are the same--they can rarely create a compelling story without something bad happening, and so they always pick disasters to build their tales on." I was a bit disappointed in Myra, honestly, though I rather adore her character arc. While she starts this book out very naive and rather silly...she comes a long, long way. I definitely empathized with her throughout, and found myself wanting to shake her many times. I think a large part of this has to do with my...uhm...soft spot for anti-villains, though, and not to do with her as a character per se. I was intrigued that there was very little romance in this book when it came to Myra. In fact, not once does it say--anywhere!--anything about her being even remotely interested in another human or vampire, aside from in an inspirational way. She observes, she watches and judges and changes...but never once does she seem interested in romance. There IS a couple in this read, but even then, the focus is not really upon the relationship. I am not sure if this was done on purpose, but I'm not complaining either--I love that Myra does, in the end, find a way to stand on her own two feet...and do it alone. The addition of a romance, in this story, would have detracted from the plot and character growth, I feel--I am glad there wasn't one. "Besides," he added, "you are the only person to call me Vlad. As I have told you before, this is not even the proper way to shorten my name." "Fair enough," she said. "What is the proper short form, then?" "'Your Highness' works." In the end, this was an entertaining and surprising read! I cannot wait to see where book two leads us--I imagine there's still so much left to tell, so many adventures to leap into. Also, obviously, I cannot wait to see how Myra's current plan works out. I recommend this to lovers of dystopian fantasies, vampire lore with a twist, and unique world-building. Elena May took me on a wild ride with this book; I can't wait to see what she does next!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Starless One

    After "Twilight", I had given up on vampire fiction. I was sick of the old “teenaged girl falls in love with sexy dark lord who abuses her, but it’s okay because he loves her” paranormal romance trope. And, boy, was I glad to find out that this book is different. Well, Myra is still a teenager and self-proclaimed "Prince" Vladimir is still pretty attractive for a mass murderer. There’s also some “Beauty and the Beast” in here, with Myra being held in a castle by her enemies and slowly growing to After "Twilight", I had given up on vampire fiction. I was sick of the old “teenaged girl falls in love with sexy dark lord who abuses her, but it’s okay because he loves her” paranormal romance trope. And, boy, was I glad to find out that this book is different. Well, Myra is still a teenager and self-proclaimed "Prince" Vladimir is still pretty attractive for a mass murderer. There’s also some “Beauty and the Beast” in here, with Myra being held in a castle by her enemies and slowly growing to like them, but “Kingdom of Ashes” is not, I repeat, NOT a romance. And thank heavens for that! What I liked about this book: 1) It’s essentially meta-fiction, taking on all the old fantasy and paranormal romance tropes and lampshading, if not subverting them. Myra’s story about her fictional heroine “Maryabella” is reminiscent of all the Mary Sue-ish self-inserts one can find on fanfiction sites. Vladimir calls her out on this and gives her advice on how to become a better writer. Of course, having a vampire use word such as “genre savvy” is a bit much, but it’s enjoyable to read about a fictional character (who is himself somewhat similar to a literary cliché)expressing his exasperation at a teenage girl's romantic fantasies. Myra also makes fun about the classical “Resistance fighting Evil Empire” trope, pointing out that using words such as “headquarters” and “Resistance” is a bit much for a guerilla troop who barely survives by eating rats. Also, vampire clichés get viciously mocked by all characters. These vampires don’t sparkle in the sun. They just burn to ashes. 2) There’s no love story. At least not in this first part and I hope it’ll stay that way. In a typical paranormal romance, Myra would probably have to decide between her human friend and leader of the “Resistance”, Zack, and her darker but also hotter vampire love interest who would probably be either Tristan or Vladimir himself. But, no, Vlad already has a girlfriend and Tristan seems too much in love with himself to develop feelings for anyone who isn’t his platonic life partner Vlad. It’s beautiful and proves that a fantasy plot doesn’t need a cheesy romance. 3) It’s well researched. For once, most characters have culturally appropriate names and if not, this is explained soon enough. The author also uses history as a plot-driving elent. Although some events in the past of the characters are only hinted at, you can unravel the mystery yourself by doing a bit of research. I won’t give you any spoilers, but it took me only a couple of minutes to find out who Vlad’s people actually were and how his family died – this being directly linked to why he dislikes the Cyrillic alphabet so much. (Yes, this is mentioned at one point.) Emily May uses her knowledge of history to embellish her futuristic, post-apocalyptic setting without info-dumping the reader. It’s clever and perhaps surprised me more than anything else. Also, kudos to the author for including a performance of “Tosca” in her book – some foreshadowing, perhaps? What could have been improved perhaps: 1) I know this is YA but the prose seemed a bit simplistic at times. There were beautiful parts, too, but not enough for my taste. I don’t simply read for the plot, but for the beauty of language itself and sometimes the writing felt a bit like the bad fanfictions it tries to parody. 2) Some minor plot inconsistencies. Why does it take the Resistance so long to invent rat farms? Are you honestly telling me that three generations went by without anyone thinking about breeding animals for food? Why do the vampires dress in 700-years-old clothes? I know clothing is scarce, but the Victorian period has been over for almost sevenhundred years, their clothes would be almost antique at this point. And why is everyone speaking and understanding English? The story may be set in Scotland but since none of the main vampire characters speaks English as a native tongue, it seems surprising that they chose it as their main form of communication. Maybe I’m just disappointed. I was awaiting the glorious return of Church Slavonic as a lingua franca. While this book might not be perfect, it’s an entertaining, enjoyable read and I am looking forward to the second part. By now, I have grown fond of the characters and am interested in how their journeys will develop. And I hope that the author will elaborate more on what appears to be the actual theme of her novel: What makes humanity human? Do we need art and literature to survive, even in the face of the apocalypse? Does the end justify the means, like murdering someone to keep hundreds of other people from dying? Can the world really be divided into “good” and “bad”? And if yes, what side are humans actually on? These are some pretty deep topics for a YA vampire novel and I can’t wait to find out how the conflicts are resolved in the following parts.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Magda Żmijan

    In a world, where vampires took over a weather-controlling device, people were reduced to small groups of resistance that hide and try fighting for their survival. They're becoming desperate. Hiding in caves, away from the sun is slowly killing them. The only way to win is to kill the vampire prince and try to take over the Weather Wizard. Myra's mission is simple - ambush and kill the vampire leader. She volunteers for the task to prove she can be useful and strong. Their plan seemed to be good, In a world, where vampires took over a weather-controlling device, people were reduced to small groups of resistance that hide and try fighting for their survival. They're becoming desperate. Hiding in caves, away from the sun is slowly killing them. The only way to win is to kill the vampire prince and try to take over the Weather Wizard. Myra's mission is simple - ambush and kill the vampire leader. She volunteers for the task to prove she can be useful and strong. Their plan seemed to be good, but it would be way too easy if it all worked out, would it? Now Myra is prince's prisoner. Why wasn't she killed or tortured for information about the resistance? The answer's simple - she's a writer. Grant it, she's got a lot to learn to become a good one, but there's one thing you loose while becoming a vampire - an ability to create. It was hard to believe this was Elena May's first published novel. Her style was very appealing, I couldn't put the book down. I loved the moments when Vlad thought Myra how to enhance her writing skills, I loved the twisted Sheherezad reference :). I didn't mind the weird bloody scenes [after all, these are vampires we're talking about]. The twists, Vlad's plotting, and planning, all the support characters - I liked it all. This was a very surprising read for me. First of all, it's a vampire novel, where a young heroine is the main character and there's no falling-in-love with the prince of evil [except maybe on my side, but it's still a love-hate relationship]. You have no idea how refreshing it was! No love at first sight, no triangles, forbidden love, etc, etc. I probably sound like a romance-hater, but don't get me wrong, I like a bit of love in the air, but after reading so many YA books it's fantastic to find one without it. So, yes - a girl that hated vampires haven't fallen for the first one who trapped her and remained herself. All the time Myra was planning to kill him, just as she intended from the beginning. It was great to read how she's growing, learning, discovering the world that was inaccessible to her earlier. She's still a dreamer, but at the same time, she keeps track on what's happening around her and how can she change, or at least help to change, the current situation. And prince Vladimir is simply fantastic! A complicated, highly intelligent character. He plans, plots, deceives, but he also has hope and curiosity inside him. Yes, he's scary and dangerous, he does some horrible things to get what he wants, but somehow I can't hate him. He's one of those too-awesome-to-be-hated types :P. A fantastic creation! I'd love to read his story, maybe from earlier days? Story moves at a steady pace, always interesting, always keeps you wanting more. It concentrates on character's interaction, Myra's development as a writer and the ideas how to help people, how to save them. It's just a first part and I love how it ended - not exactly with a cliffhanger, but in a way you simply need to read more. Should you read this book? YES! And fast, because it's worth it. I'd recommend it to all young-adult, fantasy lovers especially if you need a rest from all the romance. I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. find my reviews at https://maginibooks.wordpress.com

  12. 4 out of 5

    Parnita Tolia

    I received eARC of "Kingdom of Ashes" by Elena May At first I thought this going to be a predictable paranormal dystopian work with a love triangle thrown in . Its not. It is so much more.. Its situated in a post apocalyptic world "Nightfall" where the vampires underneath the Prince Vladmir have overtaken the Weather Wizard, A technology which manipulate the weather (why am not surprised that humans developed something that caused them doom) Our Protagonist is Myra born in the world of darkness & dre I received eARC of "Kingdom of Ashes" by Elena May At first I thought this going to be a predictable paranormal dystopian work with a love triangle thrown in . Its not. It is so much more.. Its situated in a post apocalyptic world "Nightfall" where the vampires underneath the Prince Vladmir have overtaken the Weather Wizard, A technology which manipulate the weather (why am not surprised that humans developed something that caused them doom) Our Protagonist is Myra born in the world of darkness & dreaming of light, Shes aspires to be writer where everyone else is a soldier. She takes a on desperate suicide mission which might save the "Resistance" but she also had her own selfish reasons for going outside. "She wished to be the hero, to fight, to defeat evil with the heart-wrenching music of the violins playing in the background. But she was no hero." Of course the mission bombed & she was captured. There she gets to meet with the Prince & he is mass murderer,manipulative, monster but he lets her live as he discovers that Myra can write & no matter how monstrous,Prince does appreciate art & culture.. Now the Prince is an egnima- “I saw the Vikings sow fear throughout Europe and joined their nightly raids. I fought with Saladin against the Crusaders, and I joined Tamerlane’s forces as he invaded the lands around the Caspian Sea. I traveled west with the Spanish Conquistadors and saw the Inca civilization before it crumbled to dust. I fought with Sundiata when he defeated Ghana and founded the Mali Empire. I witnessed the rise and fall of the Mughal Empire and the collapse of the Ming dynasty.” This. shivers I so want a novella focused on him...! Right now My fav is Tristan, a very trusted companion of the Prince.. They share a "Profound Bond" In short I ship them XD even though the Prince has a lover Armida & she seems like trouble.. I loved how Myra character develops acroos the book as she interacts with Prince, the good & bad.. She is so human, so flawed, Selfish but shes trying hard to be a stick to the righteous side. She hates him in the beginning so much.. then character development! "I will make him say he is proud of me, Myra thought. And then, only then can I start thinking about killing him . But if she stopped caring, was she not becoming as bad as a vampire? Was she forgetting what it meant to be human? She pressed her lips together and reached out to her notebook and pen. So be it. If a good-hearted human could not win this war, she would become whatever was required Perhaps he deserved to die..----But this was not about justice and judgment, was it? It was about what she wanted. And she did not want him to die. Being Human is so difficult.. . The ending of the book leaves you craving for more. It ends at very crucial stage,abruptly leaving the reader with a feeling god what happens next!!!!!!! All in all 4.5/5⭐

  13. 5 out of 5

    William Bitner Jr.

    Genre - Dystopian/Fantasy/Vampire/Young Adult Pages - 400 Having just finished reading “Kingdom of Ashes (Nightfall, Book One)” by Elena May I continue to have faith in Young Adult Fiction and found this read to be quite entertaining. I want to thank Elena for providing me with an eCopy of this her debut book. I will say from the get go that if you are looking for a full stop ending to this story you will most likely be disappointed. You will have to continue the story in Book Two “Men and Monster Genre - Dystopian/Fantasy/Vampire/Young Adult Pages - 400 Having just finished reading “Kingdom of Ashes (Nightfall, Book One)” by Elena May I continue to have faith in Young Adult Fiction and found this read to be quite entertaining. I want to thank Elena for providing me with an eCopy of this her debut book. I will say from the get go that if you are looking for a full stop ending to this story you will most likely be disappointed. You will have to continue the story in Book Two “Men and Monsters”, which I have yet to read. But, if it’s anywhere near as well written as this book, I look forward to the adventure. This was one of those multi genre books that for me came together beautifully. An interesting and unique spin on the vampire story with creative characters and an imaginative job at dystopian world building. The pace of the story was smooth and flowed nicely from one chapter to the next. All in all it was a great escape and a very enjoyable read. I look forward to reading more of Elena’s work in the future. Synopsis (from back cover): Myra never witnessed the Nightfall. She has only heard stories from the eldest among them; tales of the Old World and of the scientists who invented the WeatherWizard—a technological innovation that controls the weather. Unfortunately, the device also gave an ambitious vampire prince the means to cover the world in impenetrable clouds, allowing his armies to crawl out of their caves and conquer all. Vampires rule over the New World, breeding humans for food. After fifty years of guerrilla warfare, the Resistance is fading, its supplies dwindling. They must rally and succeed—and soon—or all hope of restoring human civilization will be lost. When Myra goes on a desperate mission to help the Resistance, she ends up a captive in the vampires’ palace. With time running out, she must find a way to stop Prince Vladimir, and every wrong step leads to the death of innocents. Her battle abilities prove useless, but Myra discovers she has another skill that can give her an edge over her captors. Now, Myra must defeat the vampire leader at a power game he has been playing for almost two millennia

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

    I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. The novel, Kingdom of Ashes by Elena May, while not having an original title (I know of at least two others with the same name and have read one of them), is probably the most original book on vampires I have ever read. Sticking to the foundation of the original vampires in literature, Elena May builds a new layer on top of this already famous monster. What is this new layer? You’ll have to read to find out! The story beg I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. The novel, Kingdom of Ashes by Elena May, while not having an original title (I know of at least two others with the same name and have read one of them), is probably the most original book on vampires I have ever read. Sticking to the foundation of the original vampires in literature, Elena May builds a new layer on top of this already famous monster. What is this new layer? You’ll have to read to find out! The story begins in the future where thanks to the WeatherWizard, Earth is now covered with clouds and vampires rule the world. Myra lives with the Resistance, but when a botched mission goes awry, she finds herself captive at the vampires’ palace. There she meets Prince Vladimir, the ruler of all vampires and the one who conquered all humans during the Nightfall. Interactions take place, Myra learns Prince Vladimir needs her for something and while trying to survive living among the vampires, Myra plots her escape. Like I said in the beginning, this is probably the most original book on vampires I have ever read, and I read quite a lot. Thanks to its originality, I never knew what was going to happen next and the characters kept surprising me. I enjoyed the secrecy at play during the novel. The author doesn’t reveal Prince Vladimir’s ultimate motives and keeps you guessing the whole novel and then begging her to write faster so that we might find it out in the next one. One favorite part of mine is that we are able to watch Myra grow during the novel. She starts out weak and cowardly but becomes more deceptive and strong towards the end. I didn’t like the fact that the prince’s name in the book was Vladimir. I mean I know the author has Vladimir explain his name in the book but come on; you were doing so well with the whole “original story” concept and you basically ruined it by using a stereotypical vampire name. I would have accepted any old name like Joe or Peter. And also, while on the topic of Vladimir, the author in the beginning describes him to be insane like, yet that characteristic is dropped almost instantly and Vlad the insane is replaced with Vlad the easily relatable vampire. This change kind of ruined him for me because I was hoping for more unexpected and crazy things to happen in regards to the prince. There were also some parts of the story that were slow and consequently boring. I felt like I was on a rollercoaster, with slow parts followed by fast parts. Overall, I greatly enjoyed this story and I am so grateful I was able to receive a free copy of it in return for an honest review. Hopefully the author will let us know soon when the sequel comes out because I will gladly review it to.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Xochitl

    I didn't expect this book to be so good!!!!! I just really loved it!!! I really liked how the tables are turned. The vampires are the one ruling the world and the humans are the ones in hiding. Would really want to read the next book!!!! I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!!!!!! I didn't expect this book to be so good!!!!! I just really loved it!!! I really liked how the tables are turned. The vampires are the one ruling the world and the humans are the ones in hiding. Would really want to read the next book!!!! I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!!!!!!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cinder

    Kingdom of Ashes has an unique premise, as it is not as common to have a book about vampires that focuses on art and what makes humans "human." The book was pretty long and was at some points predictable, but the story flowed and was engaging. It was also surprisingly nice to have a book without a love interest, and the only romance was between side characters. Myra was a relatable character, as she tried to conform to the rest of the Resistance (by being brave and volunteering to go on the miss Kingdom of Ashes has an unique premise, as it is not as common to have a book about vampires that focuses on art and what makes humans "human." The book was pretty long and was at some points predictable, but the story flowed and was engaging. It was also surprisingly nice to have a book without a love interest, and the only romance was between side characters. Myra was a relatable character, as she tried to conform to the rest of the Resistance (by being brave and volunteering to go on the mission) but at the same time, she stayed true to herself by never losing sight of the things that mattered to her. Myra was quick and witty, and was capable of handling her surroundings and situation. Myra was also brave in a quieter, more subtle way than the typical YA heroine, which was refreshing and realistic. Vlad, Tristan and Armida were all very intriguing, and their backstories and motives propelled the story forward. Vlad was threatening and kind, and his actions prompted changes in Myra. Although some of the actions Myra did were "why would you do that?" moments, I understand her reasoning behind her actions. Overall, Ms. May wrote a great debut novel, and I am looking forward to reading more about Myra, Vlad, and the Resistance in Men and Monsters. *I received an ebook copy of this book from the author, but this in no way affected my opinion or review. Thank you Ms. May for giving me a copy!*

  17. 4 out of 5

    Coral

    What I really liked about this book was that there was no "good" or "evil", and everyone was somewhere in between. You don't often get that in this kind of book. The reason why I haven't given it 5 stars, though, is that I felt there was sometimes something a bit awkward in the writing, but it is still definitely worth reading. What I really liked about this book was that there was no "good" or "evil", and everyone was somewhere in between. You don't often get that in this kind of book. The reason why I haven't given it 5 stars, though, is that I felt there was sometimes something a bit awkward in the writing, but it is still definitely worth reading.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marissa

    Awesome read! I loved the story. The main character was relatable and interesting and her inner struggles about the morality of her actions with the vampires was amazing to read. This book is definitely in my top 10.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    It’s been a while since I last read a young adult fantasy book. You might have noticed the lack of that genre in this blog. The reason being is, aside from I want to make this blog as diverse as possible, meaning I want to read different books of different genres, I am more of a contemporary type of YA reader. The last young adult fantasy book that I can remember reading was Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas which was like ages ago. But from time to time though, when my mood switches, I crave for It’s been a while since I last read a young adult fantasy book. You might have noticed the lack of that genre in this blog. The reason being is, aside from I want to make this blog as diverse as possible, meaning I want to read different books of different genres, I am more of a contemporary type of YA reader. The last young adult fantasy book that I can remember reading was Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas which was like ages ago. But from time to time though, when my mood switches, I crave for young adult fantasy books and be lost in an imaginative dystopian settings. And if you ask me about this book? It gave me that Throne of Glass feel with its strong bad*ss character and crazy but definitely immersing world. I receive this book from the author last year and I am quite guilty that I was only reviewing it now. I have been meaning to read it after I received it but I don’t know, there’s always like a force that makes me put it down. I believe it might be because the book is really a chunker. If you don’t know me, I don’t usually go well with chunky books as I easily get intimidated. I added this book to my TBR for this year as I really want to get to it already and I know that there will come a day that I will crave for a fantasy book and this is definitely on top of my list. And that day finally arrived, so I immediately plunged into this book with my eyes shut but full of optimism that I will finish it and not get bored. Did I get bored? NO. Did I want more after finishing it? OH YES. The book describes the world where it was overtaken by vampires. Man created a device that eventually was used against them, the Weather Wizard. The device controls the weather and Prince Vladimir, the leader of the vampires, seeing their chance to overpower the humankind, devised a plan which they called the Nightfall to attack every place in the world. Eventually able to control the Weather Wizard, they controlled the clouds and hid the sun. The captured humans were either turned to vampires or captured to be taken to Farms to bred to provide their food supplies. The main character of the book, Myra, belongs to the Resistance which is a group of people who were able to escape and hide from the vampires. They live in hideouts untraceable to vampires. The vampires and the Resistance members story became a cat and mouse chase. Each capturing a member of the other, torturing and killing one another. “She had become the author of her own fate.” – Elena May, Kingdom of Ashes (Nightfall #1) With food supplies dwindling and suffering terrible losses, the Resistance decided to make a plan to kill Prince Vladimir. They believe that by killing Prince Vladimir, the leader, will cause chaos among the vampires which will make it easier for the Resistance to kill them all. Myra volunteered and what she thought as an easy plan became the opposite. She was captured by the vampires. She was expecting to be tortured by the vampires but it turned out the other way around. She was treated like a princess and provided with the luxuries of the world before it was overtaken. Being a lover of art and literature, Myra can’t help but be amazed with plays that were staged and the castle’s million books. She became entangled with the affairs of the palace and, though, she doesn’t want to admit it, she’s enjoying her stay. She eventually came to understand the vampires’ complexities and be astonished how they act and feel the same way as humans. As her connection with the vampires continue to go deeper, he was caught in a dilemma of what to do. Will he follow the original plan or kill or Prince? Or will she follow her heart and instincts as it tells her otherwise? The plot thickens when she learned the reason why the Prince is keeping her alive. The Prince wants a favor from her. A favor she believes she can use to make the Prince follow her. But in a place where it’s politics is as complicated as her situation, how will she know whom to trust? Will she be able to carry out her plans without any complications? Who will win the battle between the vampires and the Resistance? I connected with the main character as she’s always thirsty for new stories. She loves art and literature. Growing up, having not being born before the Nightfall, she can only imagine what it feels like during those days when all were in its normal state. Her only resort for her literary cravings were the books that were salvaged by the Resistance during their rounds outside their hideout. Lacking resources, she decided to create her own stories. I was able to feel her elation when she was introduced to her captor’s library. I like how she became so curious about the world and its literary wonders. I can’t imagine myself being deprived of books. Her discourses with Prince Vladimir about writing novels are really insightful. I felt like I was also being given advises about how to write better. As per her actions at the palace, some of here decisions became questionable at first but I definitely still understood where she’s coming from. The author was able to make me to eventually understood her actions. The vampires became this intriguing characters that were so hard to decipher. I believe that the author purposely did that to add mystery to the book. I like how the author was able to make me questions each other’s motives and be anxious for their next moves. I don’t know who will make the biggest movement and who’s who in who’s side. What I like best about this book is how it was able to maintain the intensity throughout until it ends. That’s what I dread the most when I read a thick book. I am not sure if the author will able to make me interested with the story or will bore me midway. For this book, I like how the author was able to balance drama, suspense and thrill. I did not experience any dull moment. It kept me hooked and engaged in the story. The world building was not done in a way that is not too overwhelming. The author slowly introduced facts about the world and describe the world in a very vivid way which made it easier for me to understood the world she wants me to visualize. Overall, this is a good first novel. If you’re looking for an intense, fast paced and intriguing read with a lot twists and turns, you should definitely pick this one up. It made me think about a lot of things particularly about the actions that we do. There’s that But please take note that this is the first in a series, so expect that after finishing the book, you’ll definitely crave more. 5 stars out of 5. Note: My gratitude to the author for providing me a review copy in exchange for a honest and unbiased review. In no way was my opinion about the book influenced.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Disclaimer: I won this book on Goodreads. This is a good dystopian fantasy story. The characters are well-described and have their own backstories. I could see the castle rooms and the surrounding lands in my mind. The vampires were manipulative and mostly evil. The one human who did want to be a vampire seemed shoehorned into the plot. There was no human-vampire love story. However, that makes the main character's actions even more incomprehensible as the book progresses. Her incessant need for Disclaimer: I won this book on Goodreads. This is a good dystopian fantasy story. The characters are well-described and have their own backstories. I could see the castle rooms and the surrounding lands in my mind. The vampires were manipulative and mostly evil. The one human who did want to be a vampire seemed shoehorned into the plot. There was no human-vampire love story. However, that makes the main character's actions even more incomprehensible as the book progresses. Her incessant need for approval from someone she repeatedly swears she hates does not make sense. I guess, without that, there would not be a series. I do feel compelled to read the next book to find out what happens next.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Simeon Minev

    Truly a great book, very entertaining and interesting story.By the end of it I felt as if I knew the characters personally and was there the entire time.Having a rather different taste in literature I was pleasantly surprised of how intrigued I was in this book and it's ability to keep me entertained throughout.I can't wait to see how the story goes after this book. Truly a great book, very entertaining and interesting story.By the end of it I felt as if I knew the characters personally and was there the entire time.Having a rather different taste in literature I was pleasantly surprised of how intrigued I was in this book and it's ability to keep me entertained throughout.I can't wait to see how the story goes after this book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Vy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. NOTE: I got a free copy of the book in return for an honest review. This book is very thought provoking and has parallels in this world as well. Just as we humans farm animals, so do vampires farm humans. Knowing and being aware are two different things. We humans know where our food comes from but we are not aware of it to the extent that it is in the forethought and conscious part of our minds. We do not actively think about it. Here, we are forced to confront that. What is different about our NOTE: I got a free copy of the book in return for an honest review. This book is very thought provoking and has parallels in this world as well. Just as we humans farm animals, so do vampires farm humans. Knowing and being aware are two different things. We humans know where our food comes from but we are not aware of it to the extent that it is in the forethought and conscious part of our minds. We do not actively think about it. Here, we are forced to confront that. What is different about our relationship with vampires as say pigs or chickens? What does it mean to be human or even sentient? How do we know? And if we don't, does it make it right for us to do the things we do? What is our justification for our actions? If we can justify it, can the vampires use the same reasoning? Each race seems to think of himself/herself as superior and so it comes into question: On what grounds? Through their thoughts and ideologies pertaining beauty, love, wrong and right and how one deals with hurt and pain, it highlights how you can see the human tendencies within the vampires, and the wrongs the vampires suffer by human hands reflect a lot of how humans suffer by vampire hands. After witnessing the point of view from both sides and the atrocities, as well as the redeeming qualities of individuals and the race as a whole, it becomes increasingly difficult to see morality as black and white and which side is the more evil. Shockingly, one may even find one questioning one's own morality and if there is truly good and evil or if it is relative to one's society. The next theme is the nature of writing and creativity and ultimately: truth. Vampires cannot create new works. Vlad has lived much longer than Myra and have read many different works of fiction to the extent where he can predict the story line. This suggests that there is nothing new under the sun and that creativity cannot be creating "new" things. Myra, with her limited knowledge, can only write based on the things she has read or things she experienced. Yet, she was able to create "new" works. This made one question what is true creativity and whether it is "seeing something in a new way from pre-existing things" instead of creating something purely new never thought of before. The truth element is that both humans and vampires are "writing" their own truth about the other side without experiencing what it is like to live as the other. Moreover, each person has their own version of their truth, their background. This leads to conflict as no one wants their version of the truth to be wrong and so abhors and denies anything that detracts from their views. Both sides are trapped in an internal struggle to accept their own individual truths as well as the truth of their society and the other side. Therefore deeper reflections reveal that there is more than two sides present in this war between vampires and humans. The last but not least important is the nature of time and change. One of the ways in which time and change is demonstrated is through fashion and machinery. Although the world is set far into the future, there is glimpses of the world we recognise and also world that have long gone and worlds that will be. The way in which humans live is like it is in the past and yet the WeatherWizard is obviously something of the future. The more bizarre thing is the fashion in which the vampires don. Some have there sense of fashion frozen in time while others mix and match the clothes of eras they have gone through. Additionally, one starts to wonder if things will change as one is reminded of the cyclic nature of change and time. First the humans triumphed over the vampires, and now the vampires triumph over the humans. And so, will things end and is there an end? Or will history only repeat itself and humans and vampires will be locked in a constant struggle in which there is no hope for both to live side by side peacefully? My favourite character is admittedly Vlad. He is brilliant and versatile in his thinking. It is his mysteriousness that makes me intrigued. He is not above using lives like tools to achieve his means, or torture, but one cannot hate him because one feels that there must be a grand motive behind his actions. The torture scenes were vivid and horrible, but people do need to be reminded of the horrors of war. However, i do feel the child killing and the torture serve a plot of some kind. It feels as if everything is being cultivated towards a particular end that only Vlad is privy to. The board game he plays, the throne room scene in which his enemies are identified, the escape of the man and his capture (and torture), Lucy being alive and why Vlad teaches and trains Myra with the most flimsiest excuse. His advice seems laden with hidden meaning. I think the finishing his book might be an excuse for something more, and that he is teaching her to lie, manipulate and sympathise with vampires because he needs her to be that way to achieve the plan. That was why he tested her, why he does not want a born and bred warrior but someone who can understand how he thinks. I think he means for Myra to take him down somewhere in the plan. I don’t believe this whole fiasco is for the thrill, or because the reasons he put forth such as: liking a challenge, boredom or insanity. Vlad is a skilled manipulator, and he is not perfect or infallible. He can get hurt, be surprised and forced to make sacrifices (such as Tristan). Overall this is a very good book, with a realistically flawed and understandable take on what vampires are. Stripped of the romanticised view, this book has a lot of potential in terms on development. I would like to see more character development in Myra and for her to explore more of her dark side.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tina.Reads

    i have to say, i'm a big vampire fan and read many books of the genre. most of the times they are hidden in the night in a world of humans. this book gave it a different twist, in which humans had to stay hidden. i really enjoyed this book, loved the worldbuilding and the dynamic between the lead caracters. so looking forward to how this story continues!! i have to say, i'm a big vampire fan and read many books of the genre. most of the times they are hidden in the night in a world of humans. this book gave it a different twist, in which humans had to stay hidden. i really enjoyed this book, loved the worldbuilding and the dynamic between the lead caracters. so looking forward to how this story continues!!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hennessy (Angel_of_Wyrd)

    Rating: 4 Stars Kingdom of Ashes by Elena May is an apocalyptic novel that questions the resilience of humanity not just in body but in spirit. I actually chose to read this book because I stumbled across an incentive from the author saying that she would be sending out e-arcs of the second book to anyone who reviewed this first book. This e-book was also 99 cents at the time so I figured what the heck I like vampires and apocalypses so why not give it a shot. Fifty years ago the vampires came p Rating: 4 Stars Kingdom of Ashes by Elena May is an apocalyptic novel that questions the resilience of humanity not just in body but in spirit. I actually chose to read this book because I stumbled across an incentive from the author saying that she would be sending out e-arcs of the second book to anyone who reviewed this first book. This e-book was also 99 cents at the time so I figured what the heck I like vampires and apocalypses so why not give it a shot. Fifty years ago the vampires came pouring out of the shadows and used a human device called the Weather Wizard to cloak the planet in clouds and set up their own regime of terror. Led by vampire Prince Vladimir the vampires hold humans under their thumb either by breeding them like cattle for food or hunting the small band of resistance humans mercilessly. Myra is a nineteen year old resistance member who, like so many humans, has never seen the sun, eater proper food, or lived a normal life. She loves to read and write though and longs to see the world, dismal as it may be. When the opportunity arises to be part of a strike team set to take down Prince Vladimir and destroy the Weather Wizard once and for all she jumps on the chance. Everything goes well… until she's captured and taken to the prince himself. Okay so I think this is one of those books that clinically might not be widely considered a four star read but for me hit all the right pressure points. Something about this book took me back to my childhood and I'm sure after my description of this book you must be thinking I had a pretty whack childhood if that's the case. I'm laughing because my childhood was hilarious but no that's not what I mean. This book took me back to the dime a dozen, full of tropes, squarely in their genre books I used to enjoy so much when I first got into YA literature. Sometimes I miss those days when love triangles didn't irk me, insta-love seemed logical, and chosen ones' didn't make me want to slap them. Ah, those were the days. This book took me back to all that but somehow in the best way possible. Myra is such an annoying protagonist but I say that in the fondest way possible. This girl had her priorities so screwed up but in such a way that I kind of related. Like she and I had the same screws loose. Writing and experiencing life were at the top of her priority list which in a contemporary novel would have been perfect but in a book about the vampire apocalypse seemed a little out of place. That being said though, she was funny and snarky and at least 50% of the time she gave as good as she got. Vladimir, well I don't want to sound crazy but that character was so relatable for me. Yes he was a 1,700 year old vampire prince who destroyed the world as we know it but he loved books and he had a good sense of humor. Call me crazy but that endeared me to him. Also he was clever and dastardly and every time I thought he was going too soft he would do something horrible that reminded me he wasn't the good guy but a villain… or an anti-hero. Read the book and take your pick. This book had a certain Beauty and the Beast feel to it and I spent half the book thinking that was exactly where the story was going and I was right… but I was also wrong. This book takes that fairy tale storyline, uses it as an outline, then chews it up, spits it out and throws it in the wash machine for a spin cycle. I liked that. I like the subtle little twists that kept reminding me this wasn't a retelling, this wasn't a happy story, this wasn't a fairy tale. This story was blood and literature and deep philosophical questions. The supporting cast were fluffy and amusing. They had a sort of caricature feel to them which normally would have made me dislike them but in this book I found myself enjoying their banter and cheesiness. Tristan even grew on me and showed layers I wasn't expecting to find in his character. The pacing of this book was off at times, the story lulled on and off not staying consistently engaging, and there were times when their was just something off about the writing and dialogue that I couldn't quite put my finger on. That sense of offness persisted from the first page to the last but again I found it to be part of the charm of the book. All in all this book was a very satisfying read for me on a personal level. It had bloodlust, and moral dilemmas, and end of the world stakes which kept their promises. The characters were charming and terrible which I found to be a good balance and I liked the relationship dynamics. Perhaps I was just in a very specific mood when I read this book but I enjoyed it immensely and would recommend it to anyone who likes a little vampirical nonsense in their TBR. Until next time, stay passionate and excelsior!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    This was a tough one. I liked the premise- vampires have taken over the world after getting their hands on a weather machine that throws the world into perpetual darkness and have slaughtered a majority of humanity. Decades later a small human resistance is set to kill the Prince of Darkness and to try to bring daylight back to the world. The problem? (view spoiler)[Well the entire story hinges on an understanding of sorts developing between Myra and the vampires. But at no point in the book was This was a tough one. I liked the premise- vampires have taken over the world after getting their hands on a weather machine that throws the world into perpetual darkness and have slaughtered a majority of humanity. Decades later a small human resistance is set to kill the Prince of Darkness and to try to bring daylight back to the world. The problem? (view spoiler)[Well the entire story hinges on an understanding of sorts developing between Myra and the vampires. But at no point in the book was Vlad compelling enough, or sympathetic, or relatable enough for that to actually make sense to me. The only thing that tied them together was him wanting her to finish her book and her wanting his approval and to be a better writer.... I mean I understand not killing him bc his successor may be worse, but her being conflicted about it did not really connect for me. I mean after he killed that kid and the whole convoluted plot to kill the farm guy just made me have zero sympathy for him or his condescending games. But at the same time- lets be real- his outsmarting Myra wasn't exactly difficult. She's 19, naive, has no world experience, and just doesn't seem to take things that seriously. Except for her writing. It might have made more sense if she was on her own and did have her family and the resistance to worry about- but she just seemed cool with hanging around for 2 months with no real planning except petty little games and half baked ideas. And I def didn't care about the companion vamps enough to care if they died either, let alone enough to feel conflicted enough to want to root for her saving them in the end. Sorry not sorry. Oh and PS the Sissy character was just another weird cherry on top. (hide spoiler)] Sorry to say I didn't buy this one.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Magik

    Bloody good time First off, I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. Second, I feel this book might need some trigger or content warnings. The main character is subject to much emotional abuse from the vampires including violence and torture to other humans to get her to bend to their will and to isolate her from her fellow humans. That being said this IS a vampire story and not you sparkly vegetarian vampire story either so that's kinda par for the course. I think my favorite thing in the book was this Bloody good time First off, I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. Second, I feel this book might need some trigger or content warnings. The main character is subject to much emotional abuse from the vampires including violence and torture to other humans to get her to bend to their will and to isolate her from her fellow humans. That being said this IS a vampire story and not you sparkly vegetarian vampire story either so that's kinda par for the course. I think my favorite thing in the book was this: Myra, the MC, is a writer and when the book first describes her writing it talks about her 250+ chapter novel and its main character Maryabella. My first thought was 250+? Really? Are they short? WTF? Then I saw the name and it took me a good few tries to get the pronunciation right in my head because it's so obnoxious and clearly based off the MCs name. And Myra was so proud of it too. I groaned and thought this was going to be a Mary Sue self insert kind of story. I was only a chapter or two into it though and told myself I would give it a chance because the writing itself was pretty good. A few chapters later I was not disappointed. Myra met her writing teacher and he wanted an outline and character descriptions of her story and when he discusses them with her he says the exact same things I said! It was great :D the story itself is like a human post apocalyptic tale. Vampires are thriving of course. Myra and her resistance want to assassinate the prince of vamps and destroy the weather machine that causes eternal darkness. Their plan doesn't go quite as expected and Myra finds herself imprisoned and the only thing keeping her alive is her ability to write. I'm glad I won this and I'm excited for book 2 later this year.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mkittysamom

    Fantasy with Real World Values Amazing Powerful Story About War Sacrifice Prejudice Peace... the importance of hearing both sides of a story, humanity.. oh I could just go on! Even learning how to write from a Vampire lol! I love love love this story! Read it straight through! The MC grows so much! There I so much packed into this dystopian fantasy war between humans and vampires. Things are not as black and white as they seem, and I think even Vampires still have humanity even though they see hu Fantasy with Real World Values Amazing Powerful Story About War Sacrifice Prejudice Peace... the importance of hearing both sides of a story, humanity.. oh I could just go on! Even learning how to write from a Vampire lol! I love love love this story! Read it straight through! The MC grows so much! There I so much packed into this dystopian fantasy war between humans and vampires. Things are not as black and white as they seem, and I think even Vampires still have humanity even though they see humans as food. Between Vlad and Myra there is so much awesome packed into their relationship and I can’t wait to find out how Myra deals with the spot she is in. Can she change her group’s minds? And who is this stranger from another human hold out!!? I’m over the moon so glad I picked this book I recommend it to all readers!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kim Ledford

    Need book 2 now please! Got really into the world building, borrowing from mythology while remaining its own world. Loved the details on just enough history, description of the environment, animals, and art. It was easy to get inside Myra's head. Story is a little far-fetched to me with the focus on art instead of fighting the vampires. But I thought the focus on art made this unique and not just another vampire story. Did NOT appreciate the torture scene! It was probably a good climactic scene Need book 2 now please! Got really into the world building, borrowing from mythology while remaining its own world. Loved the details on just enough history, description of the environment, animals, and art. It was easy to get inside Myra's head. Story is a little far-fetched to me with the focus on art instead of fighting the vampires. But I thought the focus on art made this unique and not just another vampire story. Did NOT appreciate the torture scene! It was probably a good climactic scene but...eww. I did receive a free copy of this book in the mail. But the love is real.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    Rating 3.5 stars. I feel like I should start out by saying I love the novel Dracula. It's a book I re-read almost every year, as a sort of Halloween treat to myself. Because of this, I'm typically wary of new vampire-centric novels. However, I'm glad I gave this book a chance, since I ended up really enjoying it. Cuddos to the author for making the vampires sympathetic, while not shying away from the monstrous things they sometimes did. I also enjoyed the way she explored how sometimes humans can Rating 3.5 stars. I feel like I should start out by saying I love the novel Dracula. It's a book I re-read almost every year, as a sort of Halloween treat to myself. Because of this, I'm typically wary of new vampire-centric novels. However, I'm glad I gave this book a chance, since I ended up really enjoying it. Cuddos to the author for making the vampires sympathetic, while not shying away from the monstrous things they sometimes did. I also enjoyed the way she explored how sometimes humans can be just as monstrous as the vampires (if not more so). Can't wait to read the next one!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I honestly wasn't sure what to think when I first started to read, but the more I read the more I needed to read. I was pulled in and left trying to decipher all the nuances of every conversation. I can't wait to read the next book and ultimately figure out what is the end game? Who is Prince Vladamir really? Will she save Tristan? I honestly wasn't sure what to think when I first started to read, but the more I read the more I needed to read. I was pulled in and left trying to decipher all the nuances of every conversation. I can't wait to read the next book and ultimately figure out what is the end game? Who is Prince Vladamir really? Will she save Tristan?

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