I loved Winter Queen and when I learned that there were going to be other books in the series, I couldn’t wait to read them. The wait for them has been longer than I thought it would be. Of Fire and Ash is a novella and it introduces us to the woman who will turn into the Summer Queen in the next novel. Reading novellas is a little dissatisfying because they give you a taste of what’s to come but they end far too soon. This novella was no different.
In Of Fire and Ash we meet Nelay, she lives in the dessert with her family: her father, mother and an elder brother. They are going through a tough time because of the on going drought. There is hardly anything to eat and everyday, Nelay, her father and brother have to venture a little farther in order to look for water. Though her family doesn’t know, Nelay possesses the Sight, which allows her to see the fairies. When her father doesn’t return after going in search for one of their missing sheep, she and her brother go looking for him and find that he’s been bitten by a snake. In order to save her father’s life, she makes a deal with a fairy and this marks a turning point in her life.
I love Argyle’s writing, her books immediately suck me in and the world comes alive. Even in this novella, I couldn’t stop reading and found myself completely immersed in this world. This world came live with its harsh weather conditions, the unyielding desert and the many kinds of fairies around. All of these fairies were distinct both in temperament and appearance. Ideally, when you read a book it should draw in so that your own world falls away and that is precisely what happened when I read Of Fire and Ash. I don’t think I’ve ever been so dissatisfied to see a book end, I wanted it to go on.
Nelay, the main character, is only nine but there was so much spunk and fire in her. She didn’t know how to give up, she kept going, and trying to look for way out even everyone around her had given up hope. I really admired her spirit and I can just see that she’s going to grow up to be a strong and independent woman.
We meet her family as well and her parents genuinely seemed to care for her. But I hated her brother, he was a bully and I am happy that Nelay won’t have to live with him. He was mean and violent.
Of Fire and Ash works like a teaser for the main attraction: Summer Queen. And if this novella is anything to go by, then I’m sure that Summer Queen will be every bit as amazing as this book was. I love this new world that Argyle has created and I can’t wait to delve into it once more.
P.S – But I have a few questions:
– Does this take place in the same universe as Winter Queen?
– Is this a sequel or a prequel to Winter Queen?
– If they take place in the same universe and this a sequel, will Ilyenna and Nelay meet in Summer Queen? Will we see Ilyenna in all her Winter Queen glory?