Title: When Ash Rains Down
Author: Cecelia Earl
Genre: Christian Urban Fantasy
Goodreads Overall Rating: 3.74
Published: June 2018 by Amazon Digital Services
Love is a powerful thing. More powerful, even, than money.
I flew through When Ash Rains Down. I found it to be a fun read that dealt with realistic teenage behavior while having a mystical urban fantasy backdrop. The main characters dealt with crushes, drama, and real-life experience like typical teenagers would. This was refreshing for me but some may find the romance to be a little racy for Christian fiction. To me, it was realistic for a young Christian girl to react to her crush as Julia did. While feeling a certain way she put her morals first and fought through her teenage urges. There isn’t any sex in this book, but just be aware that the romance reads like a Young Adult Fiction.
Julia is unlike any other main character I’ve ever read. She is driven by money and strives to give her mother and brother a better life. Julia’s dad walked out on their family years ago, and with her mother running her small diner money is tight. Julia sets out to do whatever she needs to to make sure her family is taken care of. She works two jobs, spends the little free time she has studying, and has now decided to graduate early so she can finish college as quickly as possible. Julia wasn’t a likable character at first. She was so goal driven that she didn’t have time to show anyone her true self. Earl did a fantastic job at having the reader feel like an outsider when it came to Julia. I felt like one of the high school students that tried to get to know Julia, but she was too busy taking the next step in her plan that all I knew was she didn’t have any time for anything else. I felt horrible for her because she truly carried the weight of her family on her back. Her intentions came from a place of love but it was damaging her soul.
I’m unsure when I’ve become this jealous and hideous of a person, yet I can’t seem to stop my thoughts from tainting my heart, a rosy red marred an ashy black from thoughts of envy and bitterness. -When Ash Rains Down
One night during closing Julia finds someone trying to steal money from her mom’s diner. Julia quickly reacts and in the midst of the fight, she starts to see things that don’t make sense. This is when the plot starts to really form. Without giving away too much Julia learns that there is a battle going on between angels and demons that is invisible to humans but oddly enough it isn’t to her. We spend the rest of the book learning what roll Julia plays in this battle. This is why I picked this book up. I wanted to see how Earl intertwined the battle into the human world. I absolutely loved the action scenes in the book where we get to learn more about the war and the world that intersects with ours. The fighting senses were well written, and I believe that the outline for the demon and angel plot was well thought out. The only complaint I have is that I felt like the book was leading up to this world that we couldn’t see, and I was really looking forward to it. I wanted to know the inner parts. We do learn why the demons are more active than normal but it felt rushed. When we finally get to really dig into the world the book is almost over. Ash Rains Down delt more with the romance and Julia’s inner struggles, and personally, I would have rather had more written about the fantasy world because what I got to read I LOVED.
I really enjoyed how the romance read like a normal Young Adult Fiction romance and I think it’s great transitional read if you are used to reading YA, but you are wanting to start being more intentional with the fiction you are choosing to read. Julia’s infatuation with Cole was very natural and believable. Cole is the popular handsome boy at her school that every girl dreams over, and while Julia worries only about money and providing for her family she isn’t blind. We learn that Cole has never paid any attention to Julia but when they both are announced homecoming king and queen Julia becomes his main focus. Throughout the entire book we never really get to know Cole, he’s a huge mystery. He’s kind to Julia and there for her, but he will disappear with no explanation and I wish we could have had more information on him. His mysterious character is understandable because he plays a big role in the plot, but we never truly learn anything about him. This caused me to feel disconnected to him and it made it hard to root for their relationship. I felt that Julia’s inner dialogue about Cole was absolutely hysterical and I appreciated Earl writing Julia and Cole’s relationship in a realistic manner. Julia is a teenage girl and she likes Cole and at times she’s faced with doing what she wants to do and choosing to stop because of her morals and religious background. I loved this aspect because it’s something that every teenager faces and the decisions they make are crucial. At times I felt like Julia was attracted to another character and I see a love triangle will probably be formed in the coming books. I love a good love triangle it’s a trope I will always love as long as it’s done properly.
And when someone takes you from nothing to something, it’s hard to deny them of anything. -When Ash Rains Down
Earl’s world is unique and I enjoyed her writing tremendously. She’s a talented writer that is bringing clean urban fantasy to YA readers. There’s a repeating factor for me in this book and it’s solely why I can’t give this book 5 stars. I just wanted more. More about the fantastical parts, more from the characters mainly the love interests, and we are left with so many questions at the end. If we had more depth to the book I think it would have given a bigger impact and anticipation for the next book.
Earl’s world is unique and I enjoyed her writing tremendously. She’s a talented writer that is bringing clean urban fantasy to YA readers. do recommend this book, and I think it’s a fun read that you can easily read and finish on a lazy Saturday. I enjoyed it and I will be buying the second book and diving right back into this fun YA urban fantasy world!
I know I missed posting this week and I am so sorry. Life kinda got in the way, but in a good way and I will be sharing about it in another post. I am going to start writing posts in advance so that doesn’t happen again. Thank you for allowing me to make this a fun place and not a place of stress. I am giving myself grace but I do want to keep to the schedule I posted so hopefully writing in advance will help with that. If you other bloggers have any tips on how to stick to your writing schedule during a busy season I would love to hear your tips and tricks!