The Hour of Dust and Ashes by Kelly Gay
Series: Charlie Madigan #3
Published by Pocket
Published on: August 30th, 2011
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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To save her sister, she must stop a silent killer. . . .
As New Year’s Eve approaches and time runs out, Charlie makes a deadly bargain with an ancient race of beings and embarks on a dangerous journey into hellish Charbydon with Hank and the Revenant Rex to save Bryn and make it back before it’s too late. Only, for one of them, coming home means facing a fate worse then death. . . .
The Hour of Dust and Ashes deserves the award “Most Near-Death Experiences a Plot Puts its Protagonist Through”. I count…or rather, I will leave that number for your discovery (but it is fairly large and the ways to die are, as well, fairly colorful).
What’s not to like about further developments in this world? Scenic locations such as underground labs, mage academies; lawns of which are attended to by witchcraft, hellish other worlds, night clubs adjoined to theatrical stages prophetesses rock, and an overcast Atlanta show up now here, now there as if off the board of a game like Candyland or Monopoly. Which shuffle will we see this time?
The characters, on the other end of the scale, run the gamut of emotions, a revolving wheel of scary, thoughtful, humorous, suspicious, and cute, an inconspicuous adjective that may equally apply to Charlie’s twelve year old daughter, her massive hellhound, or the million year old Revenant teaching her to train such a beast.
It does feel, on reflection, as if there were a lot of factors in play. Charlie’s characterization is strong enough, however, and her straits dire enough that one can easily forget just how many tasks are up in the air. It is a testament to just how strained and adaptable to the surrounding circumstances she is that the flow of locations can appear natural and not as if it were all a role of the dice.
To critique (a little and somewhat shabbily, like I’m pulling at straws here), I think Emma, Charlie’s twelve year old daughter, should become more central to the plot. Ever since book one, it seems she has strayed far from the A plot…Perhaps more poignant criticism would be: needs more description of sand lizards and other otherworldly creatures. Truly what is the story behind these majestic and deadly creatures? Is it too much to ask to have an in-book Shark Weekesque treatment of the sand lizard, etc., on their televisions?
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