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Monday, November 5, 2012

NICOLE'S REVIEW: Embers and Echoes by Karsten Knight

Title: Embers and Echoes
Author: Karsten Knight
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: August 28 2012
Publishing House: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781442450301
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked

Summary: Ashline Wilde is about to discover that when you're the reincarnation of a Polynesian volcano goddess, "new beginnings" are just a myth. 

Leaving the fiery ruins of her sophomore year behind her, Ash travels to the sizzling beaches of Miami, hot on the trail of the little sister she's seen only in visions. But her family reunion isn't all palm trees and paradise. A cult of evil gods, known as the Four Seasons, has kidnapped her sister to use in its terrifying new religion. Soon the streets of Miami erupt in chaos and violence...and Ash gets caught in the tropical crossfire.

Ash isn't without help, however. Unexpected romance arrives in the form of Wes, an Aztec god of night with his own vendetta against the Four Seasons. As memories of one of Ash's previous lives begin to flicker into her dreams, the boundaries between ally and enemy, life and death, and love and hate all bleed together. And when a mysterious trickster from her past reappears to derail her new quest, Ash must choose between the echoes of a once-forgotten yesterday and the embers of an uncertain future.

Because when old flames return from the dead, even a volcano goddess can get burned.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book) 

Embers and Echoes is book two in the Wildefire trilogy. Wildefire, in case you haven't read it yet, ended with an epic cliffhanger. Book 2 starts right where Wildefire left off, and without a lull in the timeline, readers will be jolted back into the story's fast pace and action-packed scenes.

Ashline is a strong heroine; she's no damsel in distress, no Mary Sue. She's snarky and acerbic and funny and filled to the brim with bad puns. She's no different than how she was in the first book, although maybe she's a tad bit more violent here. In Embers and Echoes Ashline is, thanks to a rather informative dream, on a mission to find her little sister, so she heads off to Miami where she encounters Wes. He is the Aztec god of the night and the only time he has access to his godly powers is when it's night. (Surprise!) Wes is a great guy, he's protective, funny and really cute and what really made me like him was that he wasn't exactly like other male characters out there. Sure he's hot, he's ripped, he's brooding and secretive and all that but he wasn't overbearing and didn't crowd Ashline. He wanted to protect her and go all he-man on her but he actually understood that Ashline was more than capable of taking care of herself. Kudos to that. Colt is still present in the story, I won't say much about him so as not to spoil anyone, but his role in the story was totally unexpected. I don't really know how to feel about that. Some moments I love him to bits and pieces and others I just want to slap him silly. (I loved him in the first book though.)

Miami is also where our lovely heroine meets the Four Seasons. I, personally, had a hard time taking the name seriously. I admit that the gods that comprised the Four Seasons were creepy, and weird and psychopathic but...Four Seasons? The first thing I thought of was the drink, then the hotel, so there. It doesn't exactly sound like something that inspires fear or awe in people. They were working with Lesley Vanderbilt and there were some shady stuff going on that made me cringe in distaste but...Four Seasons. Yeah.

There were a lot of aspects of this book that I liked. The strong cast of characters with their different personalities, the fast pace and the action-oriented scenes. Ashline and Wes' relationship, despite the myriad number of complications that arose, and the way the plot twisted and turned and twisted some more but didn't end up a convoluted mess. There were times when the viewpoints switched from third person to second person and it should've been annoying, but it wasn't. I'm also glad that in this book we get to find out more about the Cloak and the connection between Ashline and her sisters and we get to glimpse scenes from Ashline's past that answers a few questions but then raises a few more. 

So, filled with action, betrayal and heartbreak, Embers and Echoes is a satisfying sequel to Wildefire. For those of you who haven't read it yet, go grab a copy and immerse yourself in the wonderfully chaotic world of this fiery volcano goddess. 


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