In Ashes Lie: The Onyx Court (Book 2)
by Marie Brennan
“The year is 1666. The King and Parliament vie for power, fighting one another with politics and armies alike. Below, the faerie court has enemies of its own. The old ways are breaking down, and no one knows what will rise in their place.
But now, a greater threat has come, one that could destroy everything. In the house of a sleeping baker, a spark leaps free of the oven – and ignites a blaze that will burn london to the ground. While the humans struggle to halt the conflagration that is devouring the city street by street, the fae pit themselves against a less tangible foe: the spirit of the fire itself, powerful enough to annihilate everything in its path.
Mortal and fae will have to lay aside the differences that divide them, and fight together for the survival of London itself…”
Even before reading Midnight Never Come, I knew that I wanted to read the entire series, thanks to The Memoir of Lady Trent Series (A Natural History of Dragons, The Tropic of Serpents, Voyage of the Basilisk and In the Labyrinth of Drakes so far). So when Marie Brennan was selling some books due to moving house, I went and bought the copy of In Ashes Lie that she was selling! Obviously, once I finished Midnight Never Come, I started In Ashes Lie pretty much straight away.
In Ashes Lie is set in the years 1639-1666, Lune is faerie queen of the Onyx Court with Anthony Ware and John Ellin as the Prince of Stone (at two different points of time). Still set in London, Charles I is on the throne but time is running out before the Civil War, leading into the Commonwealth and then the Restoration of Charles II, followed by the Plague and Great Fire. Anthony Ware is an alderman of London and wants to become an Member of Parliament when parliament is called, while John Ellin is a doctor who cares for pretty much anyone who needs him. Lune and the Onyx Court are struggling against onslaught after onslaught from Nicneven, the Gyre-Carling of Fife, as well as dealing with the struggles in the mortal realm.
I still think Lune is my favourite character of all of them. Still followed by the Goodemeade sisters, but with them are Anthony Ware, John Ellin and Irrith. I love seeing the different mortal-fae relationships and how different mortals can have such an impact, also Irrith, being an outsider, is such an interesting character and I hope to see more of her in further books. All the characterisations are great, the relationships are fabulous and the long term ones are already solid while the ones that develop over the book develop naturally.
In Ashes Lie had plenty of twists and turns that kept me turning those pages, although I did read it over 3 weeks (see previous post), I would have read it a lot quicker if everything had not been going on. It made me tense, scared, sad and happy in all the right places, I definitely cried at one (maybe two) point(s). It was interesting to see how everything played out when I knew the overall historical aspect and how the characters were going to react to each thing.
My favourite part was a lot of it! I loved finding out more about bits of history that I knew about but we do not get taught much at school. I also loved that the Great Fire parts were timed to the hour so you knew how quickly the fire was spreading and what was happening pretty much by the minute. The Charles I, Commonwealth and Reformation parts were good, but every now and again I found that I was not that drawn into the story.
I think that may have been due to the chopping and changing of the timeline, so I was not quite sure where I was supposed to be within the story. This is my only negative, and is completely personal to me.
In Ashes Lie does end on a cliffhanger, this is because The Onyx Court series continues in A Star Shall Fall which is re-published in Mid-September.
The way I described the book while reading it was historical fiction and fantasy at the same time, as it is set in Stuart London with fae. The only fault I found was with the jumping timeline and would recommend it to anyone. 4 out of 5.