When I choose books from my TBR list to pick up at the physical library, I make my selections based exclusively on the descriptions I’ve left for myself in my spreadsheet. When I choose books from my library’s ebook wish lists, covers influence me much more. I loved the note that I left for myself in my TBR list about An Inheritance of Ashes, but I read it on my recent California trip because of the cover.
Nice eh? An Inheritance of Ashes is up my alley in so many ways, and it delivered on every front. It’s about two sisters who cannot find a way both to run their jointly-owned farm and to relate easily and kindly to each other. It’s about the bravery of leaving and the bravery of staying to fight, and the ways people get those things terribly wrong. It’s about the stories we tell about ourselves and our ability to escape from those stories. It’s about the aftermath of a war and the wounds it leaves in people and landscapes and hearts.
Marthe leveled a cool stare at James Blakely. “The Wicked God’s dead. You were all at least willing to tell us that. If the Twisted Things are still loose on the countryside, don’t you tell me it’s not certain and we should just be afraid when you tell us to. I paid too much for that.” Her hand drifted to her belly; made a fist. “It was too much to have bought nothing.”
Plus, it’s just hella creepy. A soldier called Heron comes to help on Hallie’s farm, and that night, she kills a creature that comes in through her window. Only afterward does she realize that it’s a Twisted Thing, one of the minions of the Wicked God whom the world’s armies (including Heron; including Hallie’s not-yet-returned and dearly beloved brother-in-law) just barely managed to destroy. The Twisted Things–which look a little like birds or lizards or both, except for the acid and flame and cobwebs–were supposed to be gone. But Heron’s presence on their farm seems to herald the return of the war that Hallie and her village believed to be over.
Did I say aftermath, by the way? I meant to say aftermath. Best if I say it again right quick. Not just the aftermath of war, but the aftermath of family. Leah Bobet writes like someone who has paid close close attention to the way families ally and fight with and hurt and protect each other, and the way the wrongs of one generation turn into another set of wrongs by the next. It’s so, so lovely, and I nearly cried on a plane when I got to the end. SISTERS SISTERS SISTERS ALWAYS.
An Inheritance of Ashes is creepy in the way Brenna Yovanoff is creepy; it’s spot-on about relationships and feelings and family narratives in the way that Maggie Stiefvater is spot-on about those things; so if you are a fan of those two authors, give Leah Bobet a try.