First, Become Ashes: Book summary and reviews of First, Become Ashes by K.M. Szpara

First, Become Ashes

by K.M. Szpara

First, Become Ashes by K.M. Szpara X
First, Become Ashes by K.M. Szpara
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2021
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

K. M. Szpara follows his explosive debut novel Docile with First, Become Ashes, a fantastic standalone adventure that explores self-discovery after trauma and outgrowing abusive origins over the course of an American road trip.

The Fellowship raised Lark to kill monsters.
His partner betrayed them to the Feds.
But Lark knows his magic is real, and he'll do anything to complete his quest.


For thirty years, the Fellowship of the Anointed isolated its members, conditioning them to believe that pain is power. That magic is suffering. That the world beyond the fence has fallen prey to monsters. But when their leader is arrested, all her teachings come into question.

Those touched by the Fellowship face a choice: how will they adjust to the world they were taught to fear, and how will they relate to the cult's last crusader, Lark? For Kane, survival means rejecting the magic he and his lover suffered for. For Deryn, the cult's collapse is an opportunity to prove they are worth as much as their Anointed brother. For Calvin, lark is the alluring embodiment of the magic he's been seeking his entire life.

But for Lark, the Fellowship isn't over. Before he can begin to discover himself and heal a lifetime of traumas, he has a monster to slay.

First, Become Ashes contains explicit sadomasochism and sexual content, as well as abuse and consent violations, including rape.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Members of a secluded cult grapple with sudden immersion in the outside world in the intense latest from Szpara...Szpara mixes trauma and magic to mesmerizing results." - Publishers Weekly

"This novel exists in the same intriguingly inchoate territory as Russell H. Greenan's It Happened in Boston? and Richard Matheson's Somewhere in Time, leaving it up to the reader to decide if the curious events that occur are the product of magic, delusion, or some murky place that draws from both possibilities...A timely tale about the dangers of committing too fervently and unquestioningly to a person and their cause." - Kirkus Reviews

"A standalone about the complicated ways we cope with trauma, about balancing acceptance and truth, and about belief in its darkest and brightest forms." - Booklist

This information about First, Become Ashes shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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More Information

Hugo and Nebula finalist K.M. Szpara is a queer and trans author who lives in Baltimore, MD. His debut novel is Docile, and his short fiction and essays appear in Uncanny, Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, and more. Kellan has a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, which he totally uses at his day job as a paralegal.

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