This isn’t a very good book.
I’ve read and enjoyed most of Jeaniene Frost’s other paranormal romances (including all of the the Night Huntress series and most of its two spinoff series, Night Huntress World and Night Prince). Sure, they are formulaic smut, but they’re also entertaining, sexy, and funny. Frost has always had a way with engaging characters, including some very yummy heroes (I’m looking at you Bones and Vlad), zippy plots, and some very sexy sex.
Not so much this time. First, there are the characters: Ivy is a 20 year old college student who has visions, a missing sister, and recently deceased parents. And the guy? Adrian is… hot? He also has a weird accent and penchant for keeping important plot points secret from Ivy. Also, he’s hot. Really hot. Don’t worry about remembering that bit, Ivy will remind you. Repeatedly.
Ivy and Adrian meet-cute when he breaks into her hotel room, kills a bad dude, and kidnaps her. From there it’s all angels, demons, and shadow realms. I don’t ask for a lot in the way of plot from my romance novels, but this book is basically an extended game of hide-and-seek with a truly ludicrous McGuffin. The romance between Ivy and Adrian is no better. It essentially consists of two facts: 1) Ivy thinks Adrian is hot and 2) they can’t bone because Adrian is fated to betray Ivy. Fact 1 means Ivy will not shut up about how hot Adrian is and uses that fact as motivation to make countless stupid decisions. Fact 2 means Adrian gets to be a jerk to Ivy, repeatedly. And then all of the sudden, they’re In Love. There’s none of the sparkling chemistry or fizzy sexual tension I’ve come to expect from Frost, just a sort of flat, affectless “You’re so hot. I love you”
I listened to the audiobook, which probably didn’t help much. Narrator Tavia Gilbert isn’t bad, exactly, but she certainly didn’t make up for what was lacking in the text. Plus the accent she used for Adrian was just… off.
Title: The Beautiful Ashes
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Rating: 2/5 stars