Monday, November 11, 2013

Review: Ashes on the Waves

Title: Ashes on the Waves

Author: Mary Lindsey

Date of Publication: June 27, 2013

Formats Available: Hardcover, Paperback, E-book

Buy This Book: Amazon

Synopsis: Liam MacGregor is cursed. Haunted by the wails of fantastical Bean Sidhes and labeled a demon by the villagers of Dòchas, Liam has accepted that things will never get better for him—until a wealthy heiress named Annabel Leighton arrives on the island and Liam’s fate is changed forever.

With Anna, Liam finally finds the happiness he has always been denied; but, the violent, mythical Otherworlders, who inhabit the island and the sea around it, have other plans. They make a wager on the couple’s love, testing its strength through a series of cruel obstacles. But the tragedies draw Liam and Anna even closer. Frustrated, the creatures put the couple through one last trial—and this time it’s not only their love that’s in danger of being destroyed.

Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s chilling poem, "Annabel Lee," Mary Lindsey creates a frighteningly beautiful gothic novel that glorifies the power of true love.

My Review:

When I sat down to write this review I knew it was going to be a hard one. There was no possible way I could put into words just how much I loved this novel. Deeply romantic and tragically haunting this novel brought everything I could possibly hope for in an Edgar Allen Poe retelling. Lindsey did a marvelous job bringing to life the characters of the poem Annabel Lee and making them into something original while still holding true to the idea of the poem.

Let's start off with the number one reason I loved this novel, Liam. Liam isn't the stereotypical "hot guy" that most YA novels seem to favor; his left arm is paralyzed, he thinks he's possessed by a demon, he's ostracized and isolated from the tiny community on Dòchas, however it was those things that made me love him. As soon as I knew he had a disability I liked him, the moment I read his old-fashioned speech I loved him, and the second he met Annabel I adored him. The romance between Liam and Annabel was one of the sweetest and most heart-wrenching romances I've ever read. The end of the novel was heartbreaking but beautiful and even though it made me cry there was no better way the novel could have possibly ended.

Lindsey seamlessly included mythical creatures and Celtic lore into the novel, never offering an explanation but never needing one as well. It felt like the Otherworlders had always been a part of the story and the novel would have been missing something without them. The blending of Celtic Lore and Edgar Allan Poe worked together beautifully even though I wasn't sure about it at first. Reading the parts of the novel from Muireann's point of view added a fascinating insight to the story and I loved watching the two parts of the story converge. Murieann was cute and innocent and even though I knew Liam and Annabel would end up together a part of me wanted Murieann to be happy too.

The atmosphere was really what brought the entire novel together. Lindsey perfectly captured the mood and tone of Annabel Lee by Edgar Allen Poe and I felt as though I was reading a longer version of the same poem. Haunting and tragically beautiful there was no better setting for the novel than the island of Dòchas. With stormy ocean cliffs and gothic mansions with hidden passageways Lindsey painted such a strong picture of the island I felt like I was living the story right along with Liam and Annabel. Not only was the scenery of the novel perfect but the secondary characters added to the mood as well. With the villagers constantly out to see Liam hang and Annabel's housekeeper always trying to tear them apart the character development added just as much to the dark tone of the story as the bleak scenery.

Ashes on the Waves has easily taken a place as one of my favorite books of all time. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that I'll be returning to this one again in the future and I'll love it just as much, if not more than I did this time around. Fans of romance, Celtic lore, and Edgar Allen Poe have found a winner with this one.


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