“At first the situation seemed similar to City of Ember, but the plot took a completely different turn, and personally, I preferred this book. The idea is that the population is trapped beneath the glass dome that was constructed when a meteor hit the earth and left everything burning. The people...”see full review » see other reviews »
“At first the situation seemed similar to City of Ember, but the plot took a completely different turn, and personally, I preferred this book. The idea is that the population is trapped beneath the glass dome that was constructed when a meteor hit the earth and left everything burning. The people can't leave because they are lead to believe that the outside world is nothing but flame. But Wren can't help but wonder if there is a world outside the stifling dome. She is part of the lowest class in the dome, a shiner. Shiners live below ground and mine the coal that keeps the fans running. The fans make sure that the air keeps flowing and the people of the dome don't suffocate. ”Tessa M. wrote this review Monday, April 1, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Having seen a couple of uninspiring reviews for Ashes of Twilight, I did not have high hopes for my own enjoyment of the novel. However, when a review copy comes, you do what you have to do. Thankfully, I enjoyed this more than my compatriots did, finding it an easy, enjoyable read.
The best part of Ashes of Twilight is the writing. Tayler's style suited me well, with pretty sentences and just enough slang that I guessed the book was set in England. By the end of the book, I marked down several quotes I enjoyed. Tayler has a mature writing style, with no abuse of sentence fragments.
Wren MacAvoy wants more out of life. Born a shiner, she climbs out of the mines every day into the more dangerous reaches of her domed world to speculate on what's above. The rulers say that flames fill the world outside, making the dome a necessity, but she does not think she sees flames out there. Wren is a seeker, curious and unwilling to settle for anything, most especially a life she's been told to live and a boy she's been told to marry.
The characters that stole the show were the animals. I just love adorable animals with tons of personality in my fiction, and Tayler included bunches. Even better, none of them die, which there has been altogether to much of in my recent reads. Tayler kills people instead. Cat, a cleverly named cat, is my personal favorite. Pip, a canary, also warms my heart. So do the ponies with whom Wren works in the mines, who would not have survived without her aid. I love Wren and Pace for taking such good care of them, and I love Tayler for not putting animals in just to kill them off tragically.
While I did enjoy Ashes of Twilight, I really wish there had been more to it, something unique. None of the elements herein were unfamiliar to me: the dome, the class hierarchy punishing to those on the bottom-most rungs, the terrible air quality, the mining, the instalove, the abusive guy who wants to marry Wren, the twist regarding Wren's father, or the plot arc. All of this I have read in other dystopian novels, not all together like this, but I would still hope to see something solely of Tayler's creation. I have read a lot of dystopian novels, however, so this might not be an issue for readers without so much knowledge of the genre.
One element which should have been better handled is the inclusion of the biblical references. For whatever reason, the shiners only have one book, The Bible. As such, Wren references scripture a lot, as she does in the first sentence. I never really could see a point made with this. The references come thick and fast at the beginning of the novel, but drop off significantly towards the end, without seeming to impact the plot. These should either have served a plot purpose or be taken out entirely. They were not preachy particularly, just out of place.
The most worrying aspect of Ashes of Twilight is Wren's tendency to exhibit TSTL syndrome. As I mentioned, the guy she was supposed to marry, James is abusive. In one of the first scenes, he tries to force himself on her. She is, rightly, uncomfortable around him for the rest of the book. However, she also tells him multiple times that he is a great guy who will make some other girl very happy. No, Wren, he's actually not a great guy, and this makes me doubt your sanity. Can we please stop this trend of pretending that attempted rapists are the kinds of guys any girl should want? They're not. End of story.
Ashes of Twilight does have rather a slow pace, but, if you do not mind that, you might enjoy this book. Tayler's debut might work better for those without too much familiarity with the dystopian genre.”
“This book was very original, yet the aspects were similar to other books I'd read, the City of Ember being the one that I thought had the most resemblance. Two lovers from different worlds, living in a sunless world away from the world us people of reality know. In all, I enjoyed it and I will read the second one when it comes out. ”JAMIE wrote this review Thursday, January 3, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I loved this YA dystopian novel!
This story is told in the first-person from the perspective of Wren MacAvoy, a 16 year-old girl who works as a “shiner” so named because of the silver cast to a shiner's eyes which glow in the dark like a cat’s eyes. Like Wren and many others before her, she knows only of life inside the dome which was erected before a comet crashed down to Earth and engulfed the world in flames. The residents fall into two classes: Royalty and everyone else. The lower classes exist to serve the royals. Everything is chosen for the people: Their jobs, where they live, and when they marry. The city under the dome is small, and there is a limited amount of space. People cannot marry until there is a place for them, so a new household cannot be established until someone dies so that a home is freed up.
Wren, like all shiners, lives in an underground cavern. She never knew her mother, who died in childbirth. All Wren knows about her father is that he lives above ground. Her mother never told anyone who he was. Wren has been raised by her maternal grandfather, who is the oldest of the shiners. She felt that she was always treated as an outsider by the other shiners because her father was not a shiner. One boy, Alex, always made an effort to include Wren and they have always been close friends.
Without the shiners, life inside the dome would not exist. They are responsible for tunnelling underground to find coal mines. The coal fuels the steam-powered engines which turn the large fans that circulate the air. Due to the nature of their work, the shiners do not have a very long lifespan. Most die by age 50 of black lung, which slowly and painfully suffocates them.
Wren works the night-shift in the mines. At daybreak when her work ends, she goes above-ground and climbs up to the rooftops where she watches the sun rise each day. Shiners are not typically permitted to go above ground, so she has to be careful not to be seen. Most people wear goggles above ground to protect their eyes from the smoke, which helps her to hide her identity. Sometimes, she swears that she sees shadows outside the dome, which does not make sense because they have always been told that there is nothing but flames outside.
What the Royals do not realize is that the shiners are running out of coal. They have not found any new coal deposits in a long time, and the fans have to work harder to clear the air.
There are some people, called Seekers, who believe that there is a world outside of the dome – and not one engulfed in flames. When one of the shiners escapes from the dome, his charred body is brought back inside as a warning to everyone what will happen should they try to run. Before the victim dies, he tells Wren, “The sky is blue!” which makes no sense at all! How can the sky be blue if the earth is covered in flames?
I was really captivated by Tayler’s prose. Her world-building is phenomenal! Wren is a very introspective girl, and I feel as though I really got to know her and could relate to her. Her pensiveness gives this book an almost literary feel. What I found most interesting was the vast difference in what Wren thought of herself as compared to how others perceived her. It is funny how we can be so wrong about ourselves! Although Wren appears to have fallen quickly for her beau, Pace, it is understandable given the circumstances. They are thrown together and must trust and depend on one another to survive, so that naturally paves the way for stronger emotions to develop.
I cannot wait to read the next in the trilogy, Shadows of Glass, which is expected to be released in July 2013.
Nicola Barber's narration was impeccable. She was perfectly suited for the voice of Wren, and she made a great novel even better! She was flawless - pure ear candy!
I received this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own. ”