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Vanity in Dust

(Crowns & Ash #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  55 ratings  ·  23 reviews
In the Realm there are whispers. Whispers that the city used to be a different place. That before the Queen ruled there was a sky beyond the clouds and a world beyond their streets.

Vaun Dray Fen never knew that world. Born a prince without a purpose in a Realm ruled by lavish indulgence, unrelenting greed, and vicious hierarchy, he never knew a time before the Queen’s dust
Paperback, 305 pages
Published August 8th 2017 by World Weaver Press
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  55 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Kit (Metaphors and Moonlight)
Check out my interview with Cheryl Low about the Crowns & Ash series @ Metaphors and Moonlight!


3.5 Stars

*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*

I’ve never watched a soap opera, but this book was what I imagine a soap opera would be like, just with a fantasy setting and more drugs. It started out decadent and sexy with the characters pretty much just having sex, drinking drugged tea, gossiping, and caring about nothing more
I actually ended up with free copies of this book from both NetGalley and LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review

It is therefore unfortunate that I found this to be one of the most mind-numbingly boring books I've ever read. I gave it two stars instead of one based solely on the excellent world building. I love the structure of the city and the way magic works there, although I'm confused if the characters are faeries or just some nondescript magical beings. But the plot ...the plot was ju
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an engaging debut novel! Impressive world building, strong character development, and suspense from beginning to end made this an enjoyable read! Awaiting the sequel!
Sara Bauer
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vanity in Dust portrays a fantastical world where beautiful citizens use magic dust to numb reality and live a life of meaningless excess. Despite some unsavory characteristics, anti-hero Vaun is a sensual dreamboat, struggling to fill his royal eternity with petty fights and sex. Each well-developed character fights his or her own internal battle, but Vaun fascinated me the most, as I related to his search for meaning in a world of subdued anger and ash. Author Low immerses you in sensory detai ...more
I can't get enough of this book. Can I get the sequel now please? This is a favourite new series.
Cheryl Low is an amazing author. I love her writing style! This book is right up my ally.

I love reading fantasy. I love when characters are dressed well. I love tea parties. I love everything in this book!
The Realm is so lavish and so much fun.  There are so many details in this book and you can really notice Cheryl Low has spent a lot of time creating this world and the plot. Every scene has its pu
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vanity in Dust is one of the most captivating fantasies that I’ve read in recent months.  With its strange politics and Asian feel, it is very different than most dystopian reads.  The setting is gorgeous, at once decadent and desolate.  Magic is at once ever present and tightly reined in.  

The Realm is ruled by the Queen, rarely seen but immensely powerful.  The area surrounding her tower is divided, controlled by three families who regularly war amongst themselves.  Dust, a magical drug, distr
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Vaun Dray Fen's world, only two things are important: the Queen, and dust, the addictive drug over which the Queen has an absolute monopoly.

Vaun is the youngest son of the Queen, and his life is an endless round of sycophants and parties. His valet, Grayc Illyan, makes sure he is where he needs to be when he needs to be. His only concerns are the addictive dust and enjoying himself--and avoiding his wife, AviSariel.

Then the daughter of one of the three powerful Houses that divide up the Queen
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I'll admit though, that it took me a while to get into it. That could be me or that I was learning about the world. The main character of the book, 'The Prince', also took a while to warm up to. However about a quarter through the book it picked up and then I really got into the story. It is a bit dark and definitely for mature or adult readers. The world is really interesting and the characters grow on you. I am really wondering where the story will develop in the fo ...more
Emma Wiklund
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What can I say, this book was not what i expected. I really liked the world and the way the magic works. If you'd like a soap opera in a fantasy setting you should really read this one. A lot of sex, magic drugs and intrigues in a cool setting.

The major reason I'm giving it 4 stars instead of 5 is there are to many POV's. I would rather have spent more time with a fewer number getting to know the charcters better. But on the other hand that would probably make the book loose its soap opera feeli
Anita Norman
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book caught my interest right from the start and kept it throughout. The plot was captivating. The world was enticing. The characters were fascinating. I look forward to the sequel where I can get wrapped up once again in this strange world of tea, dust and magic.
Sarena Ulibarri
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a unique fantasy! If you love magic and royalty, but like it set in a stylish, sexy, modern(ish) fantasy world, this will be just what you're looking for. This is a world where the evil queen harvests pixies for their dust, which nearly everyone in the Realm is addicted to. But rebellion is brewing in this lavish, immortal world. Definitely the start of a series--the ending will leave you craving the next book (which should be out in 2018). ...more
Elizabeth (BookishConnoisseur)
Omg I loved this book! It pulled me in from the very beginning and I just couldn't stop reading!
More review to come!
Sadie Forsythe
What a lovely cover that is. I wish the book lived up to it. It's accurate and all, there's a well-dressed, handsome man and he drinks lots of tea and eats lots of pastries, but I didn't love the book as I loved the cover. Now, I didn't hate it. And for most of the rather plodding, slow book I held out hope I'd end it happy. But I did not. Mostly because a very small mystery developed toward the end of the book and it was solved, but the larger mysteries were never even touched on. Not touched o ...more
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I picked this book up at Bubonicon in 2017. I'd been walking around the dealer space looking for books for students and had spotted Vanity in Dust. When asking the publisher about YA recs, they definitely told me this was NOT for young adults, so I walked away from the booth without it. However, at the end of the day, I circled back, mainly because the cover was just so enticing. A gorgeous man and beautiful sweets? I had to know more. I got the last copy left and I'm so glad I did.

When I first
I'm not entirely sure what to think on this one. I loved the world building in this novel, it was excellent - the details on the High, Main and Low were brilliant, along with all the descriptions of the outfits everyone was wearing, the dust parties, etc, it was all brilliant.
But it left a LOT of things unanswered, probably to be answered in the sequel. I may have missed why Vaun is so special, but I couldn't quite get why he's so desperately needed for something. Yet, despite that, I quite enj
Kerry Henderson
Book 1 in the crowns and Ash series. Vaun is a prince just enjoying the extravaggances his title allows him especially the dust he consumes. Soon rumours of treason and bad dust circulate dragging Vaun into danger.

This was a good read but it took me a while to understand the world and the people. Once I did, I enjoyed the story. It's an interesting idea if a little gory in places. The ending was good and left me wanting to read more.

Vaun is interesting and I enjoyed seeing his character develop
Nov 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was fine. Just fine. It had the potential to be good but didn't quite make it for me. I liked the world and the premise, but there was too much focus on the the rich people drama and gossip for my liking, and not enough magic. If you enjoy reading about scandal, sex, drugs and corruption, this is for you. I'll probably read the next book to see if we learn more of the magic, the queen, etc., but book two will be it for me if it is just more of the same. ...more
Tracy Hollander
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this has too much sex/sexual references which I don't care for, I did like the story. ...more
Susan W Hutchison
Forced to finish

It did not hold my interest. Few of the characters were fleshed out, so to speak. Most were not meshed into the story.
Tiffany Brown
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If fantasy is your genre - and you like it sprinkled with all the drama (and flesh-eating pixies for good measure), this tea-and-magic-soaked romp is for you! Cheryl Low has created a world where drugs, debauchery, and status reign supreme, but when bad dust starts tearing apart the world at the seams, shit goes down - and true alliances and motivations rise to the not-so-perfect surface of the Realm. With beautiful writing and tons of intrigue, Vanity in Dust is a spectacular start to this seri ...more
Victoria Lee
I thought the world-building was fabulous but the story was lacking. There was a lot of sex and drug use which comprised the bulk of the book. I would have liked to learn something more about the characters.
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Cheryl Low might be a primeval entity, born from the darkness of the universe and vacationing on a forgotten island where she eats coconuts and the souls of stranded sailors.

…Or she might be a mundane human with a deep love of all things sugary, soap opera slaps, and horror flicks.

Find out by following her on social media @cherylwlow or check her webpage, The answer might surprise y

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Crowns & Ash (2 books)
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