Girl of The Ashes by Hayleigh Barclay
Guest review by Ally Brady for Love Books Group
I must admit I was a bit unsure of reading a book about vampires given its popularity as a genre of film and TV over recent years. However, this is one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long time and a lesson to all readers not to pre-judge a topic that’s been written about in abundance previously.
Girl of The Ashes is incredibly unique, in that it tells the story of Elise, a young woman who did not know that she was a vampire. Set in the late nineteenth century she is being coerced by the Inservium, to kill for them, in return that her lover is returned to her safely. The Inservium, is a crooked and corrupt religious organisation that uses brutality and fear to bring the townsfolk under its control. They also were responsible for the first Vampire clearings in years gone by.
Elise, is a complex and not unlikeable character given that she starts to enjoy her killing sprees and is indifferent towards her mother who turned her away from the family home to protect her from her vicious father and her cruel brother. There is plenty of mystery and intrigue as she leaves scorch marks on her bedsheets each night and has dreamlike states where insects and ghoulish beings talk to her. Are they real or imagined, all becomes clear as the plot develops?As the murders are becoming more prolific, she finds herself being taken against her will to Castle Arnyek where she meets other phoenix vampires, including her mother, who is set out to protect her. The characters are endearing and ghoulish and utterly believable. It is at this point in the plot we learn of Elise’s vampire heritage, and all things ghoulish that comes along with being a vampire. A battle commences between the Inservium and Elise and her vampire family, with many twists and turns along the way. I can see this becoming the gothic fiction series to watch out for and I hope there is a long set of books in this series. Five Stars all around.
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