Journalism and Fairy Himbos: My A Tale of Ashes Review

When I was offered the chance to read an ARC of a book where a student journalist has to investigate a spate of disappearances that may or may not be the work of fae, I was instantly intrigued. I love reading stories about characters that have specific interests that help them throughout the course of the plot. And I'm pleased to say, it was just as delightful as I thought it would be!

Book Title: A Tale of Ashes
Author: Ann Dayleview
Publisher/Year: Onyx Fire Press, 2021
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Number of Pages: 285
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Book description (from Goodreads):

Across the country, human teens are going missing, and all eyes are turning to the fae.

Seventeen-year-old Freddie is a human at a magically diverse boarding school who longs to report on the war-torn realms of Fairy. When humans disappear on campus, it’s the perfect opportunity to jump-start her journalism career. While the public blame the fae, Freddie wants facts. If she’s going to get published, she’ll need to find out who or what is behind these disappearances.

Aiden is a fae soldier with a murderous reputation. Raised in the dark fae court and forced to partake in the brutal Fairy Civil War, he thirsts for revenge against the realm which murdered his family. His new mission gives him the opportunity he’s longed for. But when Freddie snoops into his life, he questions if revenge is worth the price of his freedom.

Lured by her suspicions and distracted by his curiosity, Freddie and Aiden form a tenuous bond. But as their feelings for one another grow, so does the danger. Every clue points to Aiden as the kidnapper, and as his enemies close in, Freddie must make a choice: turn against him or fight for a relationship doomed to fail.

The mystery in this story was enjoyable, and I loved seeing Freddie uncover all the clues. There are some things you learn in Aiden’s POV that help you work out some of what’s going on in Freddie’s investigation, but not everything is completely revealed until the end.

Meet the Fairy Squad

I gotta say, I LOVED the characters in this book! Freddie is whip-smart and super brave with a heart of gold. Aiden, despite being a brooding fae bad boy, is secretly a himbo who doesn’t know anything about the human world — with often hilarious results! The side characters were also fun to get to know, even if Pelrin, Freddie's fairy prince ex, is (intentionally) kind of a douche.

I’m admittedly slow burn trash, so I would have liked to see Aiden and Freddie's romance develop a bit slower. But they had some cute dates, so that was cool.

I'm Okay, Roomie, I Swear

The tone of the book isn’t comedic per se, but there were some REALLY well-timed jokes that made me cackle so loud that I’m sure my hallmates were a little concerned! There's one running gag in particular where Pelrin keeps squeezing Freddie's remote control too hard and breaking it that just had me cracking up like crazy.

It’s similar to the way that Leigh Bardugo’s writing in the Grishaverse books is more or less serious, but sometimes she’ll poke fun at a character in a way that’s totally hilarious. So if you like that style, this book should be on your radar!

Trigger and Content Warnings for A Tale of Ashes

This book may not be for you if you're sensitive to discussions/depictions of blood, violence, death, xenophobia, kidnapping/abduction, war, and/or enslavement.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this was a fast, fun fantasy read, and I’d really recommend it to anyone who loves fae, found family, social justice themes, and/or HIMBOS!

A Tale of Ashes is now available everywhere, so check out the links below to snag your own copy:

Barnes and Noble | | Amazon | Goodreads

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