Age of Ash – David Abraham

Age of Ash Daniel Abraham
Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham
Series: Kithamar #1
Published by Orbit on February 15, 2022
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy
Buy on Amazon

New York Times
bestselling and critically acclaimed author Daniel Abraham, co-author of
The Expanse
, comes a monumental epic fantasy trilogy that unfolds within the walls of a single great city, over the course of one tumultuous year, where every story matters, and the fate of the city is woven from them all.
“An atmospheric and fascinating tapestry, woven with skill and patience.” –Joe Abercrombie, New York Times bestselling author of A Little Hatred
Kithamar is a center of trade and wealth, an ancient city with a long, bloody history where countless thousands live and their stories unfold.
This is Alys's.
When her brother is murdered, a petty thief from the slums of Longhill sets out to discover who killed him and why.  But the more she discovers about him, the more she learns about herself, and the truths she finds are more dangerous than knives. 
Swept up in an intrigue as deep as the roots of Kithamar, where the secrets of the lowest born can sometimes topple thrones, the story Alys chooses will have the power to change everything.
For more from Daniel Abraham, check out: The Dagger and the CoinThe Dragon's PathThe King's BloodThe Tyrant's LawThe Widow's HouseThe Spider's War

This was my first David Abraham book. The summary caught my attention, so I thought I would dip my toe into another epic fantasy series. I try not to read other people’s reviews before beginning a novel, because I do not want to be influenced. This time, I should have. I did not know what to expect of David Abraham, but it did not take long for me to realize Age of Ash was not my type of epic fantasy.

That does not mean Age of Ash by David Abraham is bad. Not the case at all. It is written well, and Abraham is an unmatchable world-builder. It was easy to tell he had thought of every single detail. If I met him at a book signing, I am sure I could ask him some obscure detail about Kithamar, and he would have an answer. I respect and deeply admire those kinds of authors, and that is also exactly the type of author I want to be. I want to know every single facet of my creation, every flaw, every curve so if someone asks me something, I am not scrambling for an answer.

The issue with Age of Ash for me, though, was that the characters seemed secondary to the world-building. I never really got to know Alys or Sammish or anyone else. There was little insight into their personalities, which is something vitally important to me when I read a novel. With Age of Ash I felt like I was reading more of a history book—a bird’s eye view of everything, versus walking the streets of Kithamar with the characters. Just because I, as an author, may know every detail of my world, it doesn’t mean I need to write it all out for my readers. That is where Abraham lost me.

David Abraham reminds me a lot of George R.R. Martin, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Robert Jordan. Lots of words, lots of background details. Not as much dialogue as I would have liked. Does that mean Abraham is a bad author–no, not at all. It just means his particular writing style is not necessarily to my fancy. I like Martin (for the most part) and Tolkien. Jordan and Abraham are questionable. Both tend to write verbosely, and those extra words are often unnecessary.

I will be interested to see what the second Kithamar book entails. At this point, I have not decided if will read it yet or not. Age of Ash by David Abraham did not pull me in enough to instantly know I am reading its sequel. The book had exciding incidents, but I did not have the emotional reaction I wanted—and I think Abraham sought for.  I felt more like I was reading a nonfictional account, versus a personal one from the characters’ perspectives. It just…fell flat for me. I don’t know how to describe it otherwise. I will have to think about this one. Will I give it a chance if I have nothing else in my TBR pile? Possibly. We will find out later.