Deborah Wilde’s Blood & Ash is the first in a new urban fantasy series that offers a snarky heroine who has a complicated life, really good friends, and a mother who’s deeply into human versus magical politics. And oh yes, there’s also her prickly relationship with Levi Montefiore, the head of the most powerful magic “house” in the city, and a someone who’s known Ash almost all her life.
Did I mention Ash’s life is complicated? She is at the center of a spiderweb of intrigue that begins when she witnesses a strange paranormal event in which a dark smudge-like THING possesses a woman after using up its previous host and leaving him dead on the sidewalk. When something similar happens a few hours later, it becomes clear to Ash that something dark has come to Vancouver and it’s up to her to stop it.
Wilde has put together a believable world in which magic-workers and mundanes know about each other and coexist. It’s a diverse place, and Ash (short for Ashira) has real-world problems that make her relatable. (Her relationship with her mother is particularly engaging because Thalia is…a piece of work.)
The mystery of what’s going on in the story has several levels, and one is very personal for our heroine. The stakes of what’s going on in the main story are real and consequential, and readers will be rooting for Ash every step of the way.
The world is steeped in Jewish mysticism and culture, and that automatically sets it apart from 99.9% of the other urban fantasies out there. And when a golem shows up, it feels only natural.
It’s a lot of fun being in Ash’s world, and the steamy dose of sexual healing that comes in at the end, feels like a treat. It also sets up part of what’s to come in the sequels. This is definitely something a little different.