Gay, Kelly: The Hour of Dust and Ashes (Charlie Madigan) (2011)

Cover art by Christian McGrath

Does Kelly Gay keep up her good work in The Hour of Dust and Ashes? Yes, she most definitely does. She has that rare ability of being able to keep her writing tight, very tight. That and her spelling and grammar helps the reader keep from being distracted. Add to that a pretty good plot, fun characters and talent and you have the flow.

Charlie Madigan is an interesting character. She is a believable woman in a fantastic yet believable world. Yes, this is all science fiction and fantasy, but the plot is about recognisable problems and her characters are flawed and gifted like the rest of us. Fanatics are fanatics and greed is greed.

Charlie suffers from a save-the-world-all-on-her-own syndrome. That makes it easy for her to take the blame for her sister’s ash addiction. It is true that Bryn got addicted to ash while helping Charlie out, but Charlie tends to forget that Bryn has her own will and this is creating trouble between the sisters.

When ash addicts begin taking their own lives, Charlie becomes desperate to make certain Bryn stays alive. Thus far the hunt for a cure has led nowhere. When Charlie goes to the oracle, Allessandra for help, she is told that she will need sylphs. On to Charbydon she must go and Hank and Rex get to go along with her.

Rex (the ex-jinn now revenant), Brimstone (the hellhound) and Hank (the Adonai) make themselves better known to us. We also get to see Charbydon at its best and worst. No wonder the people there think of Earth as a vacation spot.

We get tons of action and some of the fighting is explicit. If you don’t like that, consider yourself warned.

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My reviews on books 1 (The Better Part of Darkness), 2 (The Darkest Edge of Dawn), 3 (The Hour of Dust and Ashes), and 4 (Shadows Before the Sun)

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