Ashes – Mario Candelaria and Karl Slominski

ashes cover

Genre: Graphic Novel

Publication Date: August 1st 2015 by Diamond Book Distributors

Format: ARC ebook from Diamond Book Distributors via Netgalley

Matt always had an easygoing life. Girls liked him, his friends were more like family, and being a firefighter came naturally. Then the accident happened. Now, after the loss of his leg, Matt struggles to cope with his new handicap as he attempts to rebuild his shattered family and once budding career. A riveting tale about perseverance, hard work, and overcoming the odds, Ashes is not to be missed.

(from goodreads.com)


I loved the concept of this graphic novel and I was expecting it to be amazing. But it just didn’t deliver. There was so much potential as well, which was what made it so disappointing.

For one thing, I found the images really dark and it was difficult to make some things out. Admittedly this is only the second graphic novel that I have read, however I have others that I have flicked through and they were much clearer. Because of this lack of clarity, I kept getting confused with who was who and following the speech bubbles was difficult too. I do prefer colour images, and colour would have worked really worked in this graphic novel, seeing as it was about a firefighter (I mean fire and bright colours go hand in hand).

The storyline was the part that had the most potential though. I loved the premise and there were so many parts where it could have been heartwarming and heartbreaking but these parts didn’t arrive. It was so frustrating because it wouldn’t have taken a lot more to make it these things. An extra image or page here and there. That’s it. I found things were started in the plot and they just ended before they could really be turned into something worthwhile. There seemed to only be one fully developed event in the middle of the novel whereas everything else was started, proceeded at a nice steady pace, and then was finished with remarkably quickly. The pacing wasn’t consistent is what I’m trying to say, as well the events being left undeveloped. I also didn’t really like the ending, it was a bit underwhelming. I was expecting a more dramatic, interesting conclusion but it just ended. Like that. Again, potential that went unfulfilled.

I disliked the majority of the characters as well. They weren’t relatable in any way and I really struggled to connect with them. It was therefore not enjoyable as I didn’t feel drawn into the story in the way that I usually am. Also the language that was used was vulgar for the most part and although I don’t have an issue with swearing there are times when it, along with crude references, can just be a bit too much. Such was the case in this graphic novel. I understand that it was in language that many people would use to talk to each other but it made it very unpleasant at times to read and I felt it was unnecessary. As I said, I don’t have an issue with swearing, it really doesn’t bother me, except when there is a bit too much.

I just found this book so confusing. There were points when I couldn’t work out what was happening and why and it just wasn’t nice to read at all at times. The problem was I felt that all of this was avoidable. It could have been clear, the plot better developed, the characters a little less vulgar. I guess this just wasn’t my cup of tea (and I like my tea a lot!). The potential was there, but the story wasn’t and this was really disappointing because the premise sounded so interesting and like the kind of story that would have tugged at my heartstrings. There were a couple of points when I felt some emotion towards one or other of the characters, but for the most part I felt that I was just sitting reading it for the sake of reading (and finishing) it.

Rating: 2 / 5.

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