Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Series: Burn For Burn (#1) | Fire With Fire (#2)
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon
I was so unbelievably excited to read this book. Fire With Fire was one of my favourite books of the year and I needed to know what happened next. I’d seen a couple of reviews floating around Goodreads about how rushed the ending was and how it wasn’t as great as the other book in the series, but I refused to believe this would be the case. How could it be when Fire With Fire had been SO GOOD? But boy oh boy was I proven wrong. Ashes to Ashes was rushed and the ending was straight up ridiculous. What we have here, ladies and gentleman, is a perfect example of wasted potential.
(Disclaimer: you should still read this series if you haven’t because the first two books are 5 star reads and totally worth it, but just prepare yourself for a disappointing ending.)
I have every intention of ranting now about why this was not what I wanted it to be and where, I think, the pit falls lie. This review will contain spoilers, so if you haven’t read the series then you may want to come back later to let off some steam too. If you have no intention of reading this series then enjoy, because the RANT BEGINS NOW.
Okay, so the first half was okay. (Seriously, that’s the best adjective I can think of.) It wasn’t to the same standard of the first book especially considering it was literally just been revealed that MARY’S BEEN A GHOST THIS ENTIRE TIME, WHAT THE HECK, CAN EVERYONE BE MORE FREAKED OUT ABOUT THIS PLEASE.
But no, because although we, the readers, know that Mary’s a ghost Kat and Lillia don’t find out until the very end – even though you’d think that they’d be like, “hey, we haven’t seen our other BFF Mary in a while, I wonder what happened to her? Let’s actually make an effort to hunt her down and get some answers.” And when they do find out, from reading some occult books and putting the pieces together in Kat’s case and actually seeing ghost Mary is Lilia’s they start to do some witchy, spell casting mumbo jumbo and don’t even think to question how ridiculous this all is. Suffice to say the blend of paranormal and contemporary did not work as well as it was supposed to. I’ve read quite a few teen thriller’s with the same kind of plot and the supernatural elements are always explained away, and often I’m annoyed about this because why can’t it be a supernatural case. Well, Ashes to Ashes showed me why supernatural forces shouldn’t be the only explanation. Because it’s freakin’ stupid, that’s why.
WHAT THE HECK WAS THE EPILOGUE. For goodness sake! Alex literally – literally – says I’m over Lillia to Kat and I won’t be waiting when this thing with Reeve doesn’t work out to Lillia. WHY THEN IS HE HER BOYFRIEND/FUTURE HUSBAND IN THE EPILOGUE. This literally makes no sense! Alex is spineless and can’t see a toxic girl who doesn’t really love him and Lillia is a girl who wants to have her cake and eat it too and is so infuriatingly perfect because she gets everything she’s ever wanted. I’d even started to like Lillia but then she just turned out to be a classic Jenny Han stock character. Nothing special here, folks. Reeve was blatantly the perfect guy and no I will not accept their break up being explained away by some stupid throw away line about them only coming together because of Rennie’s death anyway. No, it’s mentioned multiple times that Reeve’s always loved Lillia and never loved Rennie and it’s obvious from the way that she acts that Lillia loved Reeve AND NOT, I REPEAT NOT Alex. I reject this epilogue whole-heartily.
Also, what a lame ending for Kat. Yeah yeah, New York suited her, but what was the point of all that build up for getting into Oberlin. Was all that tension and revelation for nothing? Why did Lillia end up being the star of the show anyway. If Lillia got the
stupid perfect ending, why couldn’t more emphasis be put on the rest of Kat’s life. I absolutely hated how they brushed off Reeve’s entire life with a sentence. IT WAS SO RUSHED.
I did like some elements of this book, don’t get me wrong. Whenever Lillia and Reeve were together I basically had heart palpitations it was so romantic. The authors worked so hard for us to fall in love with Reeve – and I did – after presenting him as a right dick, only to reveal he was just misunderstood and Mary had the wrong idea all along, and then to just cut him out seemed unresolved. If you wanted Lil to end up with Alex, at least make it clearer from the beginning that that was your end goal.
To be honest, this would have been a fantastic ending had the epilogue been scraped/ rewritten so that Reeve and Lillia get the happy ending the deserved and if Mary had actually got some closure. There was no confrontation. I needed and Reeve to talk it out big time and come to a resolution. Uh, I’m so annoyed at how much potential was wasted here.
RANT OVER. Phew, I can breathe again! Now excuse me, whilst I try and eliminate that terrible terrible epilogue from my memory and replace it with my own re-written version.
8 thoughts on “(Spoiler) Review: Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian”
Hello, I just finished this trilogy (a few years later), and I have to say I agree completely with your review. I feel like the fans should write their own epilogue where Reeve and Lilia end up together and he doesn’t get hurt playing football again. I feel like Kat should have gone to Oberlin especially after everything she went through to get in and she should have ended up with Alex because they were honestly perfect for each other. Alex should have become something through his lyrics and music. Mary should have gotten better closure. Also perhaps including something about Ash, PJ, and Derek. Also I felt like the characters were similar to the characters in Jenny Han’s other book series “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”, specifically Lilia, Reeve, Nadia, and Alex.
Honestly, I wanted Alex and Lil to end up together from the beginning. Alex is the perfect guy and Lili is the perfect girl=awesome couple. Reeve is a big jerk and what did to Mary should not be forgiven. Period.
but they had ZERO CHEMISTRY while Lillia and Reeve’s chemistry was off the charts it was so strong. Alex should have ended up with Kat. UGH
The ending was just ugh for me. I wanted Alex and Lillia together in the beginning but I truly believe at the end that Lillia and Reeve belong together. Reeve loves her dearly, I think from the first day he set his eyes on her he know she was special. Alex and Kat should have ended up together. The ending was blah. I felt sad after finishing the book.
I totally agree with you! I personally hated the ending and I think it was rushed. There wasn’t even an epilogue necessary. It was way shorter than the second book. I personally would have loved if they took a little bit more time after the fire. How they go to the hospital together, how Lilia would say she will always stay with Reeve etc.
I will try to forget this ending, but it will be hard. Maybe we should ask if they can rewritten it? Because this was horrible.
I think the ending was great. It was sad, and it wasn’t what you’d want to happen, but it felt very real. It’s what would have happened. Like Joss Whedon says, the audience gets what they need, not what they want.
Reeve and Lillia would never have survived highscool. He said himself that he had no illusions about playing for the NFL, he wasn’t that good. So they enter a long distance relationship, but what does he truly have to offer her? She’s a filthy rich princess, he was always going to be stuck on the island working for his dad. It’s hard enough to stay together through college without Reeve’s insecurities kicking in to ruin the relationship. So, they would have broken up regardless.
Whether or not Alex and Lillia would have ended up together is a different question, but it makes sense. They aren’t the kids in the books, they’ve had several years to grow up, find their own paths and then meet again. When they meet, they still have all those experiences in common, they knew Rennie, they went through that crazy senior year together. It would feel like home to Lillia. And at that point maybe she’s learned to value home more than crazy love.
It also makes sense that Lillia wouldn’t go into depth as to what’s happened with Reeve. He told her (rightfully so) that he wouldn’t stay friends with her. So why should she develop into a stalker who obsessively follows his life? She makes the right choice staying away from him, so by the time she’s telling the epilogue he’s a distant bittersweet memory to her.
It would have been nice to know more about Kat, but I feel like the book gave her a happy ending. First Shep and then her dad dying gave her the chance to truly get off the island forever. Even Pat gets off the island. That was always the most important thing for her.
I completely agree with the first reviewer. I feel totally cheated in this book! I loved the first two though was not thrilled she ended up a ghost but adjusted. And then got to book 3 felt Lillia and Reeve were the end game since nowhere in there did Lillia have feelings for Alex, at all! Then the ending supremely disappointed me. It made them seem like callous teens because they both betrayed Rennie for nothing or at least that is what it seems when you read the end. What a waste of potential in this book! Total waste
honestly i agree with this review i stard with the books a couple of days ago and that end was WTF, i was so dissapointed with mary and reeve and kat ending