Review : Ashes to Ashes (Burn for Burn #3), Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

I started the Burn for Burn trilogy a while ago, but only got my hands on the last book recently. I was hooked from the start of the first book, Burn for Burn. It had everything I was looking for : a picture perfect life, with lots of secrets to uncover, and a revenge to get started. I really enjoyed the first two books, for many reasons : loveable characters, a fast-paced story with plot twists, and most of all, a mystery surrounding one of the main characters, kept me guessing until the end of the second book, Fire with Fire. I have to say, the last pages of this one kept me on the edge of my seat. The only thing I hoped, getting to the last book of the trilogy, was that it wouldn’t be disappointing. And it wasn’t. It’s the kind of book giving you a WTF is happening !! feeling, honestly.

“An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a burn for a burn, a life for a life. That’s how all this got started. And that’s how it’s going to end.”

This series left us on a big cliffhanger at the end of the second book, so I was waiting eagerly to see what was going to happen next. I have to say, I was confused, at first, but it’s probably because I read it a while ago, and needed some time to get the pieces of the story back together. The plot doesn’t change, from the start to the end of this series, and that’s what makes it interesting : it’s always about revenge. So, if you’re looking for a revengy kind of read, this is for you !  I have to say, though, compared to the beginning of the series, this is not only a story about kids getting back at people who wronged them. This is way more than that. I absolutely loved the mystery surrounding the whole story : in the first two books of the series, some strange things are happening, making us wonder about one of the main characters, Mary. We get the answers we’re looking for at the end of the second book, and we start on it at the beginning of Ashes to Ashes. Honestly, if you’re looking to be surprised, get your hands on this whole trilogy. You may think you’re reading a contemporary novel, nothing more ordinary than that. But you’re not. And that’s part of what makes this story really good.

I found myself rooting for the characters and their relationships. The story is written from three different point of view : Kat, Mary and Lilian. Obviously when this happens, we all have our own preferences, and I did, too. Lilian is my favorite, but I enjoyed Kat’s evolution during the whole story. From misfit she becomes part of the crowd, without losing herself. That’s really something I liked seeing. The third main character, however… I didn’t get this feeling in the first two books so strongly, but in this book, I just couldn’t deal with Mary. She’s the one seeking her biggest revenge in this finally, she’s the cause and consequences of so many plot twists and things happening, even though she doesn’t (thankfully!) get a lot of narrative in this book. Her revenge was selfish, and honestly stupid. I couldn’t bring myself to fully understand her, maybe because I wasn’t in her place. But, for me, it just seemed like, way too much. The big irony cherry on top was that : she turns her back on a two-book long friendship, in the blink of an eye. And for what? No explanation was good enough for me. In this book, we finally figure out who Mary is. And I thought it could go a million different ways, good ways. For her to interact with Lilian and Kat, and, I don’t know. I was disappointed in her, she just bothered me thorough the whole book.

“I wouldn’t have done one thing differently, because what I did gave me him. What we had was perfect, and it was finite in the way that all good things are. Nothing gold can stay.”

I loved how the other relationships were developped, though. Lilian and Kat’s friendship is heartwarming, for two girls being so different, and having become so close. Reeve and Lilian’s relationship was the main focus of the book, I admit it, but I enjoyed it. I really love their relationship, the guilt and dilemmas and dramas coming out of it, it was really good and entertaining. However, there’s a bitter feeling of unfinished relationships, between Alex and Kat especially. We’ve seen a friendship develop, and what could become more, and a really good relationship, is just left out.

This ending of the trilogy was suspenseful until the very end. I have to say though, the last few pages were really wrapped up quickly, I wanted to enjoy it a little more. This is a book about revenge, but mostly, about bullying and its consequences. And for that, in the end, I was completely satisfied. Behind a good entertaining story, I found the author’s message about being bullied, being strong, weak, getting your head out of the water alone. BUT, (yes, there’s a but, and, I don’t know, I find it big.) I was a bit thrown off by the epilogue’s pages. After a good ending, leaving us thinking about the characters lives on our own, there’s this epilogue that left a bitter feeling for me. It was a good ending, there’s no denying that. I just didn’t expect this ending for some of the characters relationships.

Ashes to Ashes ended the Burn for Burn trilogy in a great and surprising way. If you enjoy suspenseful stories, rooting for the characters, mystery and a bit of paranormal, well get started right now. You might think you’re reading a normal contemporary book, but you’re not. And that’s all the beauty of this trilogy.

Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian, Ashes to Ashes (Burn for Burn #3), published by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, September 16th 2014.


New Year’s Eve ended with a bang and Mary, Kat and Lillia may not be prepared for what is to come.
After Rennie’s death, Kat and Lillia try to put the pieces together of what happened to her. They both blame themselves. If Lillia hadn’t left with Reeve… If Kat had only stayed with Rennie… Things could have been different. Now they will never be the same.
Only Mary knows the truth about that night. About what she is. She also knows the truth about Lillia and Reeve falling in love, about Reeve being happy when all he deserves is misery, just like the misery he caused her. Now their childish attempts at revenge are a thing of the past and Mary is out for blood. Will she leave anything in her wake or will all that remain be ashes?

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