Animals have their own language.
A language, Ruby Spencer doesn’t understand. Because if she did, she’d know that unrest festers.
The natural order on Earth and Athanasia is about to shift. Animals are tired of being underdogs to humans and vampires. And wolves are more than happy to lead an intergalactic rebellion.
Without an alpha who can speak to their hearts, find middle ground, and quell the uprising, the animals will be unstoppable. The universe will encounter an inescapable turning point.
Ruby is the one and only Tether who can connect the animals with their rightful king.
If only she could be found.
Plot: The Turning Point, the third novel in Ash’s genre-crossing The ELI Chronicles series, is gratifyingly wild, as any story about a war between animals, intergalactic telepathic vampires, wolf hybrids, mad scientists, ghosts, emergency heart surgery, and a vile president of the United States should be. Ash plots a twisty, surprising course through this extravagantly inventive material, always guiding readers to what matters most in any of the crisp, tightly written chapters. The author is adept at gruesome beasts and bursts of horror (readers should expect grisly transformations and some torture) but lights up the dark corners of this story with a focus on familial love, especially that between protagonist Ruby, her husband Clay, and their daughter Gabby, and also forgiveness, as when the villain of the series’ second book quite literally haunts the third – on the side of the heroes. Ash tells this complex story with heart and clarity.
Prose/Style: Ash excels at inner monologue, memorable dialogue, visceral descriptions of the horrific, and clipped, crisp scenes of action. A tendency to indulge in awkward sentences that open with participial phrases, though, slows down many crucial scenes.
Originality: Individual elements of Ash’s The ELI Chronicles are familiar from other genre works, but nobody has previously assembled these particular ideas into this exciting configuration. The joy in The Turning Point comes from Ash’s imaginative vigor, the willingness to make a longtime series character now the king of wolves, or to turn the first lady of the United States, in the opening pages, into a hybrid rat creature that must immediately be put down. What sets Ash apart isn’t just the exciting ideas but the emotional weight the author finds in them. Because Ash’s characters (even the villains) have convincing inner lives, these scenes have power.
Character Development: With so many characters, so many creatures, and so many ideas, Ash can’t possibly develop everyone in The Turning Point’s sprawling cast as thoroughly as they might deserve. The novel is propulsive, revealing its characters on the fly. Still, Ruby, Clay, Zagan, and the other key personalities are powerfully rendered, and everyone’s dialogue is unique. The president, though, sometimes sounds like a standard villain, issuing standard “bad guy” speeches.
Blurb: Wild, bloody, scary, and full of surprising inventions, The Turning Point makes an intergalactic war between animals, vampires, and humans both great fun and genuinely touching.
Date Submitted: June 03, 2020
Ash clearly builds on the previous installments, weaving extant plot threads together and surging toward resolution. Readers new to the series will be at a distinct disadvantage; as the novel rarely takes the time to stop and recap for their benefit, so they’ll want to start at the beginning. There are admitted holes in Ash’s world building: Ruby, as the Tether, is supposedly the most powerful being in the universe, but her powers and limitations (and those of other empowered characters) feel both nebulous and plot-convenient, without in-depth explanations. And the magic system’s open-ended nature will leave followers with unanswered questions.
But this adventure immediately draws in readers with skilled prose, complex themes, and an epic story involving genetic manipulation, vampires, an animal civilization on an alien planet, and longstanding grudges. And all of Ash’s characters—human, vampire, and animal alike—feel fleshed-out and complex, gracefully moving the plot along and delivering a satisfying resolution to the trilogy. Ultimately, Ash’s ability to weave together multiple genres into a well-paced synthesis of science fiction, fantasy, and horror (with appealing dialogue and welcome moments of humor) makes this futuristic series a genuinely one-of-a-kind experience.
Takeaway: This unusual, genre-blurring adventure offers a well-crafted, fresh spin on vampire myths and intelligent animals.
Great for fans of: Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines, C.C. Hunter’s Eternal: Shadow Falls After Dark.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B+
"Ash is a fearless author who holds little back in terms of imagination and worldbuilding. Her formidable vision holds together seemingly disparate elements, such as vampires and alien worlds, and it certainly helps that she winks frequently at her readers."