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Dead Remnants, by Armarna Forbes is a YA Urban Fantasy tale that follows young Ashen on a journey into the afterlife. As a young child, Ashen was visited by a terrifying supernatural presence, but it wasn’t a one-time occurrence. When Ashen’s life ends unexpectedly she finds herself in the midst of a war between beings of the afterlife, but she’s being forced to pick sides. Which side will she choose?
The story is told through multiple points of view, each explaining the character’s life prior to their tragic and untimely deaths. Through exploring their pasts, I came to bond with the characters on a deeper level and found myself picking favourites early on.
Conflict developed organically between the main characters, each with their own ideas of how to put an end to the war.
There were more than seven characters to keep track of, so I’m going to briefly discuss my favourite four: Ashen, Jacob, Macajah, and Thaddeus (the main villain.)
Ashen had been able to see the supernatural ever since she was small. I admired her immediately, seeing how well she coped with an alcoholic and emotionally-vacant mother. Ashen was a brave character for her age, as well as being a loyal and caring friend.
Jacob, Ashen’s best friend is lost to us for a good portion of the story, however the scenes that include him show him to be a dependable and trustworthy friend, always there for Ashen when she needs him most.
Macajah was a truly tortured soul, whose backstory tugged at my heart. He was an honourable gentleman that had his life and livelihood ripped away from him too soon by a gang of unscrupulous men, all because they wanted something he’d worked hard for. It’s sad to think that people do this to others in real life, instead of trying to make their own success in the world.
Finally, we come to Thaddeus, a dark force to be reckoned with and our core villain. Even he has his own backstory, which intertwined with several of the main character’s, including Ashen and Macajah. In life, Thaddeus was a cunning, cruel lowlife and in the afterlife, not much has changed. The other characters spend most of their time trying different ways to take Thaddeus down, to prevent him from dooming the afterlife’s inhabitants.
From the very first page, I was drawn into the mystery of how and why Ashen was seeing supernatural beings. I needed answers and had to read on.
The author created an interesting world for the deceased: a sort of alternate dimension that intersects with the world of the living. I loved the way it was set up, as though a second journey must be taken through a tunnel, for lost souls to reach true paradise.
Each part of the book, as I later realized, was titled after the five stages of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. That’s when it really hit me that all books tend to revolve around grief, after some sudden and unexpected change that shakes the characters to their core. The author did a wonderful job of exploring each of the five stages, post Ashen’s death, creating an evocative tale that had me praying the characters would come out victorious.
The ending was well thought out, however I did find myself wondering where Ashen ended up. Perhaps there will be a book two, so I can find out?
A Memorable Quote
As always, I’d like to end with a memorable quote from the book:
‘That’s the funny thing about hope, you never know what dark place it’ll shine from.’
With so much negativity circulating our world at the moment, I feel like it’s important to find hope or faith wherever you can: not necessarily faith in religion, but in life in general. I think we all need that little light in our life, that spark that no matter what happens, enables us to carry on living, and moving forward.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel.
It was different to what I expected but left me with lots to think about.
My rating: 4 stars.
Recommended? Yes, for lovers of YA Urban fantasy, and the supernatural.