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3.0 

First, Become Ashes

By K.M. Szpara
First, Become Ashes by K.M. Szpara digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

K. M. Szpara follows his explosive debut novel Docile with First, Become Ashes, a fantastic standalone adventure that explores self-discovery after trauma and outgrowing abusive origins over the course of an American road trip.

The Fellowship raised Lark to kill monsters.
His partner betrayed them to the Feds.
But Lark knows his magic is real, and he’ll do anything to complete his quest.

For thirty years, the Fellowship of the Anointed isolated its members, conditioning them to believe that pain is power. That magic is suffering. That the world beyond the fence has fallen prey to monsters. But when their leader is arrested, all her teachings come into question.

Those touched by the Fellowship face a choice: how will they adjust to the world they were taught to fear, and how will they relate to the cult's last crusader, Lark? For Kane, survival means rejecting the magic he and his lover suffered for. For Deryn, the cult's collapse is an opportunity to prove they are worth as much as their Anointed brother. For Calvin, lark is the alluring embodiment of the magic he's been seeking his entire life.

But for Lark, the Fellowship isn’t over. Before he can begin to discover himself and heal a lifetime of traumas, he has a monster to slay.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

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14 Reviews

3.0
“As much as I appreciate what I can only assume to be the authors’s intentions with this book, I definitely think this could have been executed better and more realistically. There is a content warning in the very beginning which I agree was very necessary. But In the moments where those moments are addressed in full explicit detail, I can’t help but feel that the writing style and execution did not match the weight and severity of what was happening and any response to it to register these characters were dealing with very real, very serious trauma was glossed over to leave the spotlight on sexual content. I do not want to minimize the potential that there are monstrous people out there who would probably commit atrocities such as this. But while there was a focus on Lark, a firm believer that the monsters he was taught to be real were driving him towards his ambiguous goal, things like the actual investigation of Nova, the question of whether there really is a monster out there that needs vanquishing and many more mysteries to this plot were just… left alone. When lark finally found his monster, I was extremely underwhelmed and question why the encounter was even included. Monsters were left as an in described enigma for the entire book up until that point (90% into the book), why describe it now? Why does it matter? I liked the concept, and the writing was okay. But the organization and editing of this book wasn’t executed well.”
“I’m not sure whether this book works AT ALL in an objective sense, but I LOVED it.”

About K.M. Szpara

K.M. Szpara is a queer and trans author who lives in Baltimore, MD, with a small dog and long cat. He is the author of speculative novels such as FIRST, BECOME ASHES (2021), DOCILE (2020), and a third that will follow up on his Hugo and Nebula nominated novelette, "Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time." They're about cults and trauma, consent and debt, and a horny trans vampire, respectively. His short fiction appears in Tor.com, Uncanny, Lightspeed, and more. You can find himme on the Internet at kmszpara.com and on Twitter and Instagram at @kmszpara.

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