Gilded Ashes ~ Rosamund Hodge
Well I was dying to read this after reading Cruel Beauty. I was a bit upset that this only would come out as an e-book, but that didn’t stop me doing some online research and an easy find of mobipocket reader so that I could get Gilded Ashes and read it on my laptop. Dear god..this book…I just finished reading this and was over-flowing with emotions so I thought that while I had the passionate drive, I just had to write the review.
The Story – 5/5 stars:
The story was an absolute delight. I don’t mean it was good in the way of everything being all wonderful, but in a way that the plot was wonderful even if somewhat bitter-sweet. I absolutely loved the Hodge’s retelling of Cinderella with an icing of Cruel Beauty universe and the Gentle Lord’s deals (man, that guy sure is wicked). Sure the story was short but I still could not stop reading it. It flowed wonderfully and everything made absolute sense with no plot holes (unlike another book I’m currently reading. Yes, Throne of Glass, I am looking at you!
Despite it being a retelling, it felt like a completely new story (well it kinda was). It was lovely, it was dark, it was absolutely delicious (what is up with my descriptions of books…anyone who would listen to me talking about them would think I eat them or something…). I was more satisfied with this ending in contrast to Cruel Beauty one.
The Characters – 5/5 stars:
Hodge is on a roll with rankings from me today! All the characters were marvellous!
Maia: Oh gosh how I loved the main character. I could somewhat relate to her and I could understand her completely. I emphasised with her worries and I feared for her. Basically – I actually cared about her. This doesn’t happen often in books or with a heartless wench like myself. I actually wanted to comfort Maia and give her at least a hug. Honestly, Hodge just shaped her so wonderfully. Her flaws were excellent and once again Hodge made the flaws represent something every single one of us has – the necessity to deceive and pretend everything is fine to have the society functioning properly. Ask yourself this – how many times in your life did you have to put on a porcelain mask, smile and pretend everything was fine despite you hating your job/school/whatever you have to do which you don’t like and carry on? I’m sure every single one of you would have done it at least once in your life. Maia has to do it every single day which shows how strong she is and I really admired her for that. She claimed that love made people fools, but she was a fool herself since she tried to protect the ones she loved subconsciously.
Anax: This guy was great. He wasn’t the most central character in the book let alone the one who had to suffer the most. His story was somewhat simple with the usual business the noblemen had to put up with their heritage – the duty to his house as well as the honour. All he wanted was people to stop lying to him all the time in the world full of lies. I can actually understand that. I really hate it myself when people sugar-coat everything and all those fake smiles just make me want to throw the person out the window. That is exactly how Anax felt, I would guess. I could actually relate to him seeking company of those people who are honest to you since that is what is important in any kind of relationship be it friendship or love. This of course made him seem more real and another representative of the problems in our lives.
The Romance (once again – I do know this is not a character, in case you ask): It was actually vague yet still pleasant and did not make me want to throw up my dinner. I actually enjoyed this pair and rooted for them. I do, however, wonder how it’ll work out. Then again – it shouldn’t be too bad since Maia was still a noblewoman despite being forced to slave off for her Stepmother.
Koré: I thought I was going to dislike her – she was pretty mean. Throughout the story, however, you actually begin to understand more why she does what she does. She is actually a pretty brave woman and worked quite effectively as a character despite being the potential Mary Sue with her perfect looks and her brains. I do feel sorry for her in the end. I wonder how she would live out her life now as well…
The Stepmother (or should it be the Godfather..okay, I’ll shut up now…): Again, I thought I would hate her at the beginning. She was haughty and an evil woman. It’s actually quite shocking to find out that in fact she was mad. I could not help but also feel sorry for her after reading her story. It is understandable why she did what she did and also saddening. Every character in this story had suffered while trying to merely save their loved ones.
Thea: Well…I think this is the only character I didn’t feel too strongly about. She was okay, but nothing grand. She actually reminded me of Astraia from Cruel Beauty a bit.
So to summarise – I really liked what Hodge has done with her characters. She has used them all to represent certain troubles we face in society even today, just a bit more extreme.
Writer’s Technique – 5/5 stars:
Goodness gracious, Hodge has used her writing very effectively. There was a lot of repetition, I noticed, but it was used so effectively it made me marvel as a student of literature. Hodge doesn’t stay on world building for too long and that suits the story just fine – you don’t need all the details. I also appreciated that the few references and concepts explained about the universe are short since we already learned it all in Cruel Beauty. They were just enough for someone new to this universe and made me, someone who read the original book, appreciate that none of my time was wasted (although since it’s a novella for that universe, it’s more likely that the readers would also have read it).
There’s something about the writing that makes it one of my favourites. It is simple yet complex. It is elegant yet plain. It is dark and mysterious yet still clear. I don’t know, something about the style just draws me in. Hodge is definitely a favourite of mine now and I am looking forward to her future works (I am really looking forward to Crimson Bound).
Overall – OF COURSE 5/5 stars:
This was absolutely amazing. It actually evoked something which I thought didn’t exist – emotions. I really loved this novella. It was short and just the right length. It was bitter-sweet with just the right amount. Hodge can really go far as an author and this as her second official book (well novella) is very promising. The actual story took me about an hour or so to read so don’t give me the excuse that you don’t have the time or too lazy – you should really try this. If this actually made me feel something, surely it can do the same with you.
JUST READ IT ALREADY! Honestly! You won’t be disappointed! It is a quick read which tramples your emotions which is worth it! (…no seriously, I am really not a masochist. I swear!)
Well that is all! Thank you for reading once again and happy reading!
You can find me on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/RitaArthurs
So how would YOU rate this book?: