It feels like only yesterday when we had C.S. Wilde on LivinginCyn.com. At the time, she was wrapping up edits on her debut novel, A Courtroom of Ashes, and now here it is! (Actually, her book has been out since April 2016, but with all that’s been happening over the past few weeks, I have only now been able to read it from beginning to end.)
I was excited about the release of A Courtroom and thrilled when Ms. Wilde offered me a free copy in exchange for my honest review. My only regret is taking so long to read this novel, because all in all, I enjoyed it. Read on for my review. (Please note, some of the links on this page will take you to Amazon. If your click results in a purchase, I will make a small percentage. Find out more about affiliate links here.)
My Cynopsis of A Courtroom of Ashes
Santana Jones is not your average 25-year-old. She’s a kick ass lawyer flying up the career ladder at the New York City firm where she works–and she talks to dead people.
You read that right–C.S. Wilde starts off the story with Santana admiring her latest purchase, a full-wall mirror for her bedroom. That’s where the protagonist meets John Braver, the hot politician who is as good-looking as he is dead, and appears to reside on the other side.
Santana realizes that the decisions she made on the side of the living also have real and resounding consequences on the dead. She not only has to slay some bad ass ghosts and demons, but she also has to face some of the choices she made. This makes A Courtroom of Ashes a compelling read.
“An extra round of applause for Irving, Mama Na Se and Red Seth!”
As a reader who enjoys a bit of a love story, I found John Braver, Santana’s love interest, to be a bit disappointing. It was hard for me to believe a spunky and smart lawyer like Santana would have fallen for him. He lacked dimension, personality. Somehow John Braver’s situation fell flat with me, and given that he was dead already, I saw little reason to make any real efforts to save his character. (Did I just say that?) While I think a little romance is critical to the story line, I think Braver’s wooden personality made the pacing hobble during the scenes that included him. As such, I secretly hoped that these scenes wouldn’t last long–which they didn’t, but I still felt a little bit like they did. This may be a reason why I felt like the pacing throughout the story was a bit off-balance.
As one would expect in a fantasy, there’s a quest, some trials, and a whole world of characters–on both sides of the mirror!
A Courtroom of Ashes (US, UK) delivers all of these in spades. Without including any spoilers, I thought it worth noting that Wilde wrote a very satisfying ending to the novel. The book has an epilogue that really rounds out the end in a plausible manner. All the loose ends are tied up.
An extra round of applause for Irving, Mama Na Se and Red Seth! Those characters were interesting, entertaining and added life to the page. Together with Santana, they definitely helped advance the story and keep the pages turning.
All in all, I would recommend this book to lovers of dark fantasy, and I would definitely consider reading another book by this author. If I recall correctly from her interview, she’s probably already knee deep in another couple novels. Who knows what interesting ideas come up next!
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Read more about her in our interview:
What’s Your Take on A Courtroom of Ashes?
Have you read A Courtroom of Ashes? What did you think? Let us know! (We comment back!)