You know the drill by now, because I've talked about this series on probably 95% of our podcast episodes so far. If you haven't read the Fire and Starlight saga by this point, I don't know if there is any helping you.
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of the newest installment, The Stardust in the Ashes, by our dear friend Amber D. Lewis and when I tell you I COULD NOT READ THIS BOOK FAST ENOUGH! I was so excited to get back into Astra's world with the characters I've grown to love...and Bram.
STOP READING RIGHT NOW IF YOU WANT TO AVOID SPOILERS FROM THE NIGHT THE STARS FELL AND THE STARLIGHT IN THE SHADOWS. THEY ARE IMMINENT AND THIS IS YOUR FINAL WARNING!
I obviously won't get into TSITA spoilers, but we fall right back in with everyone after the events of the Starlight in the Shadows. Makin (among countless others, but let's be real, he hurt us worst) is gone and the grief is all too real. Amber does an excellent job of actually portraying that grief, instead of just glossing over it. (Looking at you, Stephenie Meyer. Who remembers those random "month" pages when Edward left Bella? Yeah, he didn't "die," but those were meant to showcase her loss and...I digress.) Amber tackles grief in a a way that is actually honest. Grief isn't some mountain to overcome. It's good days and bad, thinking you're okay, then being bowled over. Laughing, then feeling guilt for smiling. And it's never-ending. Sure, the weight may feel lighter at times, but it's only because you grow around it. Grief itself never changes, you just get used to carrying it--and you see that in the people that loved Makin. One step at a time, one breath at a time.
I blubbered my way through this book.
The Stardust in the Ashes was definitely heavier than the previous books, and I mean that in a good way. You need to feel these deep, sometimes dark emotions. If everything was sunshine and daisies and skipping off into the sunset, it wouldn't be a story worth telling. You can definitely feel the sense of foreboding that this book is setting up for book four. It's equal parts excitement and dread...again in the best way possible.
I'll never get over that someone I've just casually been internet friends with for years could write such a remarkable saga, and I am chomping at the bit for more!
(Also, a brief aside: you may recall that Karin read The Night the Stars Fell as my pick during her "I'm letting my friends pick a book for me to read for their birthday month" challenge earlier this year. She quickly joined the fandom and surpassed me by being invited to Beta read. (I'm not upset in the slightest--the more people consuming Amber's work faster, the better!) This paragraph is to point out that when Amber joined us on the podcast in August (Episode 23!) Karin and Amber both heavily implied that Bram would get some redemption and I am here to tell you now that no, Bram still sucks. You can put that on my headstone, because I'm taking my hatred to the grave, baby!)
Love and scribbled notes via Felixe,
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the author for free and have voluntarily written this review.