Desert Isle Keeper
The Beautiful Ashes
I’ve long been a fan of the author Jeaniene Frost and narrator Tavia Gilbert combo, which has proven magical since I first listened to Frost’s Halfway to the Grave. I was beyond pleased to learn that with The Beautiful Ashes I would get to enjoy Frost’s writing and Gilbert’s narration, this time in a whole new world.
Ivy is just twenty the day her life changes forever. Her sister disappears, and several days after, her parents are killed in a tragic accident. Now, Ivy is alone, trying to track down her still-missing younger sister. All her life, Ivy has known she isn’t quite like everyone else, because she sees things no one else can see. Her parents took her to countless doctors. Ivy is now on medication for what everyone considers hallucinations, and she’s doing her best to live a normal life. Now, Ivy must give up all pretense of normality, especially when a handsome stranger convinces her that her hallucinations are actually glimpses into a parallel universe.
Adrian was raised among demons, and is considered to be a sort of demonic prince. What the demons don’t realize is just how much he hates them and what terrible things he has done in the name of all that is demonic. Both Ivy and Adrian have destinies to fulfill. The problem is that they are in direct opposition to one another. With Ivy by his side, Adrian could bring the demon realms down, but can he do it without doing the one thing that will ruin it all, the one thing he wants most to avoid?
Whenever I find out that Tavia Gilbert narrates something I’m about to listen to, I know I’m in for a treat. The Beautiful Ashes did not disappoint. Ms. Gilbert definitely lived up to the challenge of creating unique characterizations for the many beings that populate this first installment in The Broken Destiny series.
Perhaps Ms. Gilbert is best known for her wonderful depiction of Bones, the hero of Ms. Frost’s Night Huntress novels. In this listener’s opinion, her portrayal of Adrian is equally compelling. Ms. Frost tells us that he speaks with a slight, indiscernible accent. Ms. Gilbert provided exactly that. The accent is definitely there, but it’s impossible to place. Vaguely European is the closest I can come, but, even as I write this, I know I’m not giving a completely accurate description. It’s something you have to hear for yourself in order to fully grasp it.
I found myself equally pleased with Ms. Gilbert’s depiction of Ivy. When we first meet our heroine, she’s innocent and confused. As the story progresses, she grows into a strong and confident young woman. Ivy endures some terrible things, but she never lets go of her humanity. This is one of the things I liked most about her. Ms. Gilbert stayed true to the character Ms. Frost put on paper, but breathed life into her. I could sit back and fall into the story, and actually feel like I was hearing Ivy. It takes a very gifted narrator to pull that off.
There’s a hint of romance between Ivy and Adrian. They both admit their feelings, but so much is going on, and their destinies stand in their way. I hope further books in the series will explore the romance angle a bit more while still giving us the wonderful world building and heart-stopping action found in The Beautiful Ashes.
Whether or not you’ve listened to a Jeaniene Frost book before, I highly recommend The Beautiful Ashes. It’s an excellent story set in a world unlike any I’ve read about before. The characters are richly drawn, and the plot is intriguing. My only real complaint is that I’ll have to wait quite some time for the second book to become available.
Breakdown of Grade – Narration: A and Book Content: A-
Unabridged. Length – 8 hours 21 minutes