First, Become Ashes by K M Szpara

Genre : Contemporary / Speculative

Page Count : 304

Rating : 4/5

The Fellowship raised Lark to kill monsters.

His partner betrayed them to the Feds.

But Lark knows his magic is real, and he’ll do anything to complete his quest.

First of all, this book deals with some really heavy subjects so please check the TW’s before going in. It won’t be for everyone. 

This was a little different from Szpara’s first book Docile in the fact that the main character Lark, didn’t realise that there was anything wrong with a lot of his experiences until a lot later in the story. Raised in a cult and indoctrinated by the leader as an ‘annointed’, one of the chosen few who would lead the charge against the monsters that have taken over the world, Lark bases his whole life around what he’s been raised to believe. 

It makes for a difficult reading experience because as readers, we are aware that everything is a lie which makes reading from Larks perspective not only incredibly sad but frustrating, particularly with some of the horrific abuse that he suffers in the name of his beliefs.

It’s when the characters are forced into the ‘real’ world that Szpara is at their finest as an author because there are moments when something happens to make you question whether if what you are reading is actually what you thought or if the whole thing has suddenly taken another direction. This means that even though we go into the book knowing certain concrete facts about what’s right and wrong with this story, you still end up with a certain suspension of disbelief which really enhances the experience as we get a taste of the same confusion that the characters must be feeling.

Ultimately this is another Szpara book that invites conversation and speculation. It’s incredibly blunt when it comes to traumatic events and really doesn’t shy away from the impact these have on the characters as they continue on their journey through the story. It’s an experience that’s for sure! 

Let me know your thoughts if you’ve read this. Also please recommend any books you’ve read that have similar speculative vibes, I need some for my tbr!

See you in the next one,

Jen x

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