Title: From the Ashes

Author/Publisher: Lisa Edmonds

Pages: 30pp

Price: free

Alice Worth is a mage and a private investigator. She is also a woman deep in hiding. Her grandfather is the head of a ruthless crime family and he made extensive use of her magical abilities to maintain control of his empire — at least until Alice was able to go on the run. But this time it’s not her grandfather whom Alice has to fear: it’s the Fae. Alice has been accused of stealing an arcane text from a Fae-run bookshop, and the Fae can be very creative in their punishments. Alice will have to think fast if she is to uncover the real culprit without attracting the attention of the police, or her grandfather ….

I came across From the Ashes in a Bookfunnel bundle. It was free to those who signed up for Edmonds’ newsletter. I liked the description, so I signed on and downloaded the story.

From the Ashes is a fun, fast introduction to the larger Alice Worth series. We meet Alice (obviously) and are given just enough of her background to make the reader both sympathize with her, and crave more information. She’s a good person who was trapped for years in a horrific, abusive situation, and who did what she needed to survive; but those actions continue to haunt her. That childhood also left her with a bad case of can’t trust anyone. Anyone might betray her to her grandfather or the authorities at any time, out of fear, greed, of the misguided belief that they were helping her.

We also get a hint as to the complexity of this fictional world. Magic is openly practiced, but seems to be avoided by most ordinary humans. Shapeshifters and vampires also exist, though it’s unclear how common they are, and the Fae are just downright scary and completely un-human in both form and thought.

From the Ashes also includes the first three chapters of Heart of Malice, which launches the main series. Even if those chapters were not present, I probably still would have picked up Heart of Malice because, yes, I enjoyed the story that much. I’m looking forward to exploring more of this world, and seeing what Edmonds has in store for Alice.

Recommended to fans of Helen Harper’s The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Magic, Gretchen Galway’s Witches of Sonoma series, The Outlier Prophecies by Tina Gower, and Rebecca Chastain’s Madison Fox series.

[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]

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