Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

In Ashes Lie In Ashes Lie
by Marie Brennan

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Kelly Buchanan

In Ashes Lie is another unlabeled sequel, but fortunately holds up well enough on its own; I was never left feeling lost by references to past occurrences. The human characters at least are new, since it takes place half a century or so after the events of the first Onyx Court book, Midnight Never Come.

The story does remind me a little of Newtons Sleep. Both deal with the politics of the English Civil War and its parallels in the affairs of secret powers, presented in a non-linear manner. In this case, the tale jumps between the climactic struggle against the Great Fire of 1666 and various earlier events, with the conflicts of the Faerie courts impacting on the mortals above – and vice versa. This is a somewhat lighter, more straightforward read, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The main characters are easy to sympathise with, and both the Onyx Hall of the Faeries and London above it are convincingly portrayed.

The book does seem to endorse the divine right of kings, which struck me as a little dubious for a book set in the real world's history. I find it easier to accept the monarchy as having special significance in a purely fantasy realm. But it doesn't paint a rose-tinted picture of royalty; the kings' flaws and mistakes are amply acknowledged.

It's an enjoyable book, and the rest of the series is going on my to-read list.

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