Monday, July 13, 2015

Review: Ashes on the Waves

title: ashes on the waves
author: mary lindsey
book birthday: june 27, 2013
rating: 2.5-3 stars

blurb from goodreads:
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 awager 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.

 
Okay, so I have so many issues with this book. I thought I would like it considering the subject matter. A novel based on Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabell Lee" with demons? Yes please. But sadly this book failed to deliver. 

*WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD*

The main question I have is for all of my Celtic lore experts out there: Can a selkie seriously use another selkie's pelt? I have read so many stories about selkies and this is the first I have ever encountered this twist and it's driving me crazy because I can't find any information on it. Also, the selkie's in this novel spoke English. I don't remember it being specified if they learned English at any point. Muireann just popped out of the ocean and knew the language compared to the housekeeper, Brigid Ronan, that was held captive and had years to learn.

Now, other initial issues:
- the island is so isolated. there is no electricity, the people still have rituals where a 14 yr old can marry a full grown man, and there is only one other child on the island.
- there are no demons.
- insta-love x 100,000,000,000
- very little Poe reference except for the quotes at the beginning of every chapter and Annabelle Leighton's name.

Next thing, it took me a while to get the alternating points of view in the beginning.  Muireann's voice was unique and seeing her longing combined with watching Liam and Anna were some of my favorite scenes. However, it wasn't clear who she was at first. It also took me a while to get the switch between Liam's old world language and the random interjection of Anna's forced American slang. 

I read a lot about this next point in other reviews and I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought this: Liam's voice was annoyingly feminine. The descriptions of Anna were too elaborate and over written. Also, a young man that has fantasized and obsessed about a specific girl for years is not going to turn her down when she offers herself to him. The hormone crazed make out scenes were to be expected and I would have been pissed if they weren't included considering the situation, but Liam turning Anna down so many times and then having sex with her finally on their "wedding night" was just not realistic. AND the awkward beginning to the wedding sex we expected to read was not described. That was a WTH moment.

After finishing the book, I would like to see the story told from Francine's perspective. She had enough insight of the folklore to give us info on the bean sidhe, Na Fir Ghorm, washerwoman, and selkies. She had knowledge of Liam and the mystery of his birth. She had knowledge of how Liam was obsessed with Anna and a little of Ronan's back story. Even though she threw Liam at Anna, she had good intentions. I think if there were a novel of her story about the romance with her selkie I would read it.

* MAJOR SPOILER! STOP READING IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW THE END OF THE NOVEL* 

Lastly, is Liam killed by the
Na Fir Ghorm? Every other character that went toward the sea and drowned felt like they were being called by a dead loved one when it was really the pull of the Na Fir Ghorm. To Liam, dead Anna was calling out to him. Yes, we knew we had to see Liam die because he saw the washerwoman thing. BUT if he died this way does that mean the Na Fir Ghorm won? Another thing that bothered me was his death was so abrupt. There was no reflection on Anna's death, no reconciling with his father or finding out why his father grew to care so much.

Overall, this book was just okay. I went into it expecting greatness and I was very disappointed.

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