Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian Review

Saturday, 18 April 2015
Ashes to Ashes (Burn for Burn #3), by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Publication: September 16, 2014, by Simon and Schuster
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Paranormal
Pages: 387
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

New Year's Eve ended with a bang and Mary, Kat and Lillia may not be prepared for what is to come.After Rennie's death, Kat and Lillia try to put the pieces together of what happened to her. They both blame themselves. If Lillia hadn't left with Reeve... If Kat had only stayed with Rennie... Things could have been different. Now they will never be the same.Only Mary knows the truth about that night. About what she is. She also knows the truth about Lillia and Reeve falling in love, about Reeve being happy when all he deserves is misery, just like the misery he caused her. Now their childish attempts at revenge are a thing of the past and Mary is out for blood. Will she leave anything in her wake or will all that remain be ashes?

What the hell. WAS THAT. I'm not saying that this was bad or disliking in any way, I MEAN, WHAT WAS THAT WHIRLWIND OF A ROLLER COASTER RIDE? And also, why the hell are people hating on this gorgeous piece of literature? I'm telling you right here, that Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian have never done it better. They don't deserve any rants or any signs of garbage coming at them, because of some sort of "ugly ending" that I don't see at all, whatsoever. Can I just sit here, pretending that Goodreads isn't clogged with all of those negative reviews? Let's move on, and let me just say that this was one of the best books that I've ever read, and it certainly sparks up onto me as one of the best finales to a trilogy, or to any series that has ever climbed into my eager hands.

For the time being, I can tell you that it was love at first sight. From the first chapter to the last, it was a never-ending roller coaster ride that really messed up my feelings and emotions. I fell in love with the plot right away and I kept telling everyone around me that my heart is racing. I never have been this excited and anxious to let my feelings about a book out for a long time, and now here's my raving moment where I'm just about ready to explode. Every single masterful thing written in this book was meaning something, and I just never wanted to let anything leave out of the gorgeous pages that introverted into my heart. 

Back in 2012 when the first book in the series was released, Burn for Burn, I picked it up as soon as it hit the shelves because at the time, I had been loving Jenny Han's other series and I wanted more, obviously. Little did I know that this would become a paranormal series by the end, as there were barely any hints given to us through the first two books but I can tell you that suspense and plot twists were two elements that both Han and Vivian are masters of. It's been more than a year and a half since I last put down the sequel to this one and I've always been thinking about what had happened to Rennie. Doesn't that tell you something? How often does a book's events stay in your mind? For me, if it's memorable, it can last a lifetime I'm sure, and the whole series is going to stick with me forever.

"A fiery anger begins to simmer inside me. I used to hate feeling angry. I used to fear it. Except now... it feels good. It feels like something."
This took off right where the sequel left us with. We're currently at Rennie's funeral, and Kat and Lillia can't seem to believe what's happening, and they feel like they have something to do with her death. Mary's also there, and she's witnessing it all, first thinking that it's her funeral. Later on, Lillia is mistaking her feelings with Reeve, and she doesn't know what to feel since it's absolutely forbidden in her case after Rennie's death. It's their senior year, and graduation is coming up, and everyone's trying to figure out what they'd like to do with their futures, but the only thing on Mary's mind is revenge and Lillia and Kat are stopped from following the mainstream, at least for now.

What this book has done to me is something unlike the usual situation with a 5 star read. I was sitting on my bed for 20 minutes, trying to figure out what my feelings were doing with me, and what the rating I should give this. It's no excuse to say that I shouldn't give this 5 stars. If my conscience told me that, I literally would've thought that it was messed up. Although yes, there had been some things that frustrated me, like Mary's character, everything in the end was perfect and it made up for all of the mishaps and tweaks needed. We started off this series with a 5 star rating, and we end it off with a 5 star rating. That definitely shows you how two fabulous authors can achieve something remarkable with just a thought that was shared over eating cupcakes, as the best ideas usually do.

"Years from now this will be what I remember when I remember my spring break senior year. Not the missed trip to Jamaica, or not being invited on Alex's yacht with all my friends. It will be this moment right here. The smell of chlorine on his skin. The way the sun dips slow into the water before it disappears. The first time I ever told a boy I loved him."
The pacing and everything about this plot was angelic and illusional. It's rare to find a book that puts you in a situation where you feel like you're burning into ashes because of your happiness, but in this case, I got all of that right in a matter of a few hours. The book made me want to devour and read this slowly, as I know it's my last chance to read a story of three girls who I can totally relate to and who I see as the best protagonists with different personalities and actions that they plan to do those those who they love and hate. Han and Vivian sucked me into the world of Lillia, Mary and Kat instantly, and I wasn't let out until the epilogue, where the questions were answered.

I honestly feel like I'm dying inside. The ending was so sad, but amazing and remarkable at the same time. I expected everything to end off differently, but we have achieved a classic ending where it all seemed right. There was some action as we all knew would come with Lillia, Kat and Reeve against Mary, who truly unlocked her sense of authority and power over everyone as she thought that her case of revenge gave her the allowance to be stubborn and use who she was against everyone else, including the two best friends who always were there for her. I just have to get my feelings of the ending out of me, or else I'll be stuck in this world for the rest of my life!
"He's alive. He's free. We all are. Because whatever Mary was in the end, she saved us."
Lillia had to be my favourite girl out of the three. Over the past three books, I have to tell you that she's changed and learned the most from them all. She's become confident, where she's now able to let her feelings and words be said without a bossy chick going over her. She demands to be in power, and she's looking for love. She's dealt with it now, of course, and Reeve's changed her, and she knows that the time to move on is the right time for her. I love her attitude, and her perspective was my favourite to read, where her leadership oozed my heart.

Kat has grown up from an immature reckless chick to someone who's been through so much but is there for her friends. Hey, she proves that she doesn't need a man in her life to be happy, and you can definitely see her obedience and connection to Lillia throughout the novel. You call Kat, she'll be parked on your driveway with a cup of coffee ready for you. She was loyal and most of all, she didn't care about the revenge anymore. It was like fate put her and Lillia in that revenge situation to find each other as they never had given each other a chance in the past.

And Mary? Well, through the middle of the book I would've told you that I hated her, but she was lost in her own world as well. She was a total mystery, and though she thought that she knew it all and what was really going on in her life, she didn't, but it was okay, as the other girls proved. Her authority went a little savaged and out of control, but I guess that's what happens when you're lonely and you don't give other experiences a chance. Of course, guilt and sorrow is what came out of Reeve and the girls in the end, and she needed it to make her stronger. Her ending was absolutely open, and I guess it all goes depending on your opinion of her to see what actually happened.

Some would agree to call this a chick-lit, or a contemporary-romance, but I believe that the contemporary and the romance absolutely stem away from each other. Yes, the novel had tons of romance (and kisses) in it, but the romance proved the strength of the characters and it was all about fate and the situation. Lillia and Reeve were really something else, I adored them together. And yeah, Lillia found herself in a love triangle with both Reeve and Alex, but I saw Alex more of a supporting friend who will always love Lil in a 'sister' way. Though in the end, everything was quite open, I feel that the connection had never subsided and left them. Reeve will always look at Lil and see a glint of the opal necklace that he bought her, and Lil will always see the fire in Reeve's eyes. But that's another thing to talk about—it was all real. 

Happily ever afters? Not so much, if you really think about it. And that leads me to my last thought, where I'm telling you that this was unlike anything else I've ever read because although it is a fantasy, it's real as well. I can picture this happening in reality, and all of the events even changed my viewpoint of the way I see friendship and love. This was the normal way of seeing things, which gets us to realize that these characters are just teenagers, who had been in the wrong situation at the wrong time, but they surely had gotten something from it. 

"What we had was perfect, and it was finite in the way that all good things are. Nothing gold can stay. I take off the necklace Reeve gave me and then I cry until the sun comes up. For what could have been and what will never be."

And that sends thick tears into my eyes, because the impossible is barely possible. And the authors got that.

This wasn't a miserable read, if you're kind of getting that from what I'm trying to say. This book was perfectly fabulous and gorgeous, and every time my eyes blink, I see ashes, ashes of what could've came out of this book, but then I realize, there's nothing else or else it wouldn't have been real. I won't even try to explain to you what this one meant to me, because it was truly something else. Reeve, Lillia, Kat, Mary, Alex, and even Rennie will always stay as real people, real characters in my heart who are walking on this Earth today. And maybe, just maybe, we're all one of them. Love's powerful, guys, but it can always change your fate.

What's the most recent book that you've read where you cried?

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