Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey
Summary: Liam leads an unhappy life. Everyone in his small town thinks he’s a demon because one of his arms is paralyzed. The only thing that keeps Liam sane is his memory of a girl—Anna—that he met when he was a kid. When Anna returns to Liam’s hometown, the two meet up again and fall in love. But their love is tested by the supernatural creatures that haunt the land.
My thoughts: Ashes on the Waves, unfortunately, falls into the “not for me” category. I enjoyed the first half of the novel, with its focus on the island’s mythical creatures and the town’s history. Mary Lindsey develops the island itself quite well: the politics of the people within the town—their superstitions and their cruelty to anomalies—is vivid. I was actually more interested in the supernatural creatures than the romance between Liam and Anna.
That’s what Ashes on the Waves is, really—an idealized version of romance, in which love overcomes all and survives the test of time. If you take Ashes on the Waves with a grain of salt, keeping its highly romanticized version of love in mind, then it’s a little less of a disappointment. Otherwise, you’ll find it a little strange that a six-year-old boy could spend a day with a similarly aged girl and hold on to the idea of her for years. I couldn’t get past Liam’s obsession—because that’s what it is, at first—and I couldn’t believe in how quickly his relationship with Anna developed.
Ashes on the Waves, it seems, is attempting to create a romance for the ages. But unlike Romeo and Juliet, it takes itself seriously: it really believes that a quickly-developed love is worth dying for. That’s just not my cup of tea.
Another issue I had with Ashes on the Waves was its lack of substance in Anna. She’s the second protagonist, but she’s flat as a board. Her only function is to sweep in and make Liam’s life infinitely better. She doesn’t seem to have any traits that don’t directly relate to Liam. Sure, she has her past, but she’s trying to forget it in favor of her new life with Liam. I wanted more from Anna—I wanted to have something for herself.
So clearly Ashes on the Waves wasn’t my favorite book. But if you’re into epic, tragic romances, you might like it! Like I said earlier, the setting is pretty cool. To each her own, right?