The concluding chapter of this wicked trilogy is here, and make no mistake… any revenge that has taken place in the first two books is child’s play compared to how it all ends. The thing about fire is that it leaves nothing but destruction in its path… Prepare to get burned!
***There is a major spoiler alert below if you haven’t read the first two books – just saying. 😉
“Ashes To Ashes”
by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian (September 16, 2014)
Lillia, Kat and Mary only meant to right some wrongs… It was about getting even. Burn for burn. But the fire kept raging… Reeve ended up hurt, and Rennie ended up dead. Everything will turn to ash if they don’t stop what they started. But now that Mary knows the truth about what happened to her, does she even want to?
No, of course not. Mary is out for blood and the girls’ friendship and juvenile attempts at revenge are a thing of the past. Secrets drew Lillia, Kat and Mary together, but the truth is surely going to tear them apart…
I am so torn in terms of how I feel about this book. I mean on the one hand it did what it was supposed to do, and everything came together by the end, no loose ends. And I guess I didn’t have a problem with how it ended before the epilogue (I’ll get to that in a minute) but still this book seemed to be lacking compared to the other two, and it kind of bummed me out. What started out as a wonderful tale of revenge and righting incredible wrongs seemed to have turned into something of an angry ghost story. Sure it worked, and it was still decent, but I felt without all the supernatural hubbub this series would have been so much better. It probably would have been one of my all-time-favorites to be honest.
First there is Mary. Mary was all right in the beginning though she seemed to struggle to have her own voice in the first book. And then in the second book she had her own voice, but she was my least favorite of the three girls, which might have had something to do with her secret. At the very end of the last book we find out that secret (though since it’s a major spoiler I won’t share) and it’s a doozy – the kind of secret that changes everything. But the revelation has completely changed Mary, and not for the better. She sees things in black and white and life doesn’t work in those extremes. She views Kat and Lillia as the enemy because they’re human beings with compassion. They’re not willing to go as far as Mary wants to take it – a life for a life.
Maybe that’s one of the things (not the only one, but it’s definitely one of the biggies) that disappointed me about this book. This series focused on the bond of these three girls, brought together by a common need and they all ended up being incredible friends. But in this book it’s Mary against the world, including Kat and Lillia. And Mary never talks to the girls, never tells them her secret, never asks them where they stand, never tries to give them a chance… She just assumes that because they won’t kill someone, they’re on the wrong side. Her bullheadedness really ticked me off. She not only focuses on Reeve and ending his life, but also on Lillia and Kat and hurting them by destroying things they care about and sabotaging their futures…
I still like Lillia and Kat in this book; their voices are still very much “them,” but with everything going on, their characters seem to be ruled more by external factors than internal ones. So while they were authentic and I enjoyed them, they also seemed a little on the hollow side.
In terms of the end, I liked what ended up happening to Mary. It was sad, but the perfect end to her character, as well as the perfect thing to happen so that other characters could go on. It could be considered out of character, but I think it was just an epiphany and epiphanies tend to lead to, or at least inspire, drastic change. The book could have ended where it did without an epilogue, but the authors put one in there and I didn’t mind it, but I wish they would have done a little more with it. For me the epilogue was unnecessary, but because I’ve come to care about these characters I was happy to see how everyone ended up. I don’t think it should be incredibly long or anything, but I wish I had a little more. I hardly know what happened to Kat beyond basic geography and while I know what happens to people in terms of their relationships with each other, I don’t know what most of them do. They’ve graduated college… and? Why tell me they graduated college and where they live, if I don’t know what they’re doing with their lives and if they’re happy, etc. Since this was always “extra” and not needed, I wish they had gone there – all the way, and went for it. On that note, the previous books started with an intro from each girl – it would have been awesome to have an epilogue from each girl too. Because this epilogue is limited in that it focuses on one of the three. I would have liked to hear from each of the girls and find out where they are now and if they ever found the peace each of them deserved.
I know I have a lot of gripes, but I still enjoyed this book, and it was a fast and easy read just like the other two books in this series. If you’ve read the first two books then it’s not even a question if you should read this final chapter. And if you haven’t read any, make no mistake this book is still better than most, and everything wraps up nicely, without those nagging loose ends that are far too common in some books, both in stand-alone novels of concluding chapters to a series. So, if you’re thinking about it, just do it. Read these books and enjoy every minute of them. You’ll be surprised at the places these books will take you. Justice… revenge… karma. Whatever you want to call it, these books deliver all three in spades!
Farewell to the “Burn for Burn” series. I will remember you fondly. What a ride!