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Blog Tour: Written in the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt: A Book Review

Written In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van ZandtWritten In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt

Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: Nov. 29, 2016
Category: Historical Fiction
Tour Dates: May-June, 2017 
Available in: Print & ebook,
Pages: 554
Source: This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Written In the Ashes
Synopsis: "Written in the Ashes is one of those rare novels that sets 'history' afire, to bathe readers in the glow of a greater, hotter truth. Fans of The Mists of Avalon will find this romantic/alchemical/feminist/spiritual epic equally captivating."—Tom Robbins, bestselling author of Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, and Villa Incognito

     In the bloody clash between Christians and pagans in fifth-century Alexandria, a servant girl becomes the last hope for preserving peace in this evocative and thrilling tale—a blend of history, adventure, religion, romance, and mysticism reminiscent of The Mists of Avalon.

     After she is abducted from her home in the mountains of Sinai, Hannah is enslaved and taken to Alexandria, where she becomes the property of Alizar, an alchemist and pagan secretly working to preserve his culture. Revered for her beautiful singing voice, the young slave is invited to perform at the city's Great Library, where she becomes friends with the revered mathematician and philosopher, Hypatia, as well as other pagans who curate its magnificent collections. Determined to help them uphold pagan culture and traditions, Hannah embarks on a dangerous quest to unite the fractured pieces of the Emerald Tablet—the last hope to save the pagans and create peace.

     On this odyssey that leads her to the lost oracles of Delfi and Amun-Ra and to rediscovered ancient cities and rituals, Hannah will experience forbidden loves, painful betrayals, and poignant reunions. But her efforts may be in vain. Returning to Alexandria, Hannah finds a city engulfed in violence, even as her own romantic entanglements come to a head. Now, it's not only her future, but the fate of all Alexandria that is at stake.

  My Review: Hannah is a Jewish shepherdess living in Canaan. One night, she is kindapped and sold into slavery. She works in the household of an alchemist and vinter. She finds that her voice attracts many friends, including Hypatia. Eventually, she becomes embroiled in a fight against the pagans and the Christians.  In order to restore peace and union between both Christians and pagans, Hannah must recover the two halves of the Emerald Tablet. However, the quest is harder than it looks. As she goes on her mission, tensions rise and the Great Library of Alexandria may be in danger.

     It took a while for me to really warm to Hannah. She was perfect. She was a woman of extraordinary beauty, was very intelligent, and had a beautiful singing voice. She did not have any flaws.Therefore, she seemed like a Mary Sue. However, as I read about Hannah’s trials, I really came to admire her and found her to be an incredibly strong woman. She is a slave who does not have any freedom. However, she makes friends with one of the highest people in Alexandra society, Hypatia. She is also given a high education and is given the task to find the Emerald Tablet. I also liked how Hannah can fight, and she is a woman who can fend for herself. She also a very loyal woman and a compassionate friend. Thus, Hannah was proven to be a worthy heroine. 

     Overall, this book is about freedom, choices, loyalty, and restoring unity between religions. Hannah is a very well-rounded character, but the other supporting characters were very one-dimensional. However, the author did a great job of making fifth century Alexandria come alive. The writing was vivid with imagery and heavily detailed with facts. The only thing that I did not like about this book were the graphic scenes. I thought that they were unnecessary to the plot and could have been omitted. This could have been important to the story for characterization, but the author quickly glossed over the details, and if you are not paying much attention to the story, you could have easily missed those details. It did not really impact characterization for the novel. Still, there is enough adventure, romance, and action to keep you interested. I also learned that there is going to be a sequel. I will be very happy if it does happen! Hannah is a very loveable character, and I’m interested to see what the author has next in store! I recommend this for fans of The Tiger and The Dove Trilogy, The Confessions of X, and The Secret Scrolls.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Praise for Written In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt

     “In her captivating debut novel, Written in the Ashes, K. Hollan Van Zandt brings to life a fascinating and forgotten woman of history: Hypatia of Alexandria, who may have been one of the greatest female minds of all time. If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to walk the streets of long ago Egypt, then look no further. You will be enthralled!”– Michelle Moran, international bestselling author of Nefertiti and Cleopatra’s Daughter

     “Van Zandt’s vivid description of the Great Library instantly transported me to a lush fifth century Alexandria. Her lyrical writing style and breakneck storytelling kept me riveted to the very last page.”– Robin Maxwell bestselling author of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn and Signora da Vinci.

     "Going back so far in time leaves an author with little written record to rely on for fact. The burning of the Great Library at Alexandria was a monumental loss to humanity. The facts of the matter aside, this novel was truly arresting and I had a hard time putting it down to get anything done.
Ancient history fascinates me. Religion fascinates me. This book manages to tie both together in a story that resonates through time.

     The book was fascinating. The characters were well developed and I really didn't want to leave this world of ancient Alexandria. The imaginary, magical priests and the beautiful goddesses created by Ms. Van Zandt lent themselves to a mystical world that was quite believable within its context. As the story unfolded I was rooting for Hannah to fulfill her destiny and find peace with her past. I am looking forward to the next chapters in these characters lives."-Patty Woodland, Broken Teepee

About K. Hollan Van Zandt

Written In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt

     Kaia Van Zandt is a celebrated author and teacher whose novel, Written in the Ashes, chronicles the events that led up to the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria, Egypt. Kaia’s spiritual journey began at age 14 when she founded the youth division of the Humane Society of the United States. Then as a junior in high school, she traveled to the Earth Summit in Brazil, where she taught meditation, and was given the opportunity to work with world leaders on the challenges facing humanity and the planet today, an experience that profoundly influenced her work.

     She’s a graduate of Antioch University, where she focused on the intersection between the ancient Goddess traditions and modern culture. Her fascination with healing-both personally and collectively – led her to yoga. During her career she’s worked with thought leaders like Marci Shimoff and Deepak Chopra, actors like Ashley Judd, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Garry Shandling, as well as Sony ImageWorks, UCLA Medical, and the San Francisco 49ers. Her beloved writing mentor is bestselling novelist/humorist, Tom Robbins. Visit her Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.

Buy Written in the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.

Follow Written In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt Tour

May 19 
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus- Interview & Giveaway

May 22 

May 24 

May 25 

May 30 

May 31 
Passages to the Past- Review & Giveaway

June 1 
Books, Dreams, Life- Review & Excerpt

June 2 

June 7 
Rainy Day Reviews- Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway

June 8  

June 16 

June 23 

June 26 
Lisa's Writopia- Guest Post

  Written In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt


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