This is a spoiler-free review. Even if you haven’t read the first book.
Memories of Ash (Sunbolt Chronicles #2) by Intisar Khanani
Publication: 30.05.2016 by Purple Monkey Press
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
I won’t provide a synopsis, as that would spoil you for the first book.
I read the first book in this series, Sunbolt, a little over a year ago. Because I read quite a bit (by my standards at least) I sometimes have a hard time remembering what happened in one of the books I read a while ago. So I was quite apprehensive when starting this sequel. Yet when I truly thought about it, I could sketch the big lines of the plot (of the first book) right up until the end. That’s quite a feat for me really. And I remember truly enjoying the book, even though I thought it was too short (apparently it was supposed to be a short story at first). I’m so happy to say that I enjoyed the second book even more (and that it is much longer)!
I do not wish to spoil anything, even for those who haven’t picked up the first book. So I’ll keep my review brief. In this book, Hitomi travels quite a bit. I love it when main characters travel throughout lands because it truly allows you to get to know the world, which is especially important in fantasy novels. I liked getting to know the different cultures this world has. The different types of people, and creatures, and their ways were so interesting. What people in this world seem to value very highly? Honor. It may show in different ways, depending on the culture, but everyone (well…. most people) values honorable behavior.
This book is fast-paced, just like Sunbolt was. I was captivated by it, glued to my screen really. As a result, I now have to wear my glasses because my sight has gone blurry. This story contains so much action, that it is an absolute joy to follow Hitomi’s journey. I was never bored, and never wanted to skim any part. I know it sounds horrible, but you know what I mean. Sometimes, at a certain point in a story, you think to yourself: come on, I want to get to the good stuff! That didn’t happen here.
Like in the last book, I love that not all her plans turn out well. It’s important to fail I think, otherwise you will never actually learn anything. But when it happened, I found myself reading ferociously, thinking “please let her get out of this”. There is no doubt I will be needing the third book, because that ending left me wanting so much more.
I also want to say that I’m happy this book revolves mostly around Hitomi’s journey, her friends and loved ones and her figuring out her powers. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good romance. But there is no pushing one in this book. I think I can see one that could be developed in the next book(s?), but for now everything is taken slowly -and it’s definitely not the focus of the story.
I’ll only talk about Hitomi, because mentioning the other characters is sort of a spoiler in itself? I hope you’ll understand. Suffice it to say, I love all of them -aside from Blackflame, I despise him.
Hitomi grows a lot in this book. Due to the circumstances in the previous book, she has a lot of room for growth. I liked that there was quite a bit of time between the ending of the first book and the start of this one, because it allowed the story to flow better. There are several things I love about Hitomi, but I mainly love these two aspects: she is incredibly loyal to those who show kindness, and she is strong but not only in a physical way. I love that she doesn’t resort to violence to get out of a situation, unless there is no other choice. She accomplishes a lot through kindness and intelligence. I think that’s an important lesson. I admire her a lot.
Overall, I’d highly recommend this series. If you haven’t read it, please go pick up Sunbolt. I know it’s very short, but you’ll have Memories of Ash to make up for that! I think this is a captivating story, with a heroine I can truly admire.