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Freedom for one, freedom for all? That’s the question that burns in Isabel’s mind as she and Curzon forge on through chaos and fear toward the dream that’s kept them alive for so many years: freedom. But her dream of living not as a “runaway” but as a free person with land and a family of her own seems impossibly far away. That dream hinges on one thing: finding her little Freedom for one, freedom for all? That’s the question that burns in Isabel’s mind as she and Curzon forge on through chaos and fear toward the dream that’s kept them alive for so many years: freedom. But her dream of living not as a “runaway” but as a free person with land and a family of her own seems impossibly far away. That dream hinges on one thing: finding her little sister, Ruth. It’s been years since Ruth was stolen from her. Is she even alive? And if Isabel can find her, how will they make it safely through the war between the Patriots and the British that rages on as dangerously as ever, while bounty hunters try to kidnap them at every turn? In the American Revolution, one must pick a side in order to survive. But how can you care about a nation’s freedom when the very same nation has kept you in chains?


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Freedom for one, freedom for all? That’s the question that burns in Isabel’s mind as she and Curzon forge on through chaos and fear toward the dream that’s kept them alive for so many years: freedom. But her dream of living not as a “runaway” but as a free person with land and a family of her own seems impossibly far away. That dream hinges on one thing: finding her little Freedom for one, freedom for all? That’s the question that burns in Isabel’s mind as she and Curzon forge on through chaos and fear toward the dream that’s kept them alive for so many years: freedom. But her dream of living not as a “runaway” but as a free person with land and a family of her own seems impossibly far away. That dream hinges on one thing: finding her little sister, Ruth. It’s been years since Ruth was stolen from her. Is she even alive? And if Isabel can find her, how will they make it safely through the war between the Patriots and the British that rages on as dangerously as ever, while bounty hunters try to kidnap them at every turn? In the American Revolution, one must pick a side in order to survive. But how can you care about a nation’s freedom when the very same nation has kept you in chains?

30 review for Ashes

  1. 4 out of 5

    Laurie Anderson

    Thanks to everyone for being so patient for ASHES!! I owe you an explanation! The plan was for only two years to elapse between the publication of FORGE and ASHES, so it was originally supposed to be published in 2012. Then life kicked me in the butt. My mother's emphysema entered the last stages and she wanted to end her days at home, not in an institution. So I took care of her until she died, which set back the plans for several books, in addition to all the deeply emotional stuff. The opportun Thanks to everyone for being so patient for ASHES!! I owe you an explanation! The plan was for only two years to elapse between the publication of FORGE and ASHES, so it was originally supposed to be published in 2012. Then life kicked me in the butt. My mother's emphysema entered the last stages and she wanted to end her days at home, not in an institution. So I took care of her until she died, which set back the plans for several books, in addition to all the deeply emotional stuff. The opportunity to take care of her was incredible and it was the right thing to do. Then it was my turn to become ill (secondary adrenal insufficiency) and I lost a year of being able to concentrate enough to work. And then my father entered the last stages of his life, which required lots of love, care, and time. He died in 2014. In between all these things I was researching and writing, but obviously, I wasn't doing it very fast. I apologize. I know how frustrated I get when I am waiting for an author ::coughGeorgeRRMartincough:: to bring out the next book in a series. I totally understand those of you who threw up your hands in frustration and may have muttered that I was an addledpated lackwit, or something to that effect. I'm very lucky that my editor and publishers were willing to give me the time and space I needed to take care of family and health, and then to do the deep research and intense writing that ASHES required. I'm super proud of this book. I hope you like it. It will be published on October 4th, 2016. Huzzah!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Saru (Queen of Bookland)

    Why does the release date keep getting pushed ahead? ERGH! I need to know what happens! How does everything turn out? Why does the release date keep getting pushed ahead? ERGH! I need to know what happens! How does everything turn out?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Fia-Sophia

    When will this book come out? I am dying to read it! It was over a year and a half ago that I read Forge, so I'm getting really antsy for Ashes. Please come out soon! When will this book come out? I am dying to read it! It was over a year and a half ago that I read Forge, so I'm getting really antsy for Ashes. Please come out soon!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kate Kerrane

    Waaa! The audio version of this book is supposed to come out this week. Clearly Halse Anderson has finished it, but we must wait until January for the actual book to come out! Noooo! Chains and Forge, the first two books in this trilogy are among the best historical fiction books that I have ever read. Waaa! The audio version of this book is supposed to come out this week. Clearly Halse Anderson has finished it, but we must wait until January for the actual book to come out! Noooo! Chains and Forge, the first two books in this trilogy are among the best historical fiction books that I have ever read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sean-Wyn

    I waited for this book for four years, and it definitely didn't disappoint! Very few other books have been able to stir up such strong emotions in me, and the way the author resolves (view spoiler)[Aberdeen's death with Ruth's letters (hide spoiler)] was amazing, IMO. I almost cried at that part, and I appreciated how it showed the brutality of the Revolutionary War (view spoiler)[(instead of having Aberdeen be found again for a happier ending) (hide spoiler)] . I did have a few problems with the I waited for this book for four years, and it definitely didn't disappoint! Very few other books have been able to stir up such strong emotions in me, and the way the author resolves (view spoiler)[Aberdeen's death with Ruth's letters (hide spoiler)] was amazing, IMO. I almost cried at that part, and I appreciated how it showed the brutality of the Revolutionary War (view spoiler)[(instead of having Aberdeen be found again for a happier ending) (hide spoiler)] . I did have a few problems with the pacing, and Ruth's reason for (view spoiler)[being mean to Isabel for months (hide spoiler)] seemed like a bit of a copout, especially since (view spoiler)[Isabel had (when Ruth's foot was infected) already told Ruth how she was stolen away (hide spoiler)] . Thank you so, so much for this book Ms. Anderson!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Gross

    I've been waiting a long time for this book and, man oh man, it was worth the wait. The conclusion to the trilogy that began with Chains, Ashes takes the reader back to Isabelle and Curzon's story. I cried more than once while reading and could not put it down. I even snuck in a few pages while standing in line at the deli counter today! I'm thrilled that this story has grown with it's readers (Isabelle and Curzon are in their late teens now) while still maintaining it's appeal to middle school a I've been waiting a long time for this book and, man oh man, it was worth the wait. The conclusion to the trilogy that began with Chains, Ashes takes the reader back to Isabelle and Curzon's story. I cried more than once while reading and could not put it down. I even snuck in a few pages while standing in line at the deli counter today! I'm thrilled that this story has grown with it's readers (Isabelle and Curzon are in their late teens now) while still maintaining it's appeal to middle school and high school readers. And as a #hamilfan, I think I have an even deeper appreciation for the historical accuracy in the trilogy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Skip

    I enjoyed this last book more than its predecessor: Forge. Former slaves Curzon and Isabel are traveling south at great personal risk to find Isabel's younger sister, who was sent away to punish Isabel's rebellious nature. Her adoptive family sends her with them (in search of freedom), but tensions are high among all. Curzon eventually joins the patriot army and much of the story is centered around the battle of Yorktown as Isabel and her sister gravitate there too find work as their resources w I enjoyed this last book more than its predecessor: Forge. Former slaves Curzon and Isabel are traveling south at great personal risk to find Isabel's younger sister, who was sent away to punish Isabel's rebellious nature. Her adoptive family sends her with them (in search of freedom), but tensions are high among all. Curzon eventually joins the patriot army and much of the story is centered around the battle of Yorktown as Isabel and her sister gravitate there too find work as their resources wane because of unexpected substantial, but essential costs.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I have just received visual confirmation of Ashes! New release date: October 4, 2016! Confirmed by the author! And look at that beautiful cover: Bold colors! Composition that draws the eye! I approve! I was not one of the lucky ones to get my hands on the sampler, but I saw STACKS! It's happening! I have just received visual confirmation of Ashes! New release date: October 4, 2016! Confirmed by the author! And look at that beautiful cover: Bold colors! Composition that draws the eye! I approve! I was not one of the lucky ones to get my hands on the sampler, but I saw STACKS! It's happening!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    My words will never justly express my love, adoration and appreciation of Ashes and the entire Seeds of America trilogy. I am said and satisfied I've read them. The historical research and attention to detail was worth the decade journey LHA took to write them. The best and most surprising part of this book is the relationship between Isabel and Curzon. Never have I ever read a YA piece that creates such a deliciously deep, complex and rich relationship between two characters. Even my middle sch My words will never justly express my love, adoration and appreciation of Ashes and the entire Seeds of America trilogy. I am said and satisfied I've read them. The historical research and attention to detail was worth the decade journey LHA took to write them. The best and most surprising part of this book is the relationship between Isabel and Curzon. Never have I ever read a YA piece that creates such a deliciously deep, complex and rich relationship between two characters. Even my middle school students wouldn't be bothered by the "mushy love stuff" because it wasn't about that. It was about trust, friendship, loyalty, values, friends as family...I could go on and on. I look forward to rereading again soon. Thank you LHA!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andralynn

    I really enjoyed how this series and the stories of Isabel, Curzon, and Ruth wrapped up. Though I was a little sad that I didn't get to read more about what Isabel and Curzon experienced while trying to get to Ruth, I did appreciate that Ruth and Isabel's reunion happened early on in the book. It had been years since they had been separated, and there would inevitably be some bumps on the road to being reconciled, and I very much enjoyed reading about that process. Isabel is such a strong, courag I really enjoyed how this series and the stories of Isabel, Curzon, and Ruth wrapped up. Though I was a little sad that I didn't get to read more about what Isabel and Curzon experienced while trying to get to Ruth, I did appreciate that Ruth and Isabel's reunion happened early on in the book. It had been years since they had been separated, and there would inevitably be some bumps on the road to being reconciled, and I very much enjoyed reading about that process. Isabel is such a strong, courageous character, and I loved having her voice back as the narrator. She isn't perfect, by any means, and it was touching to see her figure out her own foibles and missteps in trying to reconnect with her sister. I also loved the viewpoint of the patriotism black people had at the time. They knew that they weren't likely to receive freedom from the Revolutionary War; they knew that the army would most likely recant on any promises of freedom that they had made. They also knew that once the war was over, whether freed legally or freed by their own means, they would be in constant danger of being kidnapped and sold back into slavery. Yet so many of these courageous men and women fought for the promise of freedom in a new land. They fought on the hope that one day, they would be included in the phrase "All men are created equal." They fought knowing that once the Revolutionary War ended, their war for equality would be far from over. Despite all of that, they still believed in the United States of America. Their stories are so often forgotten, which is a shame because they are so inspiring to read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    According to a recent blog post made by the author in September 2012 it seems that Ashes is not finished (or perhaps even started). However, there have been no new posts since September 23rd, so it is possible things have changed. She writes: "I am writing again like,…. well, like a madwoman. My health has been good this summer (last year it really sucked) and although I have have a bunch of tests and doctor visits later this month, I think it will be smooth sailing ahead. I’m hoping to give my n According to a recent blog post made by the author in September 2012 it seems that Ashes is not finished (or perhaps even started). However, there have been no new posts since September 23rd, so it is possible things have changed. She writes: "I am writing again like,…. well, like a madwoman. My health has been good this summer (last year it really sucked) and although I have have a bunch of tests and doctor visits later this month, I think it will be smooth sailing ahead. I’m hoping to give my new YA to my editor by Halloween and then, AND THEN I get to dive into the historical research for ASHES, which will be an absolute delight." So according to this post, she has not started the research for Ashes (or the writing of it) and has another YA book to finish before she begins, so it's probably going to be a while. So, it seems like 2014 might be the year for Ashes. Maybe (it has been pushed back a few times). Amazon has set the Kindle version to March 2014- I think that's a reasonable deadline given the information available.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lara

    Just a PSA, Halse said in a recent Goodreads interview that she got really ill for two years, and this badly affected her writing schedule. She's trying to get back on track now, so hopefully it will be out some time soon. Edit: So I just got an update saying Halse herself liked this PSA! Checked the profile, and she's saying October 4th 2016! Exciting news guys, hope all is well now Laurie :) x Just a PSA, Halse said in a recent Goodreads interview that she got really ill for two years, and this badly affected her writing schedule. She's trying to get back on track now, so hopefully it will be out some time soon. Edit: So I just got an update saying Halse herself liked this PSA! Checked the profile, and she's saying October 4th 2016! Exciting news guys, hope all is well now Laurie :) x

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Love, love, LOVE. I'm sad it's over. I read it slowly on purpose just for that reason. Love, love, LOVE. I'm sad it's over. I read it slowly on purpose just for that reason.

  14. 5 out of 5

    BookishStitcher

    I finished reading this trilogy for my studies in middle grade literature.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kassidy

    War is coming, and Isabel is forced to choose a side, British or the rebels. This story is not only about surviving, but protecting the ones you care about. In this book, characters relationships towards one another are constantly growing. They gained trust in others and formed relationships to strive for their freedom. Supporting one another through the worst of times.

  16. 4 out of 5

    David

    5.0 I was so lucky to get my hands on an advance copy of Ashes thanks to the generosity of a few friends who knew how much I enjoyed the first two instalments in this series. The conclusion of an anticipated trilogy is always filled with excitement, but also concern that it is not going to meet the lofty expectations of the previous titles. Ashes not only met my hopes for the third book, but exceeded them. Right from the start Laurie Halse Anderson threw me for a loop and took the story in a dire 5.0 I was so lucky to get my hands on an advance copy of Ashes thanks to the generosity of a few friends who knew how much I enjoyed the first two instalments in this series. The conclusion of an anticipated trilogy is always filled with excitement, but also concern that it is not going to meet the lofty expectations of the previous titles. Ashes not only met my hopes for the third book, but exceeded them. Right from the start Laurie Halse Anderson threw me for a loop and took the story in a direction that I had not predicted at all. It created yet another wonderful layer of suspense that added immensely to my enjoyment of the story. Even though this is a middle grade/young adult novel I found myself totally engrossed in the plot and not wanting to put the book down. Halse Anderson is a truly gifted writer and her ability to weave multiple complex isssues into captivating, brilliant, simple and yet beautiful writing makes her easily one of my absolute favorites. It is so nice to have a young adult book that has complex themes that adults can enjoy without the trash that so many authors tend to feel the need to put in their books. It once again speaks to her skills as a storyteller and to her as a person. Her ability to embody human emotion between people is so sweet, so lovely and so refreshing. It is that authentic human element that she brings to her stories that really is so inspiring. When you add to all of that her skill at weaving in wonderful historical facts that she relates to current issues it is truly the perfect combination. I definitely enjoyed the extra historical information at the end and I can't think of a better way to learn about the American Revolution, slavery, the creation of the United States and the legacy of all of that today. I can only hope that this is not her last foray into historical fiction. In conclusion this book ultimately made me feel as if I had frogs hopping around in my stomach!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sydney

    WHY AREN'T YOU OUT YET??? WHY AREN'T YOU OUT YET???

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Laurie Halse Anderson's brilliant conclusion to her Revolutionary War trilogy brings the war years of the struggling new nation to life in surprising ways. Our favorite characters: Isabel, Ruth, and Curzon are together again as they work towards the freedom of a nation that does not deem them free. I learn so much reading her books. For instance, I didn't know that Rhode Island offered freedom to any slaves who fought in the Revolutionary War and honored it. Meanwhile, our Founding Fathers round Laurie Halse Anderson's brilliant conclusion to her Revolutionary War trilogy brings the war years of the struggling new nation to life in surprising ways. Our favorite characters: Isabel, Ruth, and Curzon are together again as they work towards the freedom of a nation that does not deem them free. I learn so much reading her books. For instance, I didn't know that Rhode Island offered freedom to any slaves who fought in the Revolutionary War and honored it. Meanwhile, our Founding Fathers rounded up their runaway slaves who were prisoners with the British and made them slaves again. Ten thousand escaped to New Foundland and some from there to Sierra Leone. And up to 20% of the Patriot soldiers in our Revolutionary War were blacks! But the History is the bonus. Ashes is a great story with suspense, twists, turns, betrayals, discoveries, sacrifices, and love. And Laurie Halse Anderson is visiting O. Henry Middle School on October 24! Yea Book People!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    I give up - I will never read another Laurie Halse Anderson book. I have waited more than FIVE YEARS for her to wrap up this story, and Anderson has pushed the publication date on this book back at least EIGHT TIMES now - she constantly announces new dates and insists she is "finishing ASHES up right now!" but when the date arrives, there is a new publication date six months down the road again. It is clear that she has no clue how to finish this series, and didn't plan out the whole plot before I give up - I will never read another Laurie Halse Anderson book. I have waited more than FIVE YEARS for her to wrap up this story, and Anderson has pushed the publication date on this book back at least EIGHT TIMES now - she constantly announces new dates and insists she is "finishing ASHES up right now!" but when the date arrives, there is a new publication date six months down the road again. It is clear that she has no clue how to finish this series, and didn't plan out the whole plot before she began writing. She's just stringing readers along at this point, and it is beyond irritating. I will give my time to authors who can actually finish the stories they create in the future.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    First, I had to read summaries of Chains and Forge, because I couldn't remember what was happening. Not a great start. Second, I really did not like Isabel or Ruth. Ruth is depicted in some scenes as a mentally disabled character, yet has more insight and is more astute than Isabel in many ways. It was really, really cruel that Isabel yanked Ruth out of the one home she remembered; I felt Isabel was an incredibly selfish character, and her sudden change from being closed-off to telling Curzon sh First, I had to read summaries of Chains and Forge, because I couldn't remember what was happening. Not a great start. Second, I really did not like Isabel or Ruth. Ruth is depicted in some scenes as a mentally disabled character, yet has more insight and is more astute than Isabel in many ways. It was really, really cruel that Isabel yanked Ruth out of the one home she remembered; I felt Isabel was an incredibly selfish character, and her sudden change from being closed-off to telling Curzon she loves him didn't feel real. The plodding of the characters journeying through the wilderness got a little tedious, and the epigraphs were distracting. I suppose I am satisfied with where all the characters ended up; this just still feels incomplete. THIS is a novel that needs an epilogue; we're left wondering if Isabel and Ruth remain free or if they're resold into enslavement and what happens to Curzon and Isabel. There was so much lead-up to a climax that doesn't really happen, and the ending feels rushed. Ultimately, the long delay between books erased any tension between them, and erased any curiosity and interest I had.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sparrow

    I've been waiting to read this book for years and I'm finally happy to have finished the series. by book three, I've realized that I don't care for the large skips of time in-between. I don't like hearing recaps from Isabel and Curzon about the last year's worth of activities (it made their relationship seem slightly unrealistic). but I still very much enjoyed moving with these characters and living through the American revolution. I cannot wait to read more Anderson when she writes again! I've been waiting to read this book for years and I'm finally happy to have finished the series. by book three, I've realized that I don't care for the large skips of time in-between. I don't like hearing recaps from Isabel and Curzon about the last year's worth of activities (it made their relationship seem slightly unrealistic). but I still very much enjoyed moving with these characters and living through the American revolution. I cannot wait to read more Anderson when she writes again!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Beth Honeycutt

    Absolutely 4.5 stars. I loved the "ending" of Isabel and Curzon's story! Amazing historical fiction journey. Absolutely 4.5 stars. I loved the "ending" of Isabel and Curzon's story! Amazing historical fiction journey.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Mandina

    This series should be even more popular with the popularity of Hamilton right now. A great end to a great series. Full review to come on Lisa Loves Literature soon.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    One of the best series ever!!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dee Dee G

    I didn’t realize this wasn’t the first book until I started reading it. This was so good, I could clearly imagine seeing the story unfold in real time.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lia

    Once again, the author transports me back in time. I was so happy with the ending. I felt the hope for a better future.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mayla

    I found myself rather confused in this book and I found out it was because this was not the first book. That's why I had to give it 2 out of 5 stars. Though if I had read the first one first I think I would have liked it better. I found myself rather confused in this book and I found out it was because this was not the first book. That's why I had to give it 2 out of 5 stars. Though if I had read the first one first I think I would have liked it better.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marcus Trent

    I literally bawled at the end of this book. It was literally that good.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nicolette Harding

    Wonderful conclusion to an amazing series. These are YA books but you almost can't tell nor does it matter. Such great writing and research. Wonderful conclusion to an amazing series. These are YA books but you almost can't tell nor does it matter. Such great writing and research.

  30. 5 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    This thrilling conclusion to the Seeds of America series has Isabel and Curzon on the run together again. They're still searching for Isabel's sister Ruth. They've battled illness, banditti, Redcoats , gators and snakes and now they're closer than ever. However, the British control Charleston and a sympathetic woman urged Isabel to look at Riverbend first. What Isabel finds there is beyond anything she could have imagined. She struggles to accept the situation and with Curzon's glib tongue and a This thrilling conclusion to the Seeds of America series has Isabel and Curzon on the run together again. They're still searching for Isabel's sister Ruth. They've battled illness, banditti, Redcoats , gators and snakes and now they're closer than ever. However, the British control Charleston and a sympathetic woman urged Isabel to look at Riverbend first. What Isabel finds there is beyond anything she could have imagined. She struggles to accept the situation and with Curzon's glib tongue and a new friend named Aberdeen, the friends are off on another journey- north to Rhode Island to freedom. The British and Continental troops are on the march, soon to meet in Virginia. The travelers have a choice- keep going north without money or food or follow the army where there will be other self-liberated people and jobs. Isabel and Curzon are still sharply divided over their opinions over which side to support. When the battle is over, freedom will come, but will it come for Isabel, Curzon and their people? This is an outstanding piece of historical fiction and a wonderful conclusion to the trilogy. At first it seems as if one situation will be resolved very quickly, but I underestimated the power of Laurie Halse Anderson's storytelling. Isabel goes on another type of journey- a journey of discovery and growth. Her character growth is outstanding. I even teared up at one point. I stayed up until almost 2 am to see where this story was headed. It was left a bit open-ended, leaving me to wonder what's next for Isabel and anyone else who survives. If I have a critique, it's that there is way too much about camp life. I've never been interested in military history so I skimmed a lot of the military details and the domestic details. I found the messages a little too heavy handed for my personal taste as an adult, but I think younger readers will like it. The messages are very timely right now. I liked how the summary of the first book was included in the plot as Isabel relates it to another character. I also really liked learning about her family traditions. The romance finally progresses. As readers of Forge know, Curzon is in love with Isabel. Her feelings become pretty clear in this novel even though she doesn't acknowledge them. I wondered whether Isabel and Curzon would get together and if they would survive that long. There are a couple of new characters here. Aberdeen is a slightly less angsty male Isabel. He's a bit hot-headed but knows how to reign it in when he needs to. He believes in freedom and believes in promises one army offers, much like Curzon. Curzon is more idealistic than Aberdeen though. There's also a lovely elderly enslaved couple- Mr. Walter and Miz Serafina. They're funny, sweet, kind and loving. I would be honored to have them as surrogate grandparents. The new female character is a great one. She's a bit sassy, stubborn and also very sweet. I love her relationship with animals, especially the donkey. I can't recommend this trilogy enough, especially this conclusion. The issue of sexual abuse of slaves isn't glossed over but it's not spelled out graphically either. If the reader is aware enough, they will pick up on it but the characters just say the overseer means harm to one character. There is some battle violence too. I would label this book as more young-adult or for more mature children ages 12+. Adults can read and love this too.

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