Final books in series are hard, man. Here’s a story that you’ve followed for a couple years coming to an end. You’ve gotten attached to the characters and invested in their lives and situations. You want the best for some and the worst for others. And you have no idea what the author(s) have in store for them.
It’s tough. It’s also hard to critique, knowing all this. I feel like I’ve mostly reviewed final books this year, and it hasn’t been easy to be fair. Most of the time what I want to happen doesn’t happen, but I do acknowledge that sometimes what I want to happen doesn’t really fit into the story or make sense.
With all that in mind, I begin my review of Ashes to Ashes. I went into this book expecting a lot and being terrified of what I’d get. Those feelings ended up being quite validated.
We are now at the end of Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian’s Burn for Burn trilogy. What started out as a Pretty-Little-Liars-esque teen revenge drama turned into something more. Fire with Fire brought the heat and some serious drama. Kat, Lillia, and Mary live in a world where there are consequences to your actions. (Who knew?) Now, Kat and Lillia are dealing with a whole other thing, a MAJOR consequence of their actions: Mary. I have to admit I was shocked when we learned that Mary is a ghost. I knew something supernatural was going on with her, but I still thought she was alive. In addition, Rennie’s death is another grave consequence of these girls’ actions. If you’re hoping things will go smoothly for the girls, you clearly haven’t been reading these books.
Ashes to Ashes deals with the fallout appropriately. It feels like a longer book (even though it’s shorter than the last), since it takes its time unfolding. We creep closer and closer to the finale, and once we reach it, it all goes down very quickly. While it is suspenseful and very-thriller-like, it’s more of an emotional read. I was invested in these characters lives, which means I had to deal with their pain and sacrifices.
The way everything in Ashes to Ashes plays out makes sense. It works, and it’s a good, solid story. But it’s not very emotionally satisfying, mostly due to a tacked-on epilogue that provides a future update on the characters. After learning about all their hopes, dreams, and loves, it really sucks to find out that some of those things didn’t pan out. I guess you can just say “that’s life.” Not everything can be a happily ever after. Still, I can’t help but wish I never read the epilogue.
I suppose the drone-like narration of that bit could be to blame. It made life seem much less hopeful or great for the girls. The production of the audiobook as a whole is pretty inconsistent. The sound levels seemed off, and the narrators seemed flatter than usual. I had enjoyed the first two books as audiobooks, but maybe I should have chosen to read this final one.
I give big props to the authors for creating characters that you truly care about. Sure, I’m not exactly ecstatic about how things ended up being for them. Yet, the fact that I care so much says a lot. I love Kat and Lillia (and Reeve, Alex, Nadia, etc.). I’ve enjoyed their good and bad parts equally, and they’re the reason to read the Burn for Burn series. It’s greater than it’s made out to be.
Ashes to Ashes Rating: 7/10
Burn for Burn trilogy Rating: 8/10
Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian is now available where Digital Audio and books are sold.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (September 16, 2013)
Length: Approx. 8 hours
Series: Burn for Burn Trilogy #3
Source: Unabridged Audio Download (Provided by publisher)
Genre: Young Adult, Revenge, Supernatural, Romance
Completed: October 2014