Ruth Hill's Reviews > Written in the Ashes

Written in the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt
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's review
May 17, 2012

really liked it

This is the first time I have ever read a book that takes place during the 400's, and it was definitely a well-written, well-researched book. I was impressed with the scholarship and research that was displayed in the book, and I came to love a good share of the characters. The story had a plethora of dramatic components, and very often I found myself either drawn in or repulsed. And I loved the strength of the women in these books--unusual for this time period, or so I thought!

I was quite impressed with the realistic elements and description the author included in the book. I never felt that the book was too violent or gory, but there were moments that I was glad I was not watching a video. I found myself talking with others about the horrible punishments and deaths recorded in the book, and I marveled at the fact that much of the historical information was unfamiliar to me. Why had I never heard of the Jews being slaughtered during the 400's in Alexandria? That is the key right there--I know very little (if anything) of Eastern history. I only know marginally more when it comes to Western history. It amazes me how many things we do not teach students!

I found the author's description of the Christian religion quite intriguing and entirely accurate--unfortunately. And we wonder why the world hates and distrusts Christians! I always hate to see what people who have claimed my faith have done in the name of Christ! And the author's story of how the worship of Mary came about was fascinating--trust or not, it was plausible.

As much as I liked a lot of this book, I am afraid I do have a few criticisms. I will not be criticizing bedroom scenes--they were not detailed nor offensive. The language in the book was acceptable, but I would have preferred not reading slang terms for bodily functions--I did not feel that was appropriate for a book of this calibre, but that is just my opinion. I also did not like the parts that seemed to imply that the gods and goddesses were real. I don't want to give anything away, but at times I struggled to tell the difference between reality and fable. I am not well-versed in the portion of history, but I sometimes felt this story revered the pagan beliefs over anything else. I also had another pet peeve. Whenever the author got to a transition, the word "so" appeared. I found this annoying after a while. Sometimes I felt there was too much description. But all that is just my opinion. In fact, all of my criticisms are just that--my opinion.

I have given this book a 4-star rating. I loved the first section, did not care for the second section, but basically enjoyed the final section. I am not saying I definitely would not read a sequel--second books are often better than firsts--but it would not be on top of my "to do" list.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated in any way, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
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