Book Review: Kingdom of Ashes by Elena May

Reviewed by Yasmine Lewis

Kingdom of Ashes is a young adult novel of around 530 pages. In this novel, the reader discovers the world post-nightfall, where the earth and its new technologies, such as the WeatherWizard which controls the weather, have been taken over by vampires. The New World forced humans into hiding for decades, and a Resistance was formed. The main focus of the novel is Myra, a young woman who, passionate about art, culture and history, goes on a mission on behalf of the Resistance.

The dystopian novel takes the reader on a journey through Myra’s mind, we come to understand her innocence, but also her abilities as a human to be compassionate. Of course, humanity is key in this novel, by dealing with vampires, the reader sees how the rivalry between humans and vampires evolved since the Nightfall, when vampires massacred humans and ruled over the earth. Myra will come to blur these lines in the novel.

Although the novel has a few clichés, they are not overpowering and they fit into the narrative. Elena May manages to create a plot that has its unexpected turns and will surprise you. The novel is also filled with anecdotes on the history of the world and on the vampires’ pasts as humans before they were turned. The story lines are well founded and there are no loose ties. The characters are well thought out, and we get a perspective on all the characters, whether from a human or a vampire, which is always a plus.

The book is also easy to read, full of vivid descriptions that keep you interested. I have read a few vampire stories but Kingdom of Ashes is one of the best, it’s not your typical romance story between human and vampire, it’s slightly more complicated. Myra and Vladimir both seem to learn from each other and play with their strengths and weaknesses to get to their goals. They have an interesting but also weird chemistry going on, which I liked. The relationship the characters with each other are all peculiar in a way and Elena May knows how to play on that to set her story.

It is quite a long novel but the sentences are short so it doesn’t feel like it takes ages to get to the point. I really enjoyed reading it, especially near the end, the plot unravels faster and keeps you hooked on the story. The ending was also unexpected, so I will most definitely read the second one when it comes out.


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