Ember and Ash – Pamela Freeman
The Domains have been a battleground for a thousand years, between the original inhabitants and the invaders of Acton, but a fragile peace has been won and was set to be cemented by the marriage of Ember – a warlord’s daughter who shares both bloods. There are forces stirring in the world, however, that care nothing for human treaties. When Fire murders Ember’s husband on her wedding day, everything she cares about is put at risk, and she is forced on a journey to confront the Powers that threaten to wrest control of her world.
Ember and Ash won the Aurealis award in 2012 and is sequential to Freeman’s Castings trilogy. I hadn’t read any of that series and I think this book stands fairly well on its own, as it follows a different generation, but probably reading the earlier books would make it easier to connect to some of the characters. The ones I felt were best realised and experienced the most growth were Ember and Arvid – Ash, I found exasperating. Some of the solutions in the book also felt frustratingly glib. There were good ideas, though, and a plot that kept me interested. For those interested in tracing the story back to the start, the Castings trilogy begins with Blood Ties.