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Ember and Ash [Kindle Edition]

Pamela Freeman
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Two peoples have been fighting over the same land for a thousand years. Invaders crushed the original inhabitants, and ancient powers have reluctantly given way to newer magics. But Ember was to change all this with a wedding to bind these warring people together - until her future goes up in flames.

Ember’s husband-to-be is murdered by a vengeful elemental god, who sees peace as a breach of faith. Set on retribution, she enlists the help of Ash, son of a seer. Together they will pit themselves against elementals of fire and ice in a last attempt to end the conflicts that have scarred their past.

They must look to the present, as old furies are waking to violence and are eager to reclaim their people.

Product Description


'EMBER AND ASH is a deftly portrayed study of evil and vengeance' Aurealis 'Freeman's unique setting and compelling characters make for a highly entertaining tale' Publishers Weekly 'I am a fan of Pamela Freeman ...Ember and Ash is a deftly portrayed study of evil and vengence' Aurealis Xpress


EMBER AND ASH is a deftly portrayed study of evil and vengeance (Aurealis )

Freeman's unique setting and compelling characters make for a highly entertaining tale (Publishers Weekly )

I am a fan of Pamela Freeman ...Ember and Ash is a deftly portrayed study of evil and vengence (Aurealis Xpress )

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 658 KB
  • Print Length: 493 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (5 May 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #613,305 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pamela Freeman does it again! 9 Oct. 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Pamela creates a world like no other writer, she has advaced the time and wee ash is all grown up now. All the old characters are back but grown up and loads has happened. Excellent opening just sucks you in, then you cant put it down until you come out the other side smiling.

the development is fastpaced and you are never left feeling like you know what is going to happen, if you think you have figured it out the plot takes a slight twist and ooppss you were wrong, the best writer I have read this year!

Look out for the prequel books, they are also amazing!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the world 8 July 2011
I've never read anything by Pamela Freeman before, and I really love the world she's created here. And, after looking at her website, it seems that her Castings Trilogy books are set in the same world so I may have to give them a read as well.

The world she's created is large and filled with lots of different groups of people. The Travellers are still hated and despised by some of Acton's People, who invaded the Traveller's land to begin with. The land is split into domains which are ruled over by Warlords. The Gods speak to certain people and magic is widely known of. Stonecasting is a well used way to tell the future.

It's a very different world from which we live in and Pamela has written it well. The hatred felt from some of Acton's People toward the Travellers is well known by some, I'm sure. The characters are likeable, and there are loads of them to choose from as well, so many that I'd have trouble picking a favourite. Very well written and a really good read, I definitely recommend it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A decent start for a new series 1 May 2011
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
What Pamela does well in her writing is creating complex plots as well as fully rounded characters to populate her world. Whilst this title is yet again set in the same as her Castings trilogy, things have taken a turn for the worse as the elder gods awaken when mankind begins its quest for fire. Obviously the resulting meddling of these ancients causes all sorts of death and destruction but also unites and begins the quest of the two title characters.

It is well written, the characters vivid and when you add to this the complexities within alongside a good sense of pace and prose left me feeling very full after completing and forced me into taking a couple of days to consider what I'd just read. In certain respects its left me ruined for future authors but it's one that really is going to have to be handled gently as I can see this series quickly becoming bogged down in complexities as well as power. Here's hoping that the series carries on as well as this original tale.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reading 26 April 2011
By Cassie Humphreys - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have always been a sucker for the elements. It's one of the reasons I decided to request this book for review. That said, I think that they have been done to death in some ways and I was a little worried about that going in. Thankfully, I needn't have wasted the energy, because for me, the way the elements have been utilized in this story were refreshing and riveting.

Freeman paints a lush and wondrous world in her book, full of a variety of peoples with rich histories and beliefs. I could get lost in it so easily, and did in fact, charging through this book at lightening pace. I think the world building was pretty phenomenal, and loved the way the elements played into each group, and their beliefs.

I also particularly enjoyed the layers of political/social/religious belief in the story. The main characters come from a background of two peoples, one of which has been subsumed by the other. They have taken some of their beliefs underground, as they are forbidden to share certain knowledge with non Travelers, and this influences heavily on the plot of the novel.

There were an assortment of characters in the book, who all remained true to themselves throughout the novel. Ember is feisty, and marked by the element of Fire, and Ash by Air. They are cousins, but not by blood. Throughout the novel they are drawn closer together; it's a subtle kind of romance. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I was really satisfied with how their interactions played out throughout the novel, though I am sure some will not be.

The secondary characters were all interesting as well, each having their own driving motivations and story lines that were also fulfilled throughout the novel. I particularly enjoyed Cedar's storyline, and the way his character grew - I loved that I could imagine and daydream about these characters lives beyond the novel.

I could spend a lot more time in this world, so will be interested to see whether the author revisits it with other characters and stories. If you love fantasy, magic, escaping the real world, and just good stories in general, you should definitely check this out. I give it a 4 star rating.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars terrific quest fantasy 30 April 2011
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For over a millennium, two races have battled over the Eleven Domains. Ember, the daughter of the Last Domain warlord Arvid and his wife Martine, is to marry another domain's heir to bind these two clans in peace. Only the elemental Fire God is irate with the affront of seeking peace by his followers with another God's followers. Ember's new husband dies in flames and all fires in the land are vanquished unless the new widow agrees to be the deity's lover.

Ember and a seer's offspring Ash begin a quest to travel to Fire Mountain in the land of another warlord the Ice King. There they plan to capture the elemental fire and to bring him home to relight the land. Both know the Ice King will kill them and that the Fire God will do likewise. Failure means the ancient wars will reignite while other dormant elementals begin awakening with a fury.

Taking place in the realm of the Castings, Ember and Ash is a terrific quest fantasy as the hunt for fire awakens the dormant Gods who demand obedience from their subjects, which includes war not peace with other clans in the Eleven Domains. The story line is complicated by following the escapades of other key characters like visits to the Last Domain and the awakening elemental Gods, while Ember and Ash are on their trek. Fans will enjoy returning to the Castings as the "Gods must be angry".

Harriet Klausner
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars try the Castings trilogy by the same author instead 5 July 2013
By Sneaky Burrito - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I had high hopes for Ember and Ash, a standalone set in the same world as Pamela Freeman's Castings Trilogy, which I remember as being fairly good. One of the things I really liked about the Castings Trilogy was its handling of race and the relationship between the native inhabitants and the conquering people. So much fantasy just doesn't get that right, and Pamela Freeman really did get it right in Castings.

I'm sorry to say it, but I was disappointed with Ember and Ash. I hate giving a book from a promising author a low rating, but this book just didn't live up to the precedent set by the Castings Trilogy.

First, some background. Ember is a princess (well, daughter of a warlord) whose husband dies on their wedding day. Ash is the son of her adopted sister, so a nephew, but not a blood relative, though he's about the same age as is Ember. Cedar is Ash's brother. The "Power" Fire made a bargain with Ember's mother at some point in the past, which Ember's mother didn't honor. So Fire takes that element which he controls away from everyone -- except the wedding fire that consumed Ember's husband. We'll get to the details of the loss of fire in a minute, but on to what disappointed me about the plot.

One. It was a quest story. Where a princess who has absolutely no experience living out of doors, or fighting, or running for her life, or doing anything but taking walks and doing embroidery and thinking about her future husband, must travel to the distant north, to a mountain of fire, and take fire from there back to her land to light the hearth fires, the forge fires, etc., that have all gone out because of her mother's broken bargain (this is not really a spoiler because the requirements of the quest are detailed fairly early on in the book). Other than the fire thing, it's just a quest. Of course Ember's father sends a band of warriors with her, as well as Ash and Cedar. I've seen similar quest stories, specifically with Ember-like characters and bands of supporting warriors a lot of times before. While some of the details were unique, the plot device was not.

Two. I didn't think the conflict between Ember's mother and father was handled well. Ember's father, a warlord named Arvid, is a descendant of the race that crossed the mountains and drove Ember's mother's people out of their lands (long ago). And Ember's mother's people kept certain aspects of their culture hidden from the invaders, on pain of death. It makes sense, I suppose. At any rate, Ember's mother's bargain was part of this. Arvid is understandably upset when he finds out that his wife has been keeping secrets from him. But he refuses to talk to her about it; instead, he just orders her around and simmers silently. There are numerous scenes like this. Despite the amount of time devoted to this fight, it just didn't feel authentic because of the way it was eventually resolved (hopefully that's not a spoiler because I don't tell you whether it was a happy ending or a sad ending, and what event caused the resolution). The other conflict was sexual tension between Ember and Ash. Every tine Ash brushes Ember's arm or something, she's SO AWARE OF HIM AS A MAN. It's not very subtle.

Other things just struck me as unbelievable. Once all the fires go out, Arvid sends some people around to spread the news about the reason for this happening. The messengers we follow, Poppy and Larch, ride around and tell people, who -- in my opinion -- are a little too quick to believe their story, which is a little bit outside the realm of these people's day-to-day existence. (Very quickly after the fires go out, not one, but two people suggest "cooking" in compost heaps. In fairness, compost heaps get hot. But that's unsanitary -- and these people come up with the idea almost as soon as the fires go out, instead of really struggling with the concept and practice of not eating cooked food for a few days.)

Couple of annoyances with the writing style:

*The following passage: "Across the river, the land was different. Copses instead of forest, open glades with long grasses buzzing with insects, alive with meadow flowers, poppies and cornflowers and amaranth and, everywhere, the blue of cressbill. There were animals to be seen -- deer and elk grazing, a couple of wild cattle, their auburn coats still shaggy from winter, some ponies, small and sturdy, but looking as wild as the deer." I maintain that it's physically impossible to see that much while standing in one place (I didn't even mention the birds).

*I would've preferred dialogue tags without adverbs (or other modifiers "said with interest," "said with pride"). Would've preferred fewer verbs that were not "said" or "asked." Really good dialogue conveys what it needs to convey with the words alone, and doesn't need all these accessory modifiers. I will say this, though -- you got a sense of accent with certain words ("Mam" for "mother" and "Grammer" for "grandmother," for example.) Enough to get the flavor of the language and the way it was spoken without being beaten over the head with it.

The Ash from the Castings Trilogy is also back (as opposed to the title character Ash, who is a different person). The Power of Water is moving him through time to where he is needed most. Which basically results in him being gone at key times, and then showing up again randomly. I guess this wasn't really his book, and it shows, because he doesn't have much depth as a character here, whereas the events of the previous three books shaped him a lot.

I had hoped that the conflict between the Travelers (e.g. Martine, Ember's mother) and Acton's people (e.g. Arvid, Ember's father) would play a central role as it did in the previous books, but it was reduced to some hair coloring traits and sexual mores, and a lot of name-calling, but that was about it. That's too bad, because like I said earlier, I thought the Castings Trilogy handled race really well.

In the end, "Ember and Ash" is not the best place to become acquainted with Pamela Freeman's writing. Try the Castings Trilogy by the same author, instead.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Titles Can Be Decieving 9 Nov. 2011
By C. Schotter - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book with some high hopes that it would be a good book, I don't buy books that look bad after all. Let's just say I love the book, except for the last 20 -ish pages. In addition, Ember and Ash actually reminds me somewhat of Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn with the elements and the casting of the stones, which is probably another reason I bought it.

The ending of this books leaves a lot to be desired. Do all books get happy endings? Obviously not, but really, to set it up the whole book, including the title, to where you think that all the pieces are coming together and then BAM, you're left thinking WHAT!!!???? I feel like when Edward broke it off with Bella in New Moon and then he went and hooked up with one of the women in the Denali Clan. Heartbreaking misery. Maybe I'm a sucker for happy endings but really who isn't? I know, I know that some of you are going NEVER, not me.. But seriously there's just something about a book that while the ending isn't perfect it does end fairly happily.

The beginning of the book left me a tad confused about Elva and how she's not really Ember's sister blah, blah, blah.. But otherwise I got it. I know some customers didn't understand that. And then throughout the whole book, it repeats; he's not her cousin and someday that might be important... HINT HINT HINT.

Also, I'm not sure that killing off everyone in the quest, but 3 of the original people was necessary. It just seemed like I was then just waiting to see who died next. Let's roll the dice.. Whose up for dying next folks? And our lucky winner is... YOU. Not. Cool. Pamela. Not. Cool.

Another reviewer and I agree about the argument between Martine and Arvid. The argument seemed so forced at times. It just didn't flow well with the book and should hav been left out in my opinion.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story set in a vivid and detailed world 20 Dec. 2012
By Josh - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ember and Ash is a standalone novel set in the world previously established in Freeman's Castings Trilogy. As I haven't yet read these books, I did feel like I was missing something at first. The fantasy world is rich in magic, history and customs and it's clear a lot of time has been spent world building. The elements of magic are really well done, and I loved the idea of `Sight', a gift that some people possess, allowing them to communicate with the gods, or read the future by `casting' (reading stones in a way similar to a Tarot reading). I also really liked that there were two sets of gods in this world; the local gods that more or less stay out of people's lives, and the Powers; older, elemental gods with a habit of meddling and manipulating when the mood takes them. A lot of this information is introduced gradually and naturally, and at no point did I feel overwhelmed with backstory, or like I was being given a history lesson. I imagine this is quite tricky for an author to do; making the world accessible to new readers without bogging the fans down with reiterations, but I thought this balance was just right.

As the blurb suggests, the direction of Ember's life is abruptly changed when the god, Fire, crashes her wedding, toasts her husband-to-be, takes back all the fire in the Domains, and orders her to come to his mountain to steal it back from him - if she dares. The other key players in the book are Ash and Cedar, two brothers who are the sons of Ember's mother's adopted daughter (takes a moment to get your head around, I know). They accompany Ember on her mission, and Cedar quickly became my favourite character.
Also in the mix are Arvid, the warlord of the Last Domain (Ember's father), who struggles to find a way of keeping his kingdom from falling apart, and his people from freezing without fire for the winter; Martine (Ember's mother), a powerful Seer whose secrets cause no shortage of friction; and Poppy (Ash's and Cedar's sister), who must warn the people in the outlying villages of the danger, and search for a way to protect them from the encroaching winter.

I found it interesting that we also get to know the people of the Ice King's Country, a people who have barely enough food to survive, freeze every day of their lives, and who have been raiding and warring with the people of the Domains for years. The new generation of leaders under the Ice King hope to improve their situation by trading with the warlords from the Domains, rather than carrying on the endless fighting. However, the two have been at war for so long, and many on both sides still harbour resentment and hatred for the other that you just know things aren't going to go smoothly.
In this way, though, we're able to sympathise with both sides. There's nothing that annoys me more than a story that makes the `bad guys' evil just for the sake of giving the `good guys' someone to kill. There's none of that here, and everyone has a clear and valid motivation for doing what they do. It also becomes clear that not everyone can get what they're after, and it was this aspect above all else that I felt really made the story for me.

At this point, I feel I need to state that this is not a high action story. While there are some action scenes and intense moments, if you go into it expecting lots of epic battles and magic spells flying all over the place, you're going to be disappointed. This is a character-driven story, with romance sub-plots. Even the journey to the mountain itself does not seem hurried. But the world is so well crafted, and Freeman takes the time to paint the world with such vivid descriptions of the locations, that I found myself wanting to slow down and spend a bit more time to really appreciate each location. And the writing itself is no less compelling for its lack of action. At times I found myself re-reading sections because they were so beautifully crafted, and the settings so fascinating. If you're happy to read the book in this way, taking it at a slower pace, and letting the author lead you through it, I think you will really enjoy it.

The one downside I found with this book was that it took me a little while to fall in love with the characters. This might be because I haven't read the Castings Trilogy, where some of the older generation characters first appear, and having a connection with them would probably make it easier to slip into the world in the beginning. There was also a lot of jumping around to the different characters, introducing them all and their individual missions, that I found a bit frustrating initially. I wanted to stay with Ember's party, so leaving it to follow a minor character every other chapter got on my nerves slightly. This happens less and less as the book goes on, and, to be fair, is necessary to the story, so by the end when all the threads are tied together very neatly, I was willing to forgive the author for this.

A few reviews I've seen have complained about the ending, but I'd like to say I was very satisfied with it. I won't spoil anything, but I think to end it in any other way would have been disrespectful to the characters and to the author's world that has been so lovingly and meticulously crafted.

As a writer, I've learned a lot from this book, it's given me some valuable lessons on pacing and character development. I've read a bit about the Castings Trilogy, and after thoroughly enjoying Ember and Ash, I will definitely be seeking out more of Pamela Freeman's past books, and following her work in the future.

Beautifully written
Main characters are compelling
Great world-building, filled with history and customs that make it come alive

Took me a while to get into
Some of the minor characters added very little

4.5 / 5
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