Beauty in the Ashes is a dark contemporary romance novel by Micalea Smeltzer.
Caelan Gregory was only 18 when he came home from a high school party and found his parents and younger sister murdered in his house. Since then he has become an angry, bitter and violent person. When the pain of his loss gets too much, he fleds into painting or even worse: alcohol and drugs. Then Sutton Hale happens. She moves into the apartment right across the hall from him. She is loud and obnoxious but something is different about her. Sutton has her own demons to overcome but is drawn to Caelan nonetheless. But can two dark and broken souls fix each other?
Caelan is a really angry person. He constantly yells at his neighbors to be quiet and if they aren’t, he threatens them or throws in a few punches. He is not only an alcohol but also a drug addict. And when I say drugs, then I mean the hard kinds. I don’t really do well with drugs and I’m usually put off by characters who do them. Caelan found his entire family murdered and I think it’s safe to say that everyone of us would’ve freaked out one way or the other. I mean, I would have! But turning to drugs and becoming such an angry person is the wrong way.
Sutton is a closed off but nice person. And like Caelan, she also has a traumatic past, which is different from Caelan’s but no less terrible! Sutton has dealt with her past and has accepted it, Caelan is far from that, unfortunately. Although she has come to terms with it, she still has moments in which her dark side pushes to the surface.
With all their quirks and flaws, Caelan and Sutton alone are not easy to deal or be friends with. But both of them together? Poisonous!
As I mentioned in the beginning of this review, the book is a dark contemporary novel. It was a dark story, until the relationship of Sutton and Caelan turned into a cheese-fest toward the middle of the book. I still don’t know why and how that happened. Their sudden lovey-dovey behavior was so out of character for them. There were quite a few scenes that were too cheesy and too predictable and I had my eyes rolling more than a few times throughout the entire book. It was all a little bit too much from everything.
I couldn’t connect with neither Caelan nor Sutton. The only character I really liked was Memphis. He was such a genuine and honest guy. I would’ve liked to see even more of him.
The ending of this novel was also very different and I was actually surprised by the outcome. It was something I didn’t expect but something I liked.
Also, the ARC I was lucky enough to receive still had quite a few typos which annoyed me a little bit. I hope the finalized version won’t contain any typos whatsoever.
I’ve read most of Micalea Smeltzer’s novels and I am a big fan of hers but unfortunately this novel was not for me. It wasn’t even the fact that it was a dark contemporary novel. I like when authors are bold and try out genres out of their comfort/writing zone, and I as a reader love to read those bold releases! It was rather the lack of connection with the characters and how the story developed.
This small bump down the road however won’t discourage me from reading future Micalea Smeltzer novels.
To avoid further confusion: Beauty in the Ashes is NOT a new novel by Micalea Smeltzer. It was initially released in July 2014. A few months ago Micalea however decided to re-release a fully revised version with a new cover. She also added an epilogue. You see the old cover here:
Lots of bookish love,