Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Me on Ashes on the Waves
Author: Mary Lindsey
Release Date: June 27, 2013
Publisher: Philomel (Penguin imprint)
Liam MacGregor is cursed. Haunted by the wails of fantastical Bean Sidhes and labeled a demon by the villagers of Dòchas, Liam has accepted that things will never get better for him, until a wealthy heiress named Annabel Leighton arrives on the island and Liam’s fate is changed forever. With Anna, Liam finally finds the happiness he has always been denied, but the violent, mythical Otherworlders who inhabit the island and the sea around it have other plans. They make a wager on their love, testing its strength through a series of cruel obstacles. But the tragedies draw Liam and Anna even closer. Frustrated, the creatures put the couple through one last trial, and this time it’s not only their love that’s in danger of being destroyed.
Ashes on the Waves is haunting and mysterious gothic novel filled with darkness and dangerous beings, filled with sadness and mournful wailing, filled with dark secrets and a love hopefully unbreakable.
Something unexpected in this book but welcome was Liam's voice. An old-fashioned way of speaking brought on by classic literature, intelligence that belies his age, but also a sadness that cuts deep. He's a melancholic young man hated by most of the villagers, shunned because of his origins, cast aside like a monster. When Anna comes along she doesn't see what they see, but she doesn't know what they know, what Liam himself knows. Anna returning to the island creates hope in Liam, awakening a dream of not being looked at in fear or revulsion.
Being in Liam's head shows readers the dangers of the island but keeps the secrets he also keeps from Anna, and so in that way readers learn as Anna learns. Readers are left in the dark, curious about why he is called a demon by the villagers, until Liam tells Anna what he knows. But even then it's not everything because Liam himself doesn't know the whole truth.
On the island is Celtic and old world mythology come to life. The Otherworlders are creatures of myth and legend, living on land and in the sea. They are very dangerous, and not so mythical, if they're present, if their presence is known. And they have their own agenda, wrapping up Liam and Anna in something sinister.
The author has brought new life to Poe's poem, to the sea and the castle rising over it, to the cliffs and the dark waters holding dangerous secrets, to the overwhelming love the narrator has for a certain girl. But how strong is Liam and Anna's love? Is it truly unbreakable? This is a modern day gothic novel with a compelling love story, it's utterly enthralling and utterly heart-breaking.
(I acquired an advance copy of this title at ALA Midwinter.)