More than three months have passed since Arson and Emery were taken. Taken and then separated.
And experimented on.
Salvation Asylum is more like a prison than a psychiatric facility. Unknowingly, Arson has become a vital instrument in a campaign set to genetically alter mankind. Enraged, confused, trapped, and unable to fully manifest his abilities, he wonders if he will ever see Emery again. His new existence is one crawling with questions. Is Grandma alive? Where does the fire come from? Can he become more than a monster?
In Ashes, book two of the ARSON series, nightmare and reality collide as Arson must embrace what he is and the haunting realization that there may be others out there, others like him.
Title: Ashes (Arson #2)
Author: Estevan Vega
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Speculative Fiction, Paranormal
Publisher: Stonegate Ink
Publication Date: September 11, 2011
Source: Received from author courtesy of Teen Book Scene. Many thanks goes to Estevan Vega and Teen Book Scene for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
Look for it: Amazon
My rating: 4/5
Arson and Emery find themselves locked away, hidden from the world in a bizarre place. Left on their own, they need to find themselves, and come to terms with the events that brought them to their current residence. Everything is surreal as they learn more about themselves and their surroundings. Held captive against their will, they will need to lean on their survival instincts and come to terms with who they are, and who they are meant to be.
While Arson brought us the story of a misplaced teenager, one who could start fires with his mind; Ashes brings us the terrifying sequel, in which Arson is held captive by those wanting to experiment on him to fulfill their own needs. Ashes is a much darker read than Arson and the psychological ramifications will have you reading long into the night. Vega is at the top of his game as he threads together both Arson's and Emery's stories, as they discover what brought them to the Asylum. Is Arson the monster he always thought he was, or is he something more? Can he achieve more? Is there a greater purpose for him? All these questions are asked as the reader partakes on a highly disturbing and dark ride through the underbelly of Salvation Asylum.
New characters show their faces, and their pathos will leave you feeling uneasy as you press on through this volume in Arson's saga. There is a lot of new information thrown at the reader, but the flashbacks to the first novel make the transition as seamless as possible. One cannot help but root for Arson and Emery as they struggle to free themselves from their captors. Joel and Aimee's struggle for closure, and their pursuit for help after Emery's disappearance adds a much-needed dimension to the novel. Following their struggles gives the reader a reprieve from the darkness hidden within the Asylum before heading back into the depths.
All in all, this is a compelling read. Eloquently written and darkly disturbing this one will stick with the reader as they delve further into the book. By no means is Arson's story done as Vega has left the ending open to continue in another installment. One can only hope that Arson will find the answers to his questions, and the solace that he craves.