I have been a horrible blogger friend and I must apologize to C.S. Wilde for how long it took me to write this review. She provided me with a free copy of her book in exchange for an honest review and I’m finally getting around to sharing my thoughts with the rest of you about A Courtroom of Ashes.
Synopsis: Santana Jones is a no-nonsense, high profile attorney who has found herself in possession of a very unique mirror that allows her to see into the spirit world. But the mirror proves to be more than just a window, and she soon learns that not all the dead are harmless ghosts. With the help of some new friends from the beyond, including the charming and handsome John Braver, Santana must battle the forces of evil and learn exactly how her life choices have affected things on both sides of mirror.
This book has so much going on, but somehow Wilde manages to make it all work. The blending of realism and fantasy is extremely well done, making each side of the mirror seem entirely plausible. The descriptions of both setting and characters are incredibly vivid in this book, which made me feel like I was sitting alongside the author as she wrote. The best part is that it’s not in that really annoyingly over-descriptive way that some authors have. Instead, she gives you just enough to envision the scene without getting bogged down in the details.
Wilde has created a rich and vibrant afterlife full of both good and evil characters. All of the characters are well-developed, making it easy to feel like you have known each of them for much longer than just a few chapters. My personal favourite is Irving, who is an absolute joy to read about even though he’s really only a secondary character. He’s a fountain of knowledge with a quick whit and adorable accent.
One of the things I appreciate the most about the book is that Santana isn’t just a simple goody-two-shoes lawyer who only helps the innocent and worthy. Instead, she is a real person whose life isn’t simply black and white, and she’s willing to work to redeem herself when faced with the bad decisions she has made. Don’t think that this makes the book super serious though. There are still fun moments throughout, which help lighten the tone when things start to feel a little bleak. Even with the infinity of the afterlife to contemplate, the pacing is quick and engaging as Santana and her friends take on the big bads in an effort to get her back to the land of the living.
I have to say, if this is the quality of writing Wilde can produce in her first novel, I can only say that we are sure to see even greater things from her in the future. She’s definitely an author to keep your eye on.
Check out C.S. Wilde’s site and read some free stories at www.cswilde.com