A Curse of Ash and Embers is the first fantasy novel in The Blackbone Witches series by Jo Spurrier. In A Curse of Ash and Embers we are introduced to Elodie. A young woman who is hired on as a servant at Black Oak Cottage. Elodie soon realizes she is working for a witch, named Aleida. Aleida is surprised by her arrival, but takes Elodie in, knowing she could use her help.
Aleida is recovering from a battle with an infamous dark witch named Gyssha Blackbone. She may have won the battle, but the war is far from over. Suffering from the effects of a curse enacted by Gyssha, Aleida relies on Elodie for assistance. Soon Elodie realizes that her new job involves much more than she originally thought. Aleida must deal with the remnants of Gyssha's curse and legacy, none of which are easy feats. Aleida enlists Elodie's help, confronting monsters that roam the nearby woods, vanquishing a demon tree from her orchard, and providing assistance in spell-casting.
When Aleida and Elodie are thrust into battle, Elodie must decide if she will embrace what Aleida has taught her or return to her home and family. Will Elodie risk her life to aid Aleida, the witch?
This is such a wonderfully witchy novel! Spurrier does an excellent job of world and story building in this book. Once the world and story building is in place the magic, suspense, trials, and tribulations are thrilling! The story is a little slow to start, which I attribute to providing the reader with knowledge of the world surrounding Elodie and the story that leads us to to the current state of Aleida's character. This knowledge is imperative as the storyline unfolds and I appreciated the slow start for this reason.
The author's detailed writing style allows the reader to visualize events, characters, and monsters in a phenomenal way. This is not a predictable witchy read, it is truly unique. The twists and turns are perfectly placed, engaging, and action-packed.
I would recommend this book to those who enjoy fantasy novels centered around witches or magic. This book is action-packed and makes for an engaging read. There are some graphic descriptions of death and dying, so those who are sensitive to these subjects may wish to refrain from reading. There are no instances of profanity or graphic adult content. I believe that mature young adults would enjoy this book as well as adults of all ages.
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