Book Review: The Unflinching Ash by Angela Armstrong

Rating: ★★★★
RRP Paperback: $25.00 NZD

Goodreads Synopsis:

In a world like ours, Mystics once ruled the night. Well, so long as they were men. On Ash’s day of naming, she chose the Mystic path nonetheless. The same illusions that garner gasps of awe from the lamp-lit crowds earn her scorn from the basilica. There is only one way forward: a perilous quest – earn the Queen’s Seal, a badge of honour, and immunity. She’ll simply have to avoid being hanged, burned or drowned first.

First of all I’d like to give a huge thank you to the author, Angela Armstrong, for giving me not only an electronic copy of The Unflinching Ash, but also the beautiful physical copy you see in the photo above. (Seriously, how does any book have the right to be this gorgeous?)

Diving straight in, this book was fantastic! I really found myself enjoying it the whole way through. The Unflinching Ash tells the story of Ash, a female Mystic (kind of like a modern day illusionist or escape artist) who strives to win the Queens favour and gain protection from those who seek to harm her from within the bigoted and cruel Church. This book was full of grit and perfectly timed humour, but also touched on some very heavy topics. I absolutely loved it.

I found the beginning a little bit slow and confusing, but it didn’t take long before I got myself situated within the world and the story really took off. I loved the writing style and felt it fit perfectly with the world and the characters that Armstrong built. Speaking of which, I fell hard for these characters! Especially Ash and her love interest, Ren. This book is perfect for those who enjoy a bit of romance within the plot, but aren’t looking for it to completely over power the story.

Ash herself was a total badass and I kind of wish I was more like her. She’s completely headstrong and sure of herself (even if sometimes my introverted ass was screaming “PLEASE DON’T DO ANYTHING STUPID!”). I just found it hard to sit back and relax when she wouldn’t take help from anyone… but I mean, if I was as much of a badass as she is, I probably wouldn’t need any either.

The fact that the author drew a lot of inspiration from real historical events made a lot of what I read a whole lot more harrowing, but I loved seeing our girl, Ash, navigate through these situations and come out stronger.

Over all, this book was amazing. I really loved it. I think the characters were just *chefs kiss* perfection and I’d definitely pick up another book if it meant seeing more of them in the future (please, Angela… PLEASE? CAN WE HAVE MORE?!)

Why I Will Never Use An Electronic Reading Device

I can already hear what you e-book lovers are about to say! “But it’s so much easier” you’d protest. “What if you’re traveling?!” you’d scream, “You have hundreds of books right there in the palm of your hand!”

Well, as a girl who happily lugged at least 10+ books (yes, mostly hard covers) back from her last trip to America, I can assure you, I cannot relate. Physical books rock my world and I will never use, buy or borrow an electronic reading device. You can’t make me and below are a few reasons why!

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Smelling The Pages

Yeah, ok, don’t act like you’re above it! If you’re an avid reader, chances are you either do, or have done this at some point. But I cannot help but fan through the pages of a book, my nose pressed right up against the edges, breathing in that glorious ‘new book smell.’ Although ‘old book smell’ also has its merits, it isn’t quite the same for me. Perhaps it stems from my very real love of book stores, who knows. Speaking of which…

Perusing Book Stores

Have you ever stepped into a book store and had the overwhelming smell of ink on pages greet your sense? Because I have and it’s amazing. Not to mention, buying physical copies of books from your local book store helps keep them in business. There is nothing quite like spending hours in a book store perusing the shelves for your next read, or, lets be honest here, the next book you’re going to throw on that ever growing TBR (to be read) pile that you may or may not get to before you die of old age or it falls and crushes you to death.

The Feeling

Ok, so I might be getting a little pompous about it all here, but come on, the act of getting more than half way through a book and being able to feel when the pages you’ve read get thicker than the pages waiting to be read is the best. I don’t want to be told what percentage of the way through a book I am. I WANNA FEEL IT. The physical act of turning the pages is perfection and I will not give it up!

Also, what bookworm do you know that doesn’t carry a book with them everywhere they go?! That comforting thud, thud, thud of the heavy book whacking against your side because your bag is now 10x heavier than it should be, is glorious.

Public Libraries

LIBRARIES! Aren’t they the best!? Whether at home or at a dedicated establishment, libraries are just THE BEST. But public libraries are special! Much like second hand book stores, it’s nice to ponder at who read the book before you! What did they think of it? Did they dog ear like a savage and not use a bookmark? Did they spill coffee or accidentally smear orange Cheeto dust on one of the pages? It’s like a murder mystery only without the murder! Unless someone does the aforementioned savagery to your personal home library books, in which case, I have a tarp and a shovel.

So you see, physical books are the best. I won’t deny that there are merits in using an e-reader, but they just aren’t for me! I won’t judge you though, go ahead and use your soulless brick. In all seriousness though, read on whatever you like! At the end of the day, at least we’re all reading, right?