In the Ascension Series, Caris Roane is creating something that just gets better with each book. It astounds me that someone can take snippets of modern culture, add a bit of legend and lore and then create this wonderful world. The Ascension Series is about more than a world in the throes of change, about more a world fighting to survive. It is about one world and all it's dimensions. About fighting evil and yet not always knowing if what you are doing is working. It's about the bad guys looking better than the good guys.. it's about politics and corruption and bureaucrats and how far people will go to fight evil.
Born of Ashes is the fourth book in this absolutely amazing series and yes it is the best so far. It seems Ms Roane is riding a wave and it is no where near hitting the shore.. I hope it has yet to peak. In Born of Ashes we return to Second Earth and the battle against Greaves, Fiona having been rescued from her status as the oldest blood slave, living or dead, is committed to finding all of Rith's (evil minion of Greaves) slave holdings and destroying them. The rest of her time has been spent in reconnecting with the daughter she lost and had long thought dead. She has no time for such things as the Breh-Hedden (that "mythological" connection that only a few Ascenders have ever obtained), which to her mind was just another form of enslavement. No choice, forced attraction.. undeniable and unreal. The problem is she is crazy about Jean-Pierre, the Warrior who has been assigned as her guardian and who just happens to be her Breh-Hedden. The problem with the Breh-Hedden is that it matches souls, more or less so even while the individuals involved insist upon fighting it.. claiming that it traps them and they have no free will.. they fit. The couples are not destined that implies that they will meet.. but they are the right counterparts for each other..
Jean-Pierre, the sexiest of the Warriors (IMHO) is actually quite young in the grand scheme of things and has only been a Warrior for a couple of centuries and retains much of his first Earth Issues. Namely having been falsely betrayed by his wife, the love of his mortal life, to the French Revolution. He doesn't trust in love and he certainly doesn't want the Breh-Hedden. Oh no, he has seen his fellow Warriors fall and he doesn't want to give anyone that kind of power over him ever again. Assigned to be her guardian by the ever interesting Endelle, he has been wearing himself out fighting Death Vamps and protecting Fiona, who has been making things very difficult for him. Limited personal times by way of twice monthly torture, ok dates..
As they fight their attraction Greaves and company are beginning to play out the fight in the poll of public opinion. While Endelle is a PR nightmare, Greaves has it all figured out. Of course how often is that the case? Look to WWII for example. Greaves, while keeping the ever evil minion Rith close at hand, publicly declares him public enemy Number One.. even going so far as to offer a reward.. jerkface.. We also meet Casimer, a fourth ascender who has been cast out. I guess the upper dimension like to think of the lower ones as penal colonies..
While Fiona and Jean-Pierre resolve their conflicts and learn to work together they discover that Fiona is an Obsidian Flame...yet another "mythological" power that has not been seen in millennium, at least not on Second Earth. As the Obsidian Flame she is part of a triad and the fight to learn her powers and gather the rest of the triad is a race.. Greaves and company want to destroy any power that might help Endelle. Secret 6th level ascenders are sending vague messages that at first look to hurt Endelle's chances. Oh and just to make things interesting.. Fiona connects with a mysterious seer who plays a huge part in this story and I am sure in future ones..
Revenge, mayhem, obsession, love, friendship are the main themes in this book and that is just with the good guys. It is a compelling, fascinating, intriguing and multi layered wonder of words. With each page comes a new twist, with each solution comes a new problem. People that are supposed to be serving good, those that are not considered evil, have agendas.. power, control... and then comes family. I like that this book really speaks on family connections. Thorne's sister, Allyson and Kerrick's baby, Fiona's Daughter, Son-in-Law and grandchildren..
There is so much to see and read in this book it virtually surrounds the senses.. while all that power is being displayed and control is fought over, the delightful decadence of some of the scenes sent shivers up my spine. Sensual lovemaking scenes.. where desire and need collide.. Powerful individuals who maintain control of their worlds learn to let go and let love.
Do I recommend this book? In case you wonder? Oh yeah.. Ms Roane has set her bar high..