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Witches of New Orleans #1

The King of Bones and Ashes

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From the bestselling author of the Witching Savannah series comes the first book in a fascinating trilogy following the quest of a young witch to uncover her family’s terrifying secret history…

Magic is seeping out of the world, leaving the witches who’ve relied on it for countless centuries increasingly hopeless. While some see an inevitable end of their era, others are courting madness—willing to sacrifice former allies, friends, and family to retain the power they covet. While the other witches watch their reality unravel, young Alice Marin is using magic’s waning days to delve into the mystery of numerous disappearances in the occult circles of New Orleans. Alice disappeared once, too—caged in an asylum by blood relatives. Recently freed, she fears her family may be more involved with the growing crisis than she ever dared imagine.

Yet the more she seeks the truth about her family’s troubled history, the more she realizes her already-fragile psyche may be at risk. Discovering the cause of the vanishings, though, could be the only way to escape her mother’s reach while determining the future of all witches.

320 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 23, 2018

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About the author

J.D. Horn

26 books820 followers
J. D. Horn is the author of the standalone dark fantasy Shivaree and the bestselling Witching Savannah series (The Line, The Source, The Void, and Jilo). The Witching Savannah series has been/is being translated into Russian, Polish, German, Spanish, Italian, French, and Romanian. He and his spouse, Rich, and their rescue Chihuahua Kirby, split their time between San Francisco and Palm Springs.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 382 reviews
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,575 reviews1,463 followers
January 20, 2018
This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. 

This book is what I like to call a slow stroll.  If you are patient, not in any hurry to get where you are going and just want to take in the scenery, then you will probably have the temperament needed to get to your destination.

I’m a pretty patient reader and so I’m fine with wandering around blind in a story for a little while as an author skips around to different characters points of view to build the ambiance and stage the story to come. I actually expected that a little bit for this story because it is set in New Orleans and it seemed like it wanted to encompass the laissez faire attitude of the city.  Still, this flow isn’t going to work for some readers.

The King of Bones and Ashes has the feel of a gothic suspense.  The thing it did best was give us an introduction into all the witching families of New Orleans that are going to be in play and some history on their family dynamics.  Some witches are feeling the decline of magic more acutely than others and with power available for magic waning, some witches are willing to go to extremes to hold on to what they can.

This had some fantastic start up character building in it with a lot of room to grow.  Each character given a PoV in the story shows us a very interesting surface and hints at some depths behind it.  I think character development in the next books will show just how three dimensional all the characters of the story are.  Alice, (the young witch locked in an asylum for years) in particular, I think we have only scratched the surface of who she really is down to her core.  Evangeline is the other.  She is a natural witch who loved one man and then after he died fell in love with his father.  It was different but I still found myself wanting them to figure out a way to work through their past.

There isn’t a lot of action in the story until the end.  So if you were thinking going into this that it is more of a horror novel, I think you will be disappointed.  There is definitely a boogey man and some gore but it isn’t until the very end and I thought it would be a little scarier throughout. Mostly this is a story about a witch family and a secret they have kept for generations.

The concepts and ideas for the story are well planned but I struggled to follow a few times due to number of characters, PoV change ups and general pacing of the story.  I loved the mix of both magic and voodoo and the different families that were part of each.  I just wanted the flow of the story to feel a little smother because it got a bit jumpy at times.

I will continue the series as this is a solid foundation. I read J.D. Horn’s Line series and enjoyed most of it.  But I’m hoping that the next book picks up the pace a little to a solid stride.  

 
Profile Image for Evelina | AvalinahsBooks.
848 reviews438 followers
October 18, 2022
5 Reasons To Read The King of Bones and Ashes:

Read the full review here on my blog.

Reason #1:
New Orleans!

YES YES YES YES!! I have never been to New Orleans myself, so this book was nothing short of an amazing trip. There's jazz. There's color. There are all the French names. There's tribute to the events of Katrina. There's even voodoo – and not your Hollywood scare, but the actual religion (I hope I'm using the right name!) Not to talk about all of the mythology around it! I was skeptical before reading the book, wondered if it won't be too stereotypical, but when I started reading, I truly loved the setting with all my heart. Besides, I feel like this book wouldn't really be anywhere if not for the New Orleans lore!

Reason #2:
The Intrigue
This was a very slow burn intrigue, but SUCH a good one. I couldn't work it out till the end. Generally, the book is rather slow going, there are no tumbling events, but it truly goes out with a blast (something I didn't expect!) It keeps a very satisfying pace, and just the right amount of suspense to keep you hooked, but not too stressed. It was a very comfortable read that still kept me on my toes!

Reason #3:
Magical Cats?

I mean, ever since the cat was introduced, I just saw it coming. I never miss an opportunity to talk about cats in my review, BUT GUYS, one of the main characters can talk to her cat. No, not in words, nothing to cliche, but I promise you THEY TALK AND UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER. This was the absolute fangirl moment for me in this book!!! Head over heels! (I would have put it down as Reason #1 as well, but didn't for fear you wouldn't think I'm being serious in my review. For future reference, I'm ALWAYS serious about cats!!)

(I just couldn't leave that one alone.)

Reason #4:
Unnameable Terror

This book truly does have a villain worthy of Stephen King's IT! Primal, dark, coming from the depths of each of our darkest dreams. J.D. Horn dips into the depths of history of the city to create such a monster, and that's a beautiful way of doing it. I can appreciate a villain like that!! The only reason I remembered to not be scared while reading it was that I was sitting snuggled up in a beanbag, drinking hot chocolate, and the Christmas tree was glowing right beside me reassuringly.

Reason #5:
The Secondary Characters
Actually, it's pretty hard to tell who is a secondary character and who is not – as you would probably call it 'lead characters' instead of 'main characters'. The book follows quite a few lines, and there are at least three people whose lives you'll see up close, and they're all really likeable. But I loved the secondary characters even more! They are so fleshed out – all different, all unique (I'd dare to say that my favorite was a familiar called Daniel – I don't normally have book crushes, but I'm willing to make exceptions here.) All of this gives the story even more depth.

Overall...

This was such an engaging and pleasant read, but also an exercise for the mind (cause I'm still not entirely sure about the ending, it's all twisted up!) I loved the tone – it's a very no-nonsense tone, no silly banter, no fancy invented terms. It's quite down to earth, despite being about clans of witches. But despite my upbeat review, keep in mind that this book is sufficiently, unexpectedly dark. It doesn't really seem so from the tone, but when everything that happens, happens... You'll see. So be prepared! I can truly recommend The King of Bones and Ashes , and absolutely can't wait for the sequel!

I thank 47North and Darlene Chan PR for giving me a copy of The King of Bones and Ashes in exchange to my honest opinion.

Read Post on My Blog | My Bookstagram | Bookish Twitter
Profile Image for Bonnie Shores.
Author 1 book368 followers
April 18, 2018
I hate to say it, but... This book was a huge disappointment after loving the author's Witching Savannah series. I have read many books that started off slowly and then took their time in order to tell an amazing story. Unfortunately, that is not the case here. I found this book to be boring and confusing and way too long.

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I didn't feel that any of the characters were developed in any meaningful ways; therefore, I felt no connection to any of them. Not one. That would be okay in a fast-paced, plot-driven story. But while this was a plot-based story, it moved at a snail's pace.

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The book begins in the past, just as Hurricane Katrina is about to hit New Orleans. Something kind of scary almost happens, but then we're thrown forward to the present day. For the first I-don't-know-how-many-chapters, we are introduced to a different character in each new chapter and are thrown into their current situation without any point of reference. At some point, relationships are revealed, but clues as to what's going on are cryptic at best.

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Toward the end, you learn how all the random characters are related, but, for me, it was too late. I was just waiting for the book to end. And then it happened...

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...the dreaded information dump. At the every end, the most ridiculous scenario occured and everything was neatly explained. Except that it didn't really make sense to me. It felt like a tv series that's been unfolding week after week only to find that it's being cancelled so the writers do the best they can to wrap everything up in one episode.

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I wanted to like this book. I really did. I love supernatural fantasy. I find witches and witchcraft very interesting, but this book contained very little on witchcraft. I understand that one of the issues facing the witches of New Orleans was the diminishment of their powers, but still. There was almost nothing magical—just mentions of a more glorious past. The idea of the "dreamer" was really cool, but the various avenues taken to that end were convoluted. Technically, J.D. Horn is a really good writer, but I don't know what happened with this story.

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Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,913 reviews765 followers
January 23, 2018
I instantly felt that The Kings of Bones of Ashes was something I wanted to read and I was thrilled when I got the book to read and couldn't wait! And, the book was great. I was thrilled to read a book about witches set in New Orleans (and not a YA) and the premise of a story about witches that are slowly losing their magic felt refreshingly new.

The King of Bones and Ashes is the first book in the Witches of New Orleans and the book starts off with a young Alice Marin right before she is sent to an asylum by her father who feared that she was going insane just like her grandmother. She will not come back to New Orleans until 10 years later when her grandfather dies. And, her return will be the start of unstoppable events...

This book is the kind that I felt right from the start was perfect for me. I love reading Gothic novels set in the American South about old feuds and secrets. The writing really appeals to me and I loved how the book both had a satisfying ending (to the story in this book), but at the same time, a cliffhanger that makes me wanna read the next book since not everything has been resolved.

I want to thank 47North for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!
Profile Image for ❀⊱RoryReads⊰❀.
581 reviews128 followers
January 4, 2018
2.5 Stars

Celestin Marin, patriarch of the Marin family and former head of the powerful Chanticleer Coven has died after being in a coma for eight years. During his long illness his son Nicholas has been head of the coven and now is poised to take over permanently. But all is not well in New Orleans. Magic is dying and the scramble for what power remains pits the witches of the city against one another and some are willing to do anything rather than lose their magic.

I enjoyed J.D. Horn's The Line and was really looking forward to this one. The premise is great, and it's chock full of my favorite things; witches, magic, mystery, Gothic overtones, New Orleans, family grudges etc. There is just too much of everything coming at you from too many different directions.

Alice Marin was a wonderful character and I wish the author had stuck with her and one other, perhaps Lisette Perrault. Allowing these two characters to tell the story would have sharpened the focus and made things less confusing. I did like this, and I'm going to keep my eye out for the second book.


Profile Image for The Sassy Bookworm.
3,266 reviews2,272 followers
January 14, 2018
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descriptionThis book had all the ingredients to be a 5-Star read for me. Fabulous setting (New Orleans). Mystery. Feuding families. Witches and magic. The Boogeyman (Babau Jean). Voodoo, etc. And I enjoyed it mostly, but unfortunately, it also had a few issues that kept me from giving it a higher rating. It was a LONG (and slow) book with multiple POVs and a HUGE cast of characters. So many that at times it became confusing and hard to follow. That said, I enjoyed it enough I will keep my eyes out for book two (this one ends on a cliffhanger of sorts). Yours truly gives this one a solid thumbs up.description 

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Profile Image for Emma.
2,386 reviews811 followers
October 2, 2020
This is my second book by this author and I find his writing compelling. Although not perfect, he has created an evocative and atmospheric picture of New Orleans and the witch covens who live there. I really enjoyed this and plan to read the rest of the series.
Profile Image for Sarah Marie.
1,776 reviews224 followers
January 28, 2018
The King of Bones and Ashes by J.D. Horn

First in the Witches of New Orleans series

DNF- 1.5 stars

The King of Bones and Ashes is a novel that focuses on three witches within the New Orleans area. I was super interested in the premise behind this one because I'm from Louisiana and I always enjoy seeing authors' takes on this famous city. I really wanted to like this novel. I did, but I just felt so disconnected from it since the beginning. For me to want to read a novel, I have to make a connection to something. It doesn't matter if it's the characters, world building, plot, or romance. I have to have some level of interest to continue otherwise reading begins to feel empty. I don't want my reading to feel empty. I DNF novels for multiple reasons. Sometimes the book makes me rage, rolls my eyes, cringe, uncomfortable, or the writing is horrible and I just can't continue or my brain cells will die. This isn't the case with The King of Bones and Ashes. I have to DNF this novel because I'm not connected to it. I can't continue to read this novel because it will make me unhappy and I want to leave off feeling unsatisfied instead of raging and telling everyone that this is a horrible book.



My biggest problem lies with the formatting and sequencing of the story. The prologue is ridiculously long. So long, that it feels more like an opening chapter. A prologue should be quick and to the point. I don't want my prologue to be long because when it is I usually feel confused and annoyed because I'm being thrown into the middle of a very big plot that should not be the opening sequence for a story. This book also has three alternating PoVs. One of them is from Evangeline who is mentioned as the hated girlfriend of the prologue narrator's brother. She owns a strip club and has become romantically involved with her ex-boyfriend's FATHER.

Then there's the opening narrator, Alice, she is currently locked up in an asylum for witches after she witnessed her brother, Luc (Evangeline's ex-boyfriend), be murdered by a monster, but no one believes and thinks he killed himself. Her father has been keeping her locked up at the asylum against the doctor's wishes.
There is also a third narrator, Lisette, who seems to be a middle-aged woman, but sounds like a teenager. I have no clue what her purpose is in this story other than to be a woman who has forgotten that magic truly exists and just thinks the people around her are crazy. Can you see why it was hard for me to keep up? There's a lot going and this is only the first 17% of the novel. I can't do it. It's not interesting enough and I don't feel like I am gaining anything from this story. I think I'll just watch Coven instead.





Whimsical Writing Scale: 2
Character Scale: 1
Plotastic Scale: 1.5


Cover Thoughts: This isn't a horrible cover, but I'm not a huge fan of it.

Thank you, Netgalley and 47 North, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,408 reviews256 followers
January 15, 2018
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Magic is leaving this world, making the witches who've relied on it forever absolutely helpless. Some are willing to accept it, while others are willing to do whatever it takes to stay in power. Alice is using her remaining power to solve the mysterious disappearances of those in occult circles of New Orleans. She knows the feeling as her family put in an asylum and she just recently got out. She's afraid that her family is connected, and the more she investigates the more she comes to realize that her fragile psyche may be in trouble. Figuring this out, though, may be her only way to get out from under her mother's thumb while determining the future of magic.

The King of Bones and Ashes by J.D. Horn sounded like it would be exactly my kind of read. There are so many elements that I love - magic and witches, atmospheric setting (New Orleans), voodoo, warring families, and more. Unfortunately, I ended up preferring the concept to the final product. The novel travels at far too slow of a pace for me, and it follows far too many characters to get thoroughly invested in anyone. I liked Alice quite a bit, but I wish that the story would have focused primarily on her (and perhaps one or two others at the most) rather than bouncing back and forth between its enormous cast. There are a lot of characters, and there were many times I had trouble keeping everyone straight in my mind - definitely took me out of the story to have to keep flipping back to the cast list. Overall, J.D. Horn's new release just wasn't for me in the long run, although I wish I could say otherwise. I still would like to try his Witching Savannah series, which is described as a Southern Gothic urban fantasy with witches.
Profile Image for Alaina.
5,945 reviews215 followers
December 26, 2018
Definitely had my ups and downs with this book.

The King of Bones and Ashes really did intrigue me. However, once I dove into it I would go through a roller coaster of emotions. From being excited to bored to intrigued was a bit draining on me. I honestly have no idea how many times I paused this book because I just wanted to do something else. I mean, it took me about 10 days to read so … that's a shit ton of pausing.

Now the characters were interesting - I don't necessarily have a favorite though. I just feel like I lost track of a lot of things - whether it was putting this on hold for too long or just way too many things happening all at once. Maybe I just thought it was going to be about something entirely different and that's why this book was just okay to me? I don't really know and I am a bit disappointed about it.

Overall, the ending got me a little bit interested in carrying on through this series. I'm just silently praying that I don't end up pausing it for too long or DNF-ing it.
Profile Image for Malina Skrobosinski.
240 reviews94 followers
February 5, 2018
This is what I would definitely consider a 'slow burn'. There's so much going on in this book for there to be nothing going on at the same time. There were far too many characters in my opinion, and the storyline was very convoluted. This isn't typically the type of novel I would read, usually preferring thrillers, but an occasional story involving the supernatural realm isn't always a bad thing. That said, this wasn't quite the novel I thought it was going to be when I chose it.

The story centers around the loss of magic among the witches in the New Orleans area. The struggle to hold on to the last bit of remaining magic has left ripples among the community of witches; fear and feuds that have lasted for years. The Chanticleer Coven has remained the most powerful in the New Orleans area, but not without deceit and manipulation. At the head of the coven, Celestin Marin, after having fallen into a coma, loses his battle with life and thus the Chanticleer Coven loses yet more of the magic that holds them together. Nicholas Marin, the oldest of the Marin children steps in as the head of the Coven, but with this, comes great burden and secrets that he's not sure he can bear.

In the midst of all of this is Alice, Nicolas' youngest and only daughter. Their relationship is strained and Alice is left with lots of unanswered questions. Alice at the young age of 7, after witnessing her brother's murder from who she believed was the bogey man, Babau Jean, was sent off to an asylum. She remained there until she matured into a young woman, at the age of 21. Having been estranged from her family for quite some time, she's slowly reintroduced into this world of magic, and is slowly trying to unravel the secrets that has burdened this family for decades.

As I mentioned before, there is so much happening in this novel... and rightly so as I understand this will be a series. Having said that, in some fashion, it was all just a bit too much to take in, and it lacked in keeping the storyline moving along at a nice pace. For the first 55% of the book I simply found myself trying to understand these characters and get a grasp on the plot. I couldn't get how they were connected, or where in the heck the storyline was headed. It wasn't until about 70% into the book where I finally began to get fully invested.

In the end, I will admit, I'm still confused... there's so much that's explained and not explained at the same time. Perhaps as the series continues things will begin to make more sense, but in truth, this one has just left my head spinning.

I want to thank NetGalley, 47 North, and J.D. Horn for allowing me the chance to read this novel in exchange for my review.
Profile Image for OjoAusana.
2,126 reviews
September 25, 2019
4 star

Took a while for me to get into it but turned out to be pretty good. I plan on reading the rest of the series. May have to reread to decide how much I like it lol
Profile Image for Kathrin.
796 reviews44 followers
January 28, 2018
I received a free copy via NetGalley.

'The King of Bones and Ashes' is an urban fantasy series set in New Orleans. The story begins back in 2005 when Katrina devastated the town and the local witches try to prevent the worst. Unfortunately, almost everyone involved can tell that the magic is slowly dying away and that they are not strong enough anymore. And then there's Babau Jean, a boogeyman hunting young Alice.
Fast forward a couple of years, family ties are broken, friends become enemies and it turns out that not everyone in the witching community is losing their power. The story follows three women trying to find their place in a new world where power is shifting.

I thought long about how much to write about the book without giving too much away. To be honest, you have to stop early because it's easy to spoil the story for others. The story is very detailed and next to the three main characters there are numerous other characters worth watching. Truth be told, a lot is happening but (and that's a big one) we're not talking about a fast-paced story. This is a slow burn and it takes its time. You could tell from the beginning that this is the first in a series because the author sets you up with an overload of information. I'm usually a fast reader but I had to stop several times to sort out who is who and how is everyone connected. Once you do that, you are rewarded with a great story.

I loved the main characters - especially Alice and Evangeline. Alice was an instant like. Her story arc is full of complex family ties and resentment of those who took power over her. It took me a while to like Evangeline - mainly because of how she is connected to the Marin family. In general, the author did a great job to present complex characters with a rich background story. At some point, I struggled because there were just too many characters involved but I hope that you'll need all the information for later books in the series. This kind of makes it okay in my eyes.

The setting is also lovely. This isn't the first time I encountered New Orleans as the perfect setting for an urban fantasy in a book/TV series/movie. Different cultural and religious beliefs interact in the book and thus add an interesting layer to the complex family story.

In some aspects, the book was exactly what I wanted it to be while truth be told, it took me some time to get into it. It definitely wasn't an easy read. If you are looking for a fast-paced, cute story you might want to skip 'The King of Bones and Ashes'. I recommend this to readers who enjoy a complex, character-driven urban fantasy.

I enjoyed the read a lot and I wasn't aware of the fact that there is already another witch series by the same author. This means that there are now two series that I can check out and this makes me insanely happy.
Profile Image for Jeri.
512 reviews22 followers
February 18, 2018
This book was just okay for me. Not a series I will continue with I don't believe. It took a lot to try to keep things straight as to what was going on, who was who and what the heck was happening! But I THINK I may have it straight now that I finished the darn thing. Still kinda makes me wanna say, "huh?"

I won an ecopy of this book from Goodreads First Reads program.
Profile Image for Raquel.
315 reviews158 followers
November 11, 2018
I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This book is, in short, a mix of urban fantasy and gothic horror stories set in today New Orleans, with witches, vanishing magic, voodoo and the bogeyman + the most current family dramas. An entertaining beginning of a trilogy that I think witch’s lovers will enjoy.

Although I quite enjoy the three main characters (and consequent POVs) of the book, and especially Evangeline, there were times when I was completely lost due to the adding of new POVs and / or specific characters {I have to say that I’d rather like that list of characters that appears at the end of the book to be at the beginning of it} and the succession of multiple plot twists that made the atmosphere of the story even darker and terrifying than it was at first, which I wasn’t expecting, but actually came to appreciate it. Although I liked the recourse that all personal stories end up converging or intermingling, there were times when it was difficult for me not to lose the train of my toughts because of so many secondary characters.

The start was quite slow, but the descriptions, the setting and the lovely writing ended up catching me when I thought I was going to leave the book aside. Even not being familiar with the New Orleans’ culture {this was a bit of a headache at the beginning}, as I was progressing in the story, I ended up enjoying this setting that is almost one more character in the book and I think it’s one of the strongest points of it.

One of the things I liked the most was the racial, cultural and LGBT diversity of the characters, which while we can feel the introduction of it quite forced with other authors, here it just felt good. As is today's society.

Overall, a trilogy to consider in the future and one that I’d recommend to fans of urban fantasy.

{Español}
Este libro es, en definitiva, una mezcla de urban fantasy e historias góticas de terror ambientada en la Nueva Orleans actual, con brujas, magia desapareciendo del mundo, voodoo y el hombre del saco + los dramas familiares más actuales. Un inicio de trilogía entretenido que creo que los amantes de las historias de brujas van a disfrutar.

Aunque me gustaron bastante las tres principales protagonistas (y consecuentes POVs) del libro, y especialmente Evangeline, hubo momentos en que me perdía en la narración por la introducción de nuevos POVs y/o personajes puntuales {he de decir que me hubiera gustado que la lista de personajes que aparece al final del libro, hubiera estado editado al inicio del mismo} y la sucesión de múltiples giros argumentales que hacían la ambientación de la historia todavía más oscura y terrorífica de lo que era en un principio, lo que no esperaba para nada pero que llegué realmente a apreciar. Aunque me ha gustado el recurso de que todas las historias personales acaben convergiendo o entremezclándose, había momentos en que me era difícil mantener el hilo de la acción por culpa de tantos personajes secundarios.

El inicio fue bastante lento, pero las descripciones, la ambientación y la pluma del autor acabaron por atraparme cuando creía que iba a dejar el libro a un lado. Aun no estando familiarizada con la cultura de Nueva Orleans {esto me supuso un pequeño quebradero de cabeza al inicio}, según iba avanzando en la historia, acabé disfrutando esta ambientación que casi es un personaje más del libro y creo que es uno de los puntos más fuertes del mismo.

Una de las cosas que más me gustaron fue la diversidad racial, cultural y LGTB de los personajes, que mientras en otros autores se aprecia una introducción de los mismos bastante forzada, aquí simplemente se sentía bien. Tal como es la sociedad actual.

En definitiva, una trilogía a tener en cuenta en el futuro y que recomendaría a los fans de la urban fantasy.
Profile Image for Michelle Stockard Miller.
327 reviews154 followers
September 12, 2019
I won this book in a giveaway...a signed copy! I entered the giveaway because when I read witches and New Orleans, I immediately thought of Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches series and I was intrigued, as everyone knows Rice is one of my favorite authors. The similarities end at witches and New Orleans, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a good story. While it had somewhat of a slow start, it eventually picked up momentum and I became engaged with the story. I've heard a few people mention that the story was hard to follow. I didn't find that at all. The individual story lines of each character/group of characters were interesting. Eventually, how they were all tied together was revealed. What a reveal it was! There are some genuinely scary moments as well, and a quite gory part toward the end (just to make anyone faint of heart aware...be prepared). In all, it was an enjoyable paranormal/horror novel.

This is the first book in a trilogy so I'm looking forward to reading the subsequent books. J.D Horn is also the author of the Witching Savannah series. I'm definitely going to check that series out as well.
Profile Image for Barbara (The Bibliophage).
1,083 reviews147 followers
May 29, 2018
J.D. Horn begins a new series with The King of Bones and Ashes. Set in post-Katrina New Orleans, Horn introduces us to the Marin family, young, old, and not entirely alive. This is definitely an atmospheric, Southern gothic-tinged fantasy.

The Marins are part of the Chanticleer witches’ coven, and their magic is slowly but surely fading out. Those that still have some magic are forced to use drastic means to maintain what they have.

Since this is a new series, Horn must provide extensive world-building detail. He introduces a raft of characters, witches, voodoo practitioners, believers in magic, and those who question its validity. Integral to the plot is Horn’s version of bogey man—named Babau Jean. And a pretty boss magical cat!

The New Orleans Witches are aware that an ancient grimoire, The Book Of Unwinding, may have answers to the decline in available magic. But no one knows quite where it is.

My conclusions:
I picked this book up for two reasons. First, I enjoyed the author’s previous Witching Savannah series. Second, I was approved for the ARC of book two in the New Orleans series. So I needed to get filled in!

Horn dumps a huge amount of information on his readers in The King of Bones and Ashes. The process could have used more finesse, since it felt more overwhelming than exciting.

Because Horn uses alternating POVs with shifting time periods, you’ve got to pay attention. It wasn’t easy to keep all the characters and relationships straight. Although I’ll admit I might feel this way because I listened to the audiobook. But, truthfully, at one point I wanted to sit down and make myself a family tree for the characters.

I’m glad to have book two, called The Book Of Unwinding, ready to read. I hope it delivers more action and less exposition in that book.

But don’t think I’m not intrigued by the mythology Horn is building here. I am. It’s just creepy enough for me to allow myself to be drawn into the strange and magical brew.

More reviews at TheBibliophage.com.
Profile Image for Summer (speaking_bookish).
590 reviews34 followers
April 23, 2022
As a fantasy lover I’ve never been particularly drawn to urban fantasy to the point where I’d seek it out specifically but over the years I’ve discovered that some urban fantasy books have turned out to be favorites and one urban setting I find that I really, really love (and do seek out now as a result) is a fantasy set in modern New Orleans usually inspired by voodoo priestesses, loa, witches, and other folklore and mythology. That is what drew me to this book when I was looking for an audiobook to listen to.

I have confusing feelings on this story- I had a good listening experience but I kept finding that I had missed something and would then have to go back and listen to that portion again. For some reason that happened many times. Usually I can tell you this happens when a book isn’t gripping me causing my mind to wander but that honestly wasn’t the case here. I was intrigued by the setting, the characters, and the plot but I think this story in particular had many things going on at once that required my complete attention. In conclusion I don’t think the audiobook was bad or that the book itself was bad- I actually quite liked both but ended the reading experience feeling like I had missed something (or things) important and I immediately decided I am going to reread this book physically.

From what I did take in from the audiobook I can definitely say I really liked this story and feel confident giving it four stars- but I’m interested to see if that rating goes up after a physical read. I’ll definitely be updating my thoughts upon the completion of my reread.


September 7, 2018
Me, after finishing:



Just throw out the blurb because it's a straight out lie. This was so terrible. It's like a soap opera but the most boring soap opera you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. There's no plot, no movement, no character growth. Alice, who seems to be the MC (of the three MCs), was an emotionless stick figure that didn't react to anything. I mean that honestly. There's a scene, at the end, with a mass murder. This happens in front of her. Her reaction is just to watch it and gentle rest her hand on the killer's cheek (before scratching him.) That's all.

What's worse is that the components of this story, the ideas, the world building, etc. isn't bad. This could've been a fucking awesome story. This is one of those where I'm amazed it got published.
June 13, 2018
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy in exchange for an honest review

Having seen the cover pass me by on Netgalley, I knew I had to request this one with a title like that. It screams of an atmospheric, dark, horror tale with perhaps some necromancy. While it did have some of these elements (but not the necromancy unfortunately) it did not quite manage to capture me. The biggest reason for that was how the story was told.

We get the story through three main female characters with a point of view chapter thrown in from other characters here and then. I like seeing stories through different eyes but in this case I think a maximum of two characters without any side chapters would have been plenty. With only 350 pages and an incredibly slow pace there is absolutely no way you can do justice to any of these characters or the tale you are trying to tell. I thought it was a real shame because had there have been a bigger focus on the main character mentioned in the synopsis, Alice, we could have gone on a great ride I believe. As it stands now, I’m lukewarm.

As mentioned the plot of this book unfolds very slowly. We get drawn in to the lives of three women who have a connection to one another through one family, the Marin’s. The story is slow because of all of the groundwork and background that is being established, but it also made it confusing at times because we did not have a concrete focus at times. I wondered where we were going with all of this. I do see what the author was trying to do, and I certainly was surprised when it came to some revelations at the end. But because I was confused in placed the build-up failed a little for them.

Next to the cover and the title, another element that drew me to wanting to pick up this book was the fact that it is in New Orleans. Being an European myself I have very little idea of New Orleans besides what we see on television. I thought seeing a witches book set here though would be such a great add to the atmosphere though. I can’t tell you whether or not the author depicted New Orleans and its inhabitants well (and I haven’t seen any reviews that mentioned it) but I did think the descriptions of New Orleans were an added bonus on the whole.

As far as the characters go, I wish we could have delved more into the three females. Out of them I was most drawn to Alice who was admitted to an asylum for many years after the death of her brother. It was interesting to see her return to a family that had done that to her. I found her interactions with them interesting, but I missed the scenes where she was alone with her father in the house or her other brother Hugo, and she could confront him for instance. I just missed things. Deepening into those things. Those relationships. The other two females also deserved more deepening. I felt like we only scratched the surface. I hope there will be more on who they really are in the next installment.
Profile Image for Robin.
110 reviews8 followers
March 12, 2018
From the description, this isn't a book I'd normally pick up. I usually go more for high and epic than I do for urban fantasy, but I gave it a chance because the plot sounded interesting.

This is a Gothic southern story about a family of witches in/around New Orleans and the mystery of magic seeping from the world. Horn gives us a fairly authentic vision of New Orleans amidst the plot and characters that stay with you long after the book is complete.

We get a huge cast of interconnected characters, all with complex backstories and goals that are beautifully real. The concept of magic is well done and I enjoyed the complexity of it, despite sometimes confusing explanations.

My only issue with this book is that it's sometimes jumpy--going from character to character without much (if any) transition, as well as jumping around in the timeline some. Since I generally don't read a whole lot in one sitting, but pick up and put down books throughout the day, I had to go back sometimes and reorient myself with who/what was going on. I understand this was partially an attempt to mirror Alice's mindset, but it felt disjointed and took me a while to read because if it.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. Horn's new world is interesting and complex and I'm curious to see where it goes.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Sarah (Workaday Reads).
1,073 reviews97 followers
November 15, 2017
I read the first 60 pages, and then gave up. The story jumped timelines and viewpoints a few times and was hard to follow. It felt disjointed, and this far in, I still don't see what direction the story is going in. It felt like too much work to continue trying to read it.
Profile Image for K.A. Wiggins.
Author 21 books193 followers
November 20, 2018
Disclaimer: reviewing uncorrected digital proof via NetGalley

I'm not quite sure how to categorize this. There are pretty strong contemporary fiction leanings, what with the complicated, extraordinarily messy and interwoven multi-generational family dynamics. There's the paranormal/fantasy content, with witches, shapeshifters, and monsters lurking around the edges. Things skew from drama to thriller and right on into the realm of horror as the story progresses.

I found the first quarter really slow going. Like, I kept double checking to make sure this wasn't a companion series to an earlier series because there is so much worldbuilding detail and so many different points of view and webs of interrelational drama to wade through. Despite the deep, rich worldbuilding, or really, probably because of it, the book didn't draw me in at first. I felt like I just didn't care about the characters, the witchy goings-on, or the New Orleans southern setting. But by the end of the first third of the book, all that detail starts to settle in and the shape of the story emerges. Well worth the extra effort to get there.

The investment in backstory and getting to know so many different threads at the beginning starts to really pay off heading into the latter portions of the book. Various mysteries start to unravel and a race for the finish line tangles against late-in-the-game twists for an unexpectedly high stakes, surprising wrap up that provides some closure while setting up the series for further drama.

One caveat for squeamish readers; the family drama and dynamics get about as sordid as you can imagine. There's no explicit sexual content, and abuse isn't lingered over (though things get pretty violent in the paranormal/horror scenes), but there's plenty of cheating and backstabbing (and front stabbing), plus a little mixing of the generations that may turn off some.

Verdict: detailed, engaging start to what's sure to be an impressive new Urban Fantasy series. Good read for readers who enjoy a dense, richly imagined story world.
Profile Image for Cupcakes & Machetes.
365 reviews59 followers
January 9, 2018
I received this copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

You can also find this review at my blog: Cupcakes and Machetes


First off, I would really like to thank the author and publishing company for accepting my ARC request despite having zero street cred on Netgalley. I tip my invisible top hat to thee.

The story surrounds three witches from different walks of life, watching as witches disappear and the elders fight to hang onto power. Alice has been locked away in an asylum for a number of years after witnessing her brother commit suicide. Evangeline runs a strip club and Lisette carries on her mother's voodoo shop despite no longer carrying the faith herself. The witches in present day New Orleans are scrambling to retain their power, or any power really. Magic is slowly diminishing from the world and sometimes the only way to hang on to any power is to cut off parts of dead witches. Sometimes, witches don't die quick enough and someone is getting creative.

The three protagonists bring together the various aspects of the story and together they may have to face the evil to save themselves and their families with power they didn't realize they had.

This is mostly a family drama with some magic thrown in. I was surprised by how much I actually enjoyed myself. J.D. Horn writes very good characters, whether you love them or love to hate them. He also seems to have done an extensive amount of historical and occult research and that really added to the depth of the world building. It was an urban fantasy with a limited amount of the pop culture references that usually plague the genre.

The King of Bones and Ashes could almost stand on it's own as the drama is wrapped up fairly well and there are only a couple unanswered questions remaining. However, I look forward to finding out where the next book takes our three magical ladies.
Profile Image for Taylor.
143 reviews7 followers
December 1, 2017
I received an arc from netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

I'm not sure what to think if this book. I am a fan of gothic horror books, but this seemed a but weird to me. The story was disjointed and at times it seemed that even the main character was as confused as me.

People who like American horror story would like this book!
Profile Image for Alysa H..
1,343 reviews62 followers
January 10, 2018
I'm a sucker for New Orleans-based Southern Gothic paranormal literature -- yes, that is a real subgenre! -- and J.D. Horn certainly delivers the goods. Horn draws from the same well here as from his own Witching Savannah series, but swaps out the Georgian for plenty of local NOLA flavor and unique characters. I would have liked to spend as much time with some of their POV's as much as others; they are not all given equal weight, which is the inevitable consequence of packing such a sprawling cast into a book of less than 350 pages (and this sometimes leads to minor plot confusion as well). But I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the next installment.

** I received a Review Copy of this book via NetGalley **
Profile Image for Missy.
420 reviews43 followers
January 13, 2018
I got this book in exchange for an honest review from netgalley.

Told from the perspective of three woman, Evangeline, Lisette, and Alice. Book is about witches in New Orleans and how magic is failing. The three women are connected in order to stop the magical entity Babau Jean.

I found this book to be very slow paced and frankly boring. I kept waiting for it to pick up, and it never really did. Filled with too much family drama, and not enough magic. Some of the background was confusing. Did normal people know about witches or no? Also there was very vague descriptions of the characters so i felt like I didn't have a clear picture of the them.Honestly if i wasn't reviewing this from netgalley, I would have DNF at 20%.
Profile Image for Lydia Granda.
208 reviews3 followers
April 22, 2018
I had such high hopes that this would be a truly awesome and memorable book. It had so much going for it, the setting, New Orleans always is a draw, witches (of course), and family drama, but to say it was a slow read is an understatement. I put it down and went back to it at least 3 times.
The story moves very very slowly, it does finally pick up the last third or so of the book. It is overpopulated with characters, 33 at least to be exact, which made it hard to follow, even the author realized this, there's a guide to the characters in the back but it certainly takes away from the enjoyment of the story when you have to keep referring to it.
I'm not sure that I'm going to read anymore of this series, (spoiler alert) so many of the characters that I liked in this one are gone!
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