Raining Embers by Jessica Dall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
To be honest, I started reading Raining Embers without expecting anything much from it. Jessica Dall had emailed me and offered me a copy of the book for review, so I browsed the site, skimmed the sample pages casually and figured that it would probably be a generic 3-star read. Sure, I'd review it, I said.
Raining Embers starts off painfully slow. Dall shifts between Palmer Tash's life as a poor Ward of the Church and Brier Chastain-Bochard's privileged decadence with something of a disconnect. They meet once. Strange things happen. Palmer sees visions, Brier faints. Then these two very disparate people are kidnapped - and find out from their kidnappers that they are the incarnations of Chaos and Order.
The story only really takes off then as the things that have been shrouded in mystery are progressively revealed. You find yourself becoming engaged with this myth, navigating the push and pull of Palmer and Brier's relationship both as humans and as gods, gripped by their fears and worries.
The world-building doesn't always feel fully fleshed out. Latysia seems to be based on an Italian culture, which I am personally unfamiliar with. The society has a very medieval, religious-based European feel, with the centrality of the Church, though it isn't quite the Christian church we are currently familiar with; there is a reliance on Seers, star-charting and visions. It isn't exactly Knights Templar because it's very not-British; Signoras and Signorinas are bandied about in greetings. Chaos & Order seems to be more Greek mythology, but this isn't exactly earth as we know it, so it doesn't matter. Whatever it is, it isn't enough to pull you out of the story. Rather, it makes you want to delve more into it to find out how this myth works in this world that Dall has created.
I ended up really liking the book - it really would have been a 5-star one if it weren't for the beginning. Well, it is what it is - a promising start of a new series.
*As stated earlier, I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for review purposes.
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Raining Embers releases on Amazon and Barnes & Noble today, so you can get your book now!
Jessica Dall is the author of such novels as Off Book and The Copper Witch along with a number of short stories that have appeared in both literary magazines and anthologies. When not writing, she is an editor and creative writing teacher in Washington, DC.
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