Here's the summary from Goodreads: Wren MacAvoy works as a coal miner for a domed city that was constructed in the mid-nineteenth century to protect the royal blood line of England when astronomers spotted a comet on a collision course with Earth. Humanity would be saved by the most groundbreaking technology of the time. But after nearly 200 years of life beneath the dome, society has become complacent and the coal is running out. Plus there are those who wonder, is there life outside the dome or is the world still consumed by fire? When one of Wren's friends escapes the confines of the dome, he is burned alive and put on display as a warning to those seeking to disrupt the dome’s way of life. But Alex’s final words are haunting. “The sky is blue.” What happens next is a whirlwind of adventure, romance, conspiracy and the struggle to stay alive in a world where nothing is as it seems. Wren unwittingly becomes a catalyst for a revolution that destroys the dome and the only way to survive might be to embrace what the entire society has feared their entire existence.I didn't understand this cover for a very long time. But I do now. So...yeah. I felt like that was important for you all to know.
What I Liked: 1) Wren. I always like defiant heroines, and she is defiant from the very beginning. Even when we first meet her she is breaking one of the cardinal rules of her world. She's very strong in that she knows not to just accept what is expected of her, because there is something better out there. 2) I liked Pace a lot. It's hard not to like this guy. He kind of reminds me of a puppy dog. He's a little helpless when he is in Wren's world, but he's got a lot of strength to him too. Especially when they are "above." 3) "The Sky Is Blue." This is the mantra that seems to keep Wren and her friends going after Alex's death. There is something so simple in that phrase, yet when you are in the book, it's very powerful. I love how it brought everything together and became such an important piece of the story. 4) Two worlds. There are two very distinct worlds within this book. There is that of the shiners, who live below in the tunnels, and that of the people who live above. Author Kassy Tayler did a very good job in making this two places so different, yet showing both the reader and the characters how the spirit of the people can be the same. I thought this was one of the best parts of the story.
What I Didn't Like: Just a few little things here and there: there are some things about Wren that I didn't understand. She is a Shiner, which is someone who lives underground and mines for coal. And there is a very obvious physical distinction between the shiners and other people, that had to do with their eyes. I don't know if maybe my imagination just wasn't working properly, but I can't figure out what that was supposed to be. I know it's supposed to be there, but I had a hard time visualizing it and that really messes me up when I'm reading. Also, there was an unnecessary death that made me quite angry. This isn't so much a complaint about the writing of the story, but I just can't believe she did that to her characters.
Overall Thoughts: Steampunk meets Dystopia in this new YA from author Cindy Holby (pen name, Kassy Tayler). I'm not the biggest steampunk fan, but the dystopian side of the story appealed to me. Heroine Wren takes a Katniss-esque step into the spotlight when she unwillingly becomes the leader of a band of "Seekers" who aim to learn the truth about the world outside the dome. Between the characters and the plot, there is a lot to enjoy about Ashes of Twilight. I had a hard time connecting with some of the details, and it made the visualization a little difficult, but other that I think Ashes of Twilight was an interesting story that will intrigue fans of the steampunk genre.
My Rating: 3.5 shots