'Blood and Ashes' by Jane Jordan is a novel from the supernatural/vampire genre. It is a sequel, which I didn't realise when first I picked it up in the library. This meant I started out at a bit of a disadvantage, not knowing the back-story or characters. The first novel in the series is called 'Ravens Deep'.
*** The set-up ***
This novel picks up after our heroine, Madeline, has been turned and is suffering a kind of madness induced by the experience, apparently normal for new-fledged vamps in the brand of vampire lore Jordan is spinning. Driven by the insatiable thirst, she rebels against her lover Darius' attempts to keep her secluded and controlled (for her own good, of course) and runs away from their home together on Exmoor.
It doesn't take long for her to suffer the consequences of her disobedience and fall into the cruel hands of Kitan, another vampire. His plans for her soon make her regret her flight.
How will she escape? Will she ever see Darius again?
*** My opinion ***
What I wanted was a well-written and plotted book that could absorb me, and this is not what I got with 'Blood and Ashes'. I didn't particularly enjoy the author's writing style. I found it over-wrought: too flowery & wordy for my liking.
It became very distracting that this book was chock full of typos - for example, where the word 'jealousy' was clearly intended, 'jealously' appeared consistently instead. Perhaps if I'd felt more drawn into the book, I could have over-looked these (arguably) petty issues. As it was, they got my goat. I felt that Jordan over-used phrases such as 'everlasting/eternal love' and words such as 'disturb' & 'irritate', to the point where each occurrence was a hammer-blow to my psyche. At one point there was a sentence where both 'disturbing' and 'disturbance' were used, which made me throw down the book in a huff.
The heroine, Madeline, seemed to me even more passive and subservient to men (male vampires at any rate) than the soggy Bella of 'Twilight'. For the greater part of the book, she was frustratingly inert. When following a female protagonist, I want her to have some drive and inner life not revolving solely around her man (or men). It didn't really happen with Madeline. She did redeem herself a little in my eyes towards the end of the book, but it was a struggle to keep reading to find that out. I didn't care about her as a character, and cared even less for Darius (barely appearing in this book) or Kitan.
*** Spoiler ***
I found some of the themes in the book quite disturbing (that word!) and more so because they were never named for what they were, but rather coated with faux-romantic/gothic flowery language. I don't think a book featuring abduction & repeated rape in a non-graphic way actually contains any less abduction & rape. I feel the book glossed over it and tried to make it sexy somehow - and well, that makes it more obscene to me than if it had been graphic. I know the vampire genre commonly has this uneasy sadistic sexuality running through it, and it's _vampires_ not _people_ (the usual get-out clause), but I think it's partly how mealy-mouthed it was about it that bugged me.
*** Conclusion ***
As you may have gathered, this novel was not at all to my taste, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I hope other runs of the book were better edited, at least.
If you wish to read the series (despite my disapproval!), probably best to start with 'Ravens Deep' where presumably you would develop some love for the primary characters, as starting with the second gave me none!
'Blood & Ashes' is available for Kindle at £3.08 and in paperback for £7.99 new from Amazon. You may be able to find it in your library as I did or cheaper to buy second-hand.
(A prior version of this review exists on my blog and elsewhere, but this is my 'specially buffed up re-write for DooYoo).