ARC Review: Age of Ash or a whole new meaning to the “city as a character” thing!

Hello people! I hope you all are happy and safe, and that you are reading some amazing books! I am a tad stuck at the moment, but it’s not because the books I am reading are bad, luckily, and I am strung out with this heat… we are not even in Summer properly and it is already insufferable! Argh!!! Everything is more difficult, even blogging and, especially, finding the right mind space for reviews, but I would try and see how it goes!

Thanks to NetGalley and to the Editor. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Age of Ahs
Series: Kithamar #1
Pages: 448
Publication Date: February 15th, 2022

From New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed author Daniel Abraham, co-author of The Expanse , comes a monumental epic fantasy trilogy that unfolds within the walls of a single great city, over the course of one tumultuous year, where every story matters, and the fate of the city is woven from them all.

“An atmospheric and fascinating tapestry, woven with skill and patience.” –Joe Abercrombie, New York Times bestselling author of A Little Hatred
Kithamar is a center of trade and wealth, an ancient city with a long, bloody history where countless thousands live and their stories unfold.
This is Alys’s.
When her brother is murdered, a petty thief from the slums of Longhill sets out to discover who killed him and why.  But the more she discovers about him, the more she learns about herself, and the truths she finds are more dangerous than knives. 
Swept up in an intrigue as deep as the roots of Kithamar, where the secrets of the lowest born can sometimes topple thrones, the story Alys chooses will have the power to change everything.

I have almost all the books by this author on my TBR, and yet this is the first that I managed to read. And sadly it didn’t go as I was hoping. Mind me, this is a solid book but I was expecting to fall in love with it, even madly in love, and it didn’t happen. So yeah, it was a bit of a disappointment, but it is also true that I had almost unrealistic expectations here, so I think that it is partially on the book because some things didn’t really work for me so well, and partially on me, because sometimes expectations are our worst enemy. I would read the other books I have on my TBR by this author, but I don’t think I would continue this series.

My main problem here was that I am a character-driven kind of reader, and I couldn’t really connect with the characters there. In theory, Alys should have been exactly the kind of character I fall for, she is a thief, she is resourceful, and she is morally grey. What’s there is not to love here? Well… in part her being morally grey is due to the fact that she is obsessed, and I don’t have the best track record with obsession and characters, but if they are your thing, I think that you would find a really interesting case of it in Alys.
Sammish was a tad better, for me, I enjoyed her more, but even with her, I couldn’t really connect. There was something lacking, even if I can’t exactly pinpoint it. But at least I was more involved when she became more central to the story.
There are other characters, but I couldn’t really relate with any depth with any of them, even if my favorite was the most unique of them: in this book the city is itself a character, and in more sense than one! It was my favorite thing about the book, and it gives a whole new meaning to the “city as a character” thing. And it was brilliant. But it wasn’t enough to make me really enjoy the book.

We have also an interesting world, grim and not really happy, it is not a place I’d love to visit, to be honest, but it was interesting. And the author has a gift for showing the people and the small things. When you are reading the book you know that there are some main characters, obviously, because they are the ones who move the story along, but you know that this is also the story of everyone who lives in there. It is about the people, the poor, and the misfits. And this was a really interesting and peculiar thing. It isn’t a coral book, but sometimes it feels like it.
All things considered, even if this wasn’t the right fit for me, and I wasn’t impressed as a whole, it is a peculiar and original book, quite different for the others in the same genre, and if you are in for some novelty, you should def try this out!

And, last but not least, the plot. It is not a boring book, on this front, at all! We have intrigues and twists, and some of them are quite big. And even if this first book is quite chunky and full of happenings, you know that this is just an introduction and that things are going to get complicated (even more so, because let’s be clear, it is all twisted and complex in here already!) soon, and you know that you are in for an adventure if you would continue this series!!!

And half!

So, that’s all for today. And yes, even if in the end this was not my cup of tea, I have some hopes for the other series by this author. And if you are in for something different and are okay with a touch of grim, you should give this one an opportunity!

And what about you? Have you read this book? Or other by this author?? Let me know!!!

Happy reading!

11 thoughts on “ARC Review: Age of Ash or a whole new meaning to the “city as a character” thing!

  1. Anoushka says:

    AHHHHH THIS REVIEW IS LITERALLY PERFECTION OKAY???!! I LOVED READING IT SO SO MUCH!! i’ve never heard of the book before, but the synopsis sounds REALLY, REALLY INTERESTING??! plus, the entire “city as a character” thing HAS ME NEEDING MORE DETAILS HGDEGHVWDVBHWBV!! i’m sorry this ended up disappointing though and really really hoping you have much better luck with the author’s other books! AND DID I MENTION I LOVE THE REVIEW????

    Liked by 1 person

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery says:

    The city is the true protagonist here, and it manages to overshadow the characters – although I have to admit that Alys’ obsession did not go well with me either… But since I am familiar with this author, I can tell you that the first book in his series is always on the slow side, because he takes his time in setting the playing field, so there’s hope that the next one will prove more to your liking 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Will says:

    I’ve read 7 of Abraham’s books plus 6 of his SA Corey ones. That said, I DNFed this because I just couldn’t connect with Alys or her story. I’d actually recommend his Dagger & Coin stuff, it’s not like this (in my opinion…)

    Liked by 1 person

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