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Ashes and Ice (Ashes and Ice, #1)

Ashes and Ice (Ashes and Ice, #1) - Rochelle Maya Callen BookNook — Young Adult book reviews2.5 StarsI think Ashes and Ice is a solid case of "not for me". Although it wasn't a perfect book overall, the main reason I'm giving this book 2.5 stars is because the plot took a direction that ultimately isn't in line with my personal tastes. I never fully connected with the characters or the plot, and while part of that is due to faults in the book, I think a large part is just because of me.Let's start off with Jade. I had kind of a love/hate relationship with Jade. The chapters from Jade's point of view never interested me in the slightest. Her thoughts always felt so fragmented, disjointed, and she always spent so much time worrying about her lost memories and the thoughts that haunted her (which, to be fair, makes sense), that I never got a good sense of who she was. But when I read from Connor's perspective, Jade felt like a completely different person. It felt like 90% of Jade's dialogue was only 'seen' from Connor's perspective, and it was always awesome. In Connor's chapters, Jade is portrayed as a very eloquent, put-together, kick ass, take-no-bullshit kind of girl, and I LOVED her. But I never got that impression of her when I was actually reading from her point of view."If you had any sense," Courtney says brushing her hair back, "you'd be trying to hang out with us.""I'm sorry," Jade's voice is calm, almost monotone. "I did not realize I was welcome to sit with the whores and perverted bastards of the school. The invitation is noted. [..] I prefer to spend my time with decent, intelligent human beings, [..] not with dumb wenches who open their legs to whatever male walks by—""You bitch!"Jade smirks—a devious and oh so sexy look."Or," Jade eyes Dominic head to toe with half-open, bored eyes before continuing, "Sorry excuses for men that only know how to think with one head—and not the one above their shoulders."—Jade from Connor's point of view, Ashes and Ice by Rochelle Maya CallenThen, towards the second half of the book, Jade started to really frustrate and annoyed me overall like when she started lusting after douchebag Dominic. Now, in context, it does make sense that Jade would frustrate me, but I just couldn't relate to her on the level that I wanted. It's hard to explain without spoilers, but ultimately, I felt like it could have been written in a different way that would make me sympathize with Jade more.Obviously a huge part of this story is the big mystery. Why can't Jade remember anything? Who is she? Why was she covered in blood? Why does she get violent, creepy thoughts? But what frustrated me is that this remains a mystery up until like the 85% mark. I just got a little sick of Jade moping around, wondering who she is, but seemingly never making any progress on that front. It made the book feel a little fragmented and confusing, and I never had a clear idea of where it was heading. And then when we finally got the big reveal, that's when the "not in line with my personal tastes" aspect kicked in. I almost don't know how to tell you why I don't like it.. because ultimately there isn't really an explicable reason. It's just not something that really interests me. And the new characters that are introduced at the end felt very half developed, at best. To be fair, it was so obviously the start of a series, so I'm sure they'll be developed more in later books.. but it just left me a little unsatisfied.Let's talk about the love interest. A romance develops between Jade and Connor, and while it definitely had its sweet moments, I never felt like it was as developed as it claimed to be. For starters, when the book began I honestly thought Connor was a girl. The way he talked about high school life sucking, and being invisible, and wanting to be with the popular kids, just made him seem like an insecure teenage girl. Once he became friends with Jade, that toned down a lot, which is good.I wouldn't say that Connor and Jade's relationship is insta-love, but it does develop too quickly, and I think this is a result of the short length of the book (258 pages). When their relationship started almost transitioning from friendship to romance, I thought it was pretty sweet and that they were cute together. But then, suddenly, they're thinking about how they love each other. It's like the romance just jolted forward and I never quite caught up to it. I think the romance would have been a lot better if the book was longer and if the relationship had more time to properly develop. Connor and Jade were friends for a while before they loved each other, but they were never really "boyfriend and girlfriend" in between those stages.For me, Ashes and Ice was an okay book, but I think people who are better able to connect to Jade and the romance will enjoy it a lot more.

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