Literature: Ashes and Dust
''Ashes to Ashes''
"Broken; everything is broken. Wails tear through the silence, and then all is silent.
"Glorified fanfiction at its finest."
: A novel by Hannah [REDACTED] currently being uploaded chapter by chapter on LiveJournal
.''Dust to Dust''
: The sequel to Ashes to Ashes, just try not to read it without reading Ashes to Ashes first.
After a massacre in a supposedly-peaceful nomadic tribe, Alec Sullivan discovers one survivor: a child who would seem to have very little to do with the dreadful event. However, as time progresses, an elaborate plot unravels, involving a group of talented eccentrics in a complicated game where the stakes might just be the fate of the world.
Also, there are twins. Twins and sexy blondes with dark, mysterious pasts and schizophrenia. Well, specifically MPD
Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Dust show examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Matt's father.
- Alec's mother, to a certain degree. Verbal abuse counts, right?
- Alec's mom actually did abuse him physically, though not to the extreme that Matt's father did.
- Adorkable: Matthew Hunter and William Anden. ESPECIALLY William Anden. All together now, tropers! Awww~
- Anything That Moves: It doesn't matter if you're a guy or a gal, if it's necessary, Shasta will do you.
- Ass Shove: In a section that may or may not be removed in the near future, concerning an uke paddle, the question of where it is, and the answer of "You don't want to know."
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Eleanor is a prominent example of this trope. Aside from being a General, she can also kill you rather brutally. Just look at the fight between her and Azar! Not only does she manage to hold her own against this crazy lady, she also wins the fight where most others would have perished long ago.
- Hope Robinson is an excellent example as well. Shasta does ask her to ascend to power as the Donna of the Grey Zone, but Hope could have kicked his ass, even if Shasta is her son.
- Battle Butler: Averted with Alec in the beginning of Ashes to Ashes until he Takes A Level In Badass. Then it's played straight.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Luxiette. You'd never guess such a nice, quiet girl would own a saw and know how to use it.
- Bi the Way: Shasta knows that if he chooses only one gender to fuck, he's depriving the other gender of his skills.
- Bigger on the Inside: Xerxes's pockets.
- Blind Seer: Sibyl is a prophetess, and yes, she's blind.
- Subverted with another prophetess who was involved with Phoenix way later in Dust to Dust, because she's only half-blind.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: One of Victor's personalities is a good example. He raped Luxiette, who was Victor's stepdaughter, and not only did he not feel any regret about it, he enjoyed hurting her.
- Blood-Splattered Innocents: Emery and Kira.
- Breaking the Fellowship: Several times, characters split up. A prominent example is that Kira and Alec have not been seen with the "main group" since Kaoyya.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: "Take it up with the author, I'm not going to have a say in it." "But she is so disagreeable!"
- The Caligula: Kira.
- The Chessmaster: Azar (and a number of other characters) constantly refer to Kira's ascension to power and the steps that led to it as being part of a 'game'.
- A quote about Shasta, from chapter 6 of Dust to Dust:
Azar may be the game-maker, but he’s the game-master, and he can change the rules whenever he wants.
- Chick Magnet: Shasta; somehow he always ends up getting the ladies, probably due to his impeccable charming skills.
- The twins to some degree.
- The Chosen One: This could be either Shasta or Kira; though Sybil's prophecy pointed strongly to Kira in the beginning, once Shasta got involved, things just got murkier.
- Comedic Sociopath: Alec. He's the unfortunate soul who became the punching bag.
- Cool Gun: The mammoth gun applies to this.
- Shasta's guns also apply; he crafted his own bullets for them. One shoots explosive bullets, and the other shoots poisoned ones.
- Crapsack World: Somewhere in between comedic and dramatic, performing a Leaning Tower towards dramatic.
- Creepy Child: Emery.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Most of the characters have had one of these. For example, Shasta's had to sleep his way to the top of the Grey Zone food chain. Matthew's alcoholic father has been abusing him for years. Lilael was found abandoned as a child. Xerxes and Xylander were almost killed by the same fire that consumed their home and their parents, started by Azar. Alec was responsible for the death of his own brother.
- Deal with the Devil: Any deal with Azar is a deal with the Devil.
- Lilael's deal with Mohcht.
- Dissonant Serenity: Luxiette. She has no emotion in the beginning of Ashes to Ashes, or so it appears. Later on we discover that she isn't emotionless, she's just very quiet and calm.
- Dysfunction Junction: Matt's family, anyone?
- Oh, we can't forget about the good ol' twins and Azar.
- Emery is extremely dysfunctional.
- Emotionless Girl: Luxiette, except for a few brief moments.
- Jossed towards the end of Ashes to Ashes.
- Mr. Fanservice: Alec.
- Uh, Shasta? He's attractive, we get it.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Edward, Cassius, Mattykins (at one point) and several of the Grey Zone occupants are all pretty enamored with Shasta. Everyone on that list except for Matt has had sex with him.
- Eye Scream: Azar loves this trope. She's taken Shasta/Charles' eye, Kira's, almost Matt's, waiting on Emery's, and maaaaany more victims.
- A Fate Worse Than Death: Getting told to kill yourself after killing your brother by your own mother must count. Or just Alec's existence in general. Even Word of God says that torturing him is great fun.
- I think everybody's forgotten about poor Sibyl. She lived for over a hundred years in a body that won't die because she wants to be remembered by somebody. What does that get her? She is cornered by a couple men in an alley in a part of town she doesn't know, raped, and tortured. She finally dies, but the culprits mangle her body and obliterate her face.
- Failure Knight: Alec is the embodiment of a failed knight, as proved with Kira.
- Also, he let his brother die, by his own hands.
- Four-Star Badass: General Eleanor Carson. For examples, see Authority Equals Asskicking, Lady of War, Royals Who Actually Do Something on this page.
- Green Eyes: Lilael and partially Kira (since he's missing an eye).
- Hellish Pupils: Azar is described as having 'feline eyes.'
- Hidden Weapons: Shasta has many. His MOTHER has many.
- Eleanor and her lovely boots with knives in them.
- Idiot Hair: Shasta is often commenting on Matt's ruffled hair (even if he is the one making it worse).
- I Have the High Ground: Eleanor in the battle for CARMINE in Faldwell.
- It's All My Fault: Alec and his brother issues, detailed in My Greatest Failure.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Shasta seems like a total cold-hearted jerk a lot of the time, so who knew that he could genuinely care about his companions?
- Kid with the Leash: Kira. At one point, he makes Alec lick a speck of dirt off of his shoe.
- Lady of War: General Eleanor Carson, who will fire you from life. She's also fought her fair share of battles.
- Manipulative Bastard: Eleanor's brother, Eleanor herself to some degrees, and of course Azar.
- Shasta tried to save Alec's life just so he could manipulate Kira, and is also using Matt in his schemes.
- A lot of characters in the story fit this trope really well.
- Mythopoeia: Kira pretends to be a god of the Lsyykra reborn, Kraiyya.
- Mohcht is the embodied greed of the gods, devouring the souls of humans for one day every ten years.
- My Greatest Failure: Alec completely failed his little brother Ashe, being responsible for his death and beating himself up about it. As a result, he's a much more serious, caring person, and this leads him to take care of Kira.
- Medium Awareness/Painting the Medium: Eleanor lampshades it.
"Don't flatter yourself, and stop speaking in italics. It makes you sound pretentious."
- Pun: "Are we earritating you?"
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Dearingest, darlingest Emery, with one red eye. He ends up killing several people, becoming Azar's pet, killing his own sister, and becoming a false prophet to bring Kira down.
- Earl Victor Springer (Emery's father) also has one red eye, and he has Dissociative Identity Disorder, with several different personalities in his body, one of which raped Luxiette.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: This is Eleanor, hands down. Though she was born an Archduchess, she has also fought with an army.
- Averted entirely with the Vail. They are like Aerë's parliament, and they do absolutely nothing.
- Running Gag: Whores duh orves.
- Alec; after tripping over chickens and having the twins arrange them to spell "fail", he hates chicken for the rest of the novel.
- Shared Unusual Trait: Emery and his father, Victor, both have one blue eye and one red eye.
“This is madness!”
“This is Kaoyya! This is how things work here!”
- Shown Their Work: Several times through both stories, the author alludes to specific events of world history (WWI).
- Also, where Shasta creates flash powder in the Grey Zone, all of those chemicals can make the actual flash powder.
- Smarter Than You Look: Shasta Cassidy is a beautiful man who looks vain and vapid at first. Of course, he is actually vain, but he is far from vapid. In actuality, Shasta is such a genius that he plays mental chess games with himself.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: In Chapter 4 of Dust to Dust, when Matt gives Shasta Luxiette's journal, Shasta says, "How dare you take that and think that I... that I would want to read..." and Matt responds, "I never asked you to read it."
- Title Drop: Chapter Eight of Ashes to Ashes contains the title, and the sequel's title.
- Took a Level in Badass: By chapter 25 of Dust to Dust, we see Alec brutally murder several rioters trying to assassinate Kira. Not to mention that he killed a maid who tried to assassinate Kira as well, despite not having been able to "even poke one in the arm, much less hit one."
- Matthew Hunter has not only taken one level in badass, he has taken several. Let's consider the fact that he was a scrawny, pale little fifteen-year-old thing at the beginning of AtA, and now is tan, pierced, and muscled. Aside from physical characteristics, Mattykins also stands up to his abusive father where he hadn't the courage to do so before.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: In the beginning of AtA, Emery thinks that sticking a scissor into someone's chest just puts them to sleep, and likes to sing nursery rhymes that are about death and destruction.
- Kira counts as well. At twelve years old, he ascends the throne and promptly begins to abuse his power, having a girl killed with no shown feelings of horror.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Azar is a good example of this, due to her position as second-in-command of Kuroraikou, leading to her decimation of the Lsyykra due to the force she had behind her.
- Charles/Shasta fits too because Charles was so clever, he ended up creating another personality for himself to take the pain of his sacrifices to ascend in standing in the Grey Zone.