A Curse of Ash and Embers by Jo Spurrier

A review

A curse of ash and emberSynopsis – A dead witch. A bitter curse. A battle of magic. Some people knit socks by the fire at night. Gyssha Blackbone made monsters. But the old witch is dead now, and somehow it’s Elodie’s job to clean up the mess. When she was hired at Black Oak Cottage, Elodie had no idea she’d find herself working for a witch; and her acid-tongued new mistress, Aleida, was not expecting a housemaid to turn up on her doorstep. Gyssha’s final curse left Aleida practically dead on her feet, and now, with huge monsters roaming the woods, a demonic tree lurking in the orchard and an angry warlock demanding repayment of a debt, Aleida needs Elodie’s help, whether she likes it or not. And no matter what the old witch throws at her, to Elodie it’s still better than going back home.

A Curse Of Ash and Embers is the story of a girl finding her place in the world and a woman trying to right some wrongs. Dee is treated like a slave by her stepfather and her mother keeps popping out the children for Dee to look after. She isn’t good enough for school, she isn’t worth that. She has chores to do instead. Aleida has been gone from home for a while now, but when a ghost arrives to tell her that her evil mother is up to more terrible things, she knows she has to go home and put a stop to this once and for all. As one girl leaves the only home she has ever known, the other must come home to the one place she doesn’t want to be.

It feels like a story that has been told before. The premise wasn’t new. Which is fine but I think when you combine that with slow pacing, you are going to forget all about this book in a month. The cover is gorgeous, but the market is being bombarded with similar covers and books with similar names. How is this book meant to stand out from the others?

The relationship between the girls shows potential, if there is a book two I would be interested to see how it has grown together and as individuals. When they meet, neither girl is at their best, but they compliment each other. Dee is used to caring for people and Aleida needs help. Aleida is fiery and unapologetic, Dee needs to stop apologizing for everything. With Aleida’s talents and Dee’s morals together they could become quite the force.

The writing is good, there is nothing wrong with it, the story was just slow. I didn’t really get a sense of who these people were as their personalities where inconsistent. The most consistent character, in her actions and conversation seemed to be the neighbour’s daughter, Melly. Some of the other characters seemed to be there to move the plot along, they didn’t bring a lot of depth to the story. And I think maybe that right there was my issue. Their was no depth to the book. It felt like we were skimming over the story and not being immersed into it.
Give me rich world building, let me see the meadows and the orchard, let me see the broken down house. I didn’t get any of that. Also I felt like there was a lot of potential with the magic, but it rushed through the magic scenes and battles. It was missing that something that I wanted.

While I thought it was missing something, I think my daughter would enjoy it.

I received an arc of this from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title – A Curse of Ash and Embers
Author – Jo Spurrier
Released – Voyager
Publisher – 24 September 2018

Get your own copy – AmazonBooktopia

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