Book Review: Only Ashes Remain by Rebecca Schaeffer

Book: Only Ashes Remain by Rebecca Schaeffer

Published September 2019 by HMH Books For Younger Readers|432 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Market Of Monsters #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

After escaping her kidnappers and destroying the black market where she was held captive, all Nita wants is to find a way to live her life without looking over her shoulder. But with a video of her ability to self-heal all over the dark web, Nita knows she’s still a prime target on the black market.

There’s only one way to keep herself safe.

Nita must make herself so feared that no one would ever dare come after her again. And the best way to start building her reputation? Take her revenge on Fabricio, the boy who sold Nita to her kidnappers. But killing Fabricio is harder than Nita thought it would be, even with Kovit by her side. Now caught in a game of kill or be killed, Nita will do whatever it takes to win.

I was really excited about Only Ashes Remain, and it ended up being an okay book.  I didn’t like it as much as Not Even Bones, to the point that I’m not sure if I want to finish the series and see how it all ends.

Usually I finish a series if I make it past the first book, but I was pretty uninterested in what was going on.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Nita in the first book, and in this one?  She was really frustrating.  I get her need to take revenge on Fabricio, but as it would turn out, she was so very wrong about everything that had happened.  There’s a lot that she didn’t realize or see, and I wonder if being at home so much hurt her.

Nita is pretty naive, but that makes sense considering the world she lives and how she grew up.  She trusted the wrong people, and was so focused on going after Fabricio that she didn’t realize the real danger until it was too late.  I don’t know that I would have acted any differently if I were her, and I did like seeing her finally figure things out.

I don’t really have strong thoughts about any of the characters.  Kovit is interesting, and I want to know more about him.  Kovit and Nita have a lot to work out but hopefully they’ll be able to agree to disagree.  It felt like everyone was just…there, and even though we meet quite a few people along the way, I could not begin to tell you anything about them.  I couldn’t even tell you names, much less anything about them.  That’s how little they stuck out.  It’s also been a few days since I’ve finished the book, so that might be part of it too.

I was so curious to see what would happen next, and now I’m not sure if I even want to know how things work out for Nita, Fabricio and Kovit.  I just wasn’t into this book, which is sad because I was so interested in reading it.  Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood for it, or maybe I just wasn’t into this book.  Either one is possible, and I’m thinking it’s a little bit of both.  I wish I had more to say about this one, but I don’t.

2 stars.  Only Ashes Remain was just okay, and even though I like the world Nita lives in, I just don’t know if I want to keep reading.

Book Review: Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

Book: Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

Published September 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|368 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Market Of Monsters #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed.

Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far.

But when she tries to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold on the black market in his place — because Nita herself is a supernatural being. Now Nita is on the other side of the bars, and there is no line she won’t cross to escape and make sure no one can ever capture her again.

Nita did a good deed, and it cost her everything. Now she’s going to do a lot of bad deeds to get it all back.

I really liked Not Even Bones!  I was intrigued by the plot, and I went through this book pretty fast because I wanted to keep reading.

I thought Nita was interesting.  I don’t know if I like her- I haven’t quite decided on that yet- but her character was an interesting one.  I mean, she can heal herself, in a world that doesn’t look kindly upon people with unnatural abilities.  Yes, she helps her mother by dissecting magical creatures so her mother can sell them on the black market, and yes, she realizes that there is no line she won’t cross to get her life back to normal.

She had lines she wouldn’t cross, and ends up throwing all of that out the window once she ends up on the black market.  I don’t know if I like her but I really want to see what she’ll do to get her life back to where she wants it.

I really want to know more about Fabricio and her mom.  Fabricio pops up at the beginning and the end, so who knows what he’s doing for most of the book?  What’s he really up to?  Whatever it is, I hope we find out.

As for her mom, selling her to the black market seems like something she would do.  What happened to her mom, and will we ever find out if she’s dead or alive?  We definitely find out what happened to her dad, but her mom?  What’s she been doing since Nita got taken?  I have so many questions about her, and I hope at least some of them get answered.

I did like Kovit, though.  I wasn’t sure about him for a while, but he’s a pretty cool character.  I like that he won’t hurt friends or family, and I want him to be okay.  He definitely grew on me, and he and Nita have a pretty interesting but understandable agreement/relationship.

I’m hoping there isn’t a love triangle.  There isn’t one in this book, but I feel like this book is setting one up for the rest of the series.  At the beginning of the book, I thought that Nita and Fabricio might end up together, but knowing what I know now, I do not want them to end up together, should romance come up.  I don’t know what would change my mind about him, but at this point, it’s going to take a lot to get me to change my mind.

4 stars.  I really liked Not Even Bones, and I can’t wait to read the next one, if only to see what happens with Nita and Fabricio.