“Hope Rises from the Ashes” by L.F. Falconer is definitely a book dabbling in two genres. I expected historical fiction, but in the first chapter a gryphon appears and murders a salt trader, unexpected to say the least. I took that action, and assumed this book was more fantasy rather than history (I did not read the first novel in this series, and I suggest to anyone interested, start with “Hope Flies on Broken Wings”), and yet again I was proven wrong. After the fateful attack, the book slipped back into historical fiction, and started leaning heavily on historical romance as I read through, the reader encounters a sea witch and some mermen, and again, I was thrown off.
Collie is an interesting character, but I wouldn’t say she’s loveable. I found her a bit annoying. From the beginning, you can tell Collie is smart, but she’s very spoiled and sheltered, and you just want to shake her and tell her to stop it. You want her to grow up, figure out what’s going on, and get a move on. She’s forced to take care of Natt, the young boy whose father died in the beginning. He’s shell shocked, and basically in a coma, and it puts a lot of responsibility on Collie. I do wonder how I’d feel about her if I read the first book, maybe some back story…Collie does grow throughout the book.
Dugan’s story really caught me though. The sea witch and the mermen, it’s interesting, and definitely has the fantasy element, and though I was beyond confused when we entered a chapter in his perspective, I came to enjoy his story. His struggle, his memory loss, and finally his acceptance of all that has happened, and his drive to do what he can now. He’s a strong character, and I will say the ending of the book is fitting for him, because I think he is worthy of that ending.
Personally, I felt the fantastical elements weren’t as smoothly added into the plot, and so they stuck out for me, almost in a jarring way. Overall, this Historical/Fantasy/Romance novel is a well written story, which will interest many readers. I would recommend that readers definitely read the first book to understand Collie’s struggle, and her relationship to Dugan, and his story.
As for the story as a whole, the flow was good, the first Dugan chapter threw me for a little loop as I didn’t read the other book. Once I got used to how the author jumps perspectives, I allowed myself to sink into the story, and the world that’s been created, this book does have some really lovely points, and some interesting yet flawed characters.
“Hope Rises from the Ashes” by L.F. Falconer is not a romance in the modern sense, as sex is mentioned, but it’s not erotic in any way. The real romance in this story is one about finding the person you’re meant to be with, and overcoming all obstacles to make that love a reality. It’s about people, figuring out that beyond their flaws, they are still good people with good intentions, and life is rough. I really did enjoy this novel once I got really into it.
Hope Rises from the Ashes
Outskirts Press (2013)
Reviewed by Cianna Reider for Rebecca’s Reads (2/14)