Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT RISING FROM THE ASHES by Caren J Werlinger #YA #Fantasy #WeekendBlogHop

Today’s second team review is from Barb, she blogs at

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Barb has been reading Rising from the Ashes by Caren J Werlinger



gold starMy Review: 5 stars out of 5 for Rising From the Ashes


When I started reading Rising From the Ashes, I was skeptical. Dragons in Ireland? I went straight to my favorite Irish myth expert, Ali Isaacs, who didn’t let me down. In her blog post, The Serpent in Irish Mythology, she recounts several stories of heroes battling dragons. And best of all, she mentions their Irish name—péista. 

So when the young apprentice mage Ash meets the strange creature who tells her it’s name is Péist, I knew we were in for some fun. The story is an alternate history, a coming of age tale in the best fantasy traditions, complete with authentic historical details reminiscent of Monica Furlong’s classic Wise Child and Juniper, combined with the adventure and heroism of Robin McKinley’s Hero and Crown series.

Adopted by badgers (badgers!) as an infant after her village is destroyed by invaders, Ash survives because of her ability to communicate with animals. Although discovered and accepted as apprentice by mages, Ash and her new friends’ existence is threatened by the increasing influence of the Christianity introduced to Ireland by Saint Patrick in the fifth century.

Author CJ Werlinger treads a delicate path here, balancing between the magic lore taught and practiced by her fictional mages and the reality that we know the Christians were eventually successful. The young heroine isn’t a warrior, and her motives are to protect her friends, her forest, and the mysterious Péist. I admired the way Ash’s acceptance of her own vulnerability is both her protection and her strength. And I particularly liked the way she and Péist bond to form a union that is more than the sum of their parts.

The world building is wonderful. Not only do we get the strong sense of the realities of everyday life, but we also watch Ash grow into her own unique strengths and convictions. The tale begins slowly, and then moves ever faster as the threat grows for her little band of mage teachers and student apprentices. For the most part, characters were well-drawn and memorable. The voices of the various narrators were believable, whether told through the scent-focused badger, the displaced young girl, or the old woman with a lifetime of learning to share. The story arc is wrapped up beautifully, with just enough to introduce the new challenge that awaits in the next volume.

Although I did find it a bit difficult to accept how quickly Ash mastered what seemed complex magical concepts, that is really my only critique of the tale. I wouldn’t hesitate to give it five out of five stars for originality, strong voice, and a terrific concept. If I knew a YA reader looking for a story with a strong heroine, compelling story line, and (best of all!) dragons, I would recommend Rising from the Ashes. I know I’m looking forward to reading more of this promising series.

**I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT RISING FROM THE ASHES: The Chronicles Of Caymin by Caren J. Werlinger

Today’s second team review is from Teri, she blogs at

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Teri has been reading Rising From The Ashes: The Chronicles Of Caymin by Caren J Werlinger


4 Stars

I admit – I was skeptical about a girl being raised by a clan of badgers, but as an animal lover and someone who carries on conversations regularly with my cat (and wishes he could answer), I really enjoyed the characterization of the animals in this book and listening in on their conversations.  Some of them were among my favorite characters and wriggled their way into my heart.

The author did a wonderful job of gradually bringing Ash from the world in which she was raised to human society and showing her heartbreak at leaving her badger family and the only world she’s really known, her mistrust of ‘two-legs’, wonder at seeing new places and tasting unfamiliar foods, and struggle to fit into the human world.

I’ve only read a few stories with dragons, but I liked the author’s different take on them and the idea that dragons may bond with a human.  In this world, dragons equal power, so some power hungry people want what Ash has, but this story hints at an even bigger conflict to come in the next book.

As the first several chapters primarily involve Ash, Enat, and the badgers, I felt a little overwhelmed when nearly all the other characters are introduced at once and had some difficulty keeping them straight at first.  The pacing is somewhat slower in the beginning when the students are attending lessons, but by the midpoint, it picks up considerably when a traitor is revealed and some characters become more skilled in the use of their magic.

The world-building is solid and the characters interesting and well-developed, although I hope the second book goes into more depth with some characters’ backstories.  Rising From the Ashes is a well-written novel that would appeal to all ages, not just YA.

I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through Rosie’s Book Review Team.

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