October 26, 2012

VBT Review: Building from Ashes, by Elizabeth Hunter

Author: Elizabeth Hunter
Title:  Building from Ashes
Series: Elemental World (#1)
Publisher: Elizabeth Hunter (October 23rd 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review

Buy your copy: Kindle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"For a thousand years, powerful earth vampire Carwyn ap Bryn has served others. God. His family. His friends. But tragedy and loss disrupt his peaceful existence, causing him to question everything he has committed his eternity to.

Brigid Connor has known about vampires since they rescued her from a painful childhood. But not even their vast elemental power can save her from the demons that torment her.

As loyalties are tested and new paths are forged, a lurking danger slowly grows in the Elemental World. Carwyn and Brigid will learn that even secrets revealed can come back to haunt you when you least expect it.

A continuation/spinoff of the Elemental Mysteries series. The timeline in this books stretches from BEFORE A Hidden Fire starts (so you see a little character history) until AFTER A Fall of Water finishes. As I’m sure lots of you could tell, Carwyn had quite a few things going on in his life that didn’t make it into Gio and Beatrice’s story. So Building From Ashes explores that storyline and also sets up the Elemental World for some new adventures..."
GoodReads’ blurb

First off, I’d like to thank the author, Elizabeth Hunter, for allowing me to be part of this Book Tour. Building from Ashes was such a treat! But let’s start at the beginning, right?

My first sentence here is a confession: I love Carwyn, I really do with his hidden strength and easy smiles... but much like Brigid herself, I had some mental blocks when trying to paint him in the light of a romantic interest. He was a priest! Totally not designed to be lusted after... right? Right?!?

Except that by the time we reach Building from Ashes’ turning point, I was ready to believe it. I blame Hunter’s magic for my sinful thoughts, because she’s always had this way to build characters, this touch that makes the story turn around them and not the other way around, even when plot events are as big as they are here.

Fair warning, though: as it says on the blurb, this book not only takes place in the Elemental Mysteries universe... the action somewhat overlaps the comings and goings of the original four books, and it does so fast. If you’re not familiar with this universe (though I cannot imagine why you wouldn’t be, really) you might find yourself a bit lost at some points.

Perhaps, if I had to find one tiny complain about this novel, it could precisely be that it is just that: a novel. There’s room for another whole series here! Which, I realize, is the point... to expand the Elemental Mysteries beyond any single character and into a real world... But dang, I wanted more Carwyn! You really need to read him, with his good heart and obnoxious Hawaiian shirts, and how all this becomes little more than a boy under the right circumstances *evil laugh here* I’d have also liked it if more circumstances had presented themselves, I think.

I’m talking a lot about our favorite Welshman, but Brigid’s a work of art too. She’s so broken it’s not even funny when the book begins, and we follow along as she tries to grow and mend and, slowly, that process casts her closer to Carwyn. Her character is a very risky bet, I think, because it deals with ugly things. But it’s a bet that wins the day, because the way it heals and becomes something strong and beautiful and whole is truly inspiring—and realistic.

So, did Building from Ashes live up to my (very high) expectations? It surpassed them! Is it a must-read in the Elemental Mysteries universe? Oh, yeah! Will it herald more side-characters novels? I can only hope that it’ll happen in due time!

What say you, Elizabeth? When you’re ready to come back to this wonderful, wonderful world... can we have ourselves some more Baojia? Ben? Tenzin? All of the above? Pretty please?

See, that’s the strength in this series. You never want to leave it behind... and that’s saying something, don’t you think?


  1. Great review, Ron! I haven't read the Elemental Mysteries, so I might get a little lost ;D

    1. I think you'd enjoy that series, Christy. It's super well-written, with great character development and a mystery you won't figure out until you hit book 4! ;)