Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Hour of Dust and Ashes (Charlie Madigan #3) by Kelly Gay

The Hour of Dust and Ashes (Charlie Madigan #3)The Hour of Dust and Ashes by Kelly Gay

Copy provided by Stephanie Deluca of Simon and Schuster

To save her sister, she must stop a silent killer. . . .

Protecting Atlanta from the off-world criminals of Underground is tough enough, but now Detective Charlie Madigan and her siren partner, Hank, learn that the addicts of the offworld drug ash have begun taking their own lives. Ash makes humans the perfect vessels for possession, and something or someone is leading them to their deaths. Charlie is desperate to save her addicted sister, Bryn, from a similar fate. As New Year’s Eve approaches and time runs out, Charlie makes a deadly bargain with an ancient race of beings and embarks on a dangerous journey into hellish Charbydon with Hank and the Revenant Rex to save Bryn and make it back before it’s too late. Only, for one of them, coming home means facing a fate worse than death. . . .

"Bare knuckles and butterflies, that's me."

That's a perfect description of Charlie inThe Hour of Dust and Ashes, as well as pretty much the whole darn series. She is a tough, kick ass chick and if you mess with her family or friends, man are you screwed. But she's also a woman. She feels fear and anxiety, and...butterflies (especially when it comes to a certain siren...).

This one picks up pretty much where The Darkest Edge of Dawn left off. A week has gone by since those events took place and the quest continues for a cure to ash, as well as who is running the show with Gregori Tennin. The story opens with a wonderful scene where we finally get to meet the oracle that was discussed at the very beginning of this series. This leads into some wonderful action where I'm reminded of just why I love Rex so much!

"Come and get it, muthafuckahhhs!!!"

I love how Gay has written Rex and how he grows a little in each book. Despite the obvious issues Charlie and Emma should have with Rex, he has become a part of their family and he is one of my favorite characters.

Speaking of super hot and sexy (nice segway, right?), the tension continues to build (and build and build and build...) between Hank and Charlie in this book. Gay writes the slowly developing romance that I love in urban fantasies. The sexual tension between these two is delicious, and I love how in each book we learn more and more about Hank.

“For the record,” he said, looking up at me with a crooked smile, “this is not how I pictured removing your pants for the first time.”

“That confidant, are we?”

His smiled filled out, deep and brimming with humor. “When something is this inevitable. Yes.”

In this installment, we learn about Hank's life growing up in Elysia and how he came to find himself on Earth. Of course, reading his back story just makes me love him even more. In each book in this series, Hank climbs the ladder to the top of my 'favorite book boyfriends' list. I put him right up there with Bones and Barrons, and that is the highest of honors.

In The Hour of Dust and Ashes, Gay develops the mythology and world building of her series even further when we finally get to see Charbydon. Everything in Gay's world is completely believable, and that is a testament to her excellent writing and her wonderful imagination. It makes me anticipate when we finally get to visit Elysia even more (and it seems as though we may get to do just that in her next book in the series).

So, let's run through this again:

1. A romance that builds slowly and smolders as it grows

2. First class world building that is unique and original

3. Secondary characters that the reader will find lovable and important

4. A heroine that balances kick assery with vulnerability, but never gets whiny or unbelievable

5. A sexy male character who is strong, loyal, and gives it to the heroine straight

Okay, that about sums it up! This series is insanely good and highly recommended! I CANNOT wait to read book four. And here is my favorite quote of this book:

He tossed my wet pants into the pile with the rest of my soiled clothes, then turned back and froze.

"You're wearing SpongeBob underwear."


My gaze flew downward and my mortification was finally complete. "Emma got them for me...for my birthday." What the hell. I might as well get it over with. "Patrick is on my ass."

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