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Age of Ash [a review]

When I think about my favorite series from the past few years, the answer is easy: The Expanse. It's just so well-written that the world feels truly real. I freely admit that the reason I picked up Age of Ash was solely because it shared an author with The Expanse, and I was curious to see what Abraham's writing style in a fantasy context would be like.

I won't bury the lede any longer: I did not like this book at all. I had to force myself to finish it for the sake of this review. The characters felt flat and uninteresting for the majority of the plot, and the world felt exceedingly dreary and awful. I think that latter point was on purpose, but speaking for myself, it's the last kind of world I want to escape to after two years of a pandemic, division, injustice, and strife. It would be one thing if it was a kind of gritty realism that unflinchingly stares into the brokenness of the world and refuses to give up hope. But this book felt almost perfectly devoid of justice, hope, or life. It's almost as if he stared long and hard at the injustices and evils of the world and tried to construct an alternate universe where only those things exist. Perhaps it'll get better in books two and three of his trilogy, but by the end of Age of Ash I was left with no motivation to see if that will be the case. I hate writing such a negative review and I wish I could think of some slight silver lining, but alas.

DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of a fair, unbiased review.

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