Book Review | The Hour of Dust and Ashes

Title: The Hour of Dust and Ashes (Charlie Madigan, Book 3)

Author: Kelly Gay

My Review:

Two years ago I discovered a new urban fantasy series that blew my mind: the Charlie Madigan series by Kelly Gay. Unlike many of the other series I have read, Kelly Gay’s series is something new. The main character, Charlie Madigan, is everything a reader could want in a strong heroine. She can kick major butt, yet at the same time she is also a loving parent to her daughter, Emma. Her relationship with her daughter causes Charlie to make decisions in different sorts of ways than other urban fantasy characters without children make.

In The Hour of Dust and Ashes, Charlie and her partner, Hank, discover that the dangerous drug known as ash is having a horrific effect on those addicted to it: they are committing suicide. Charlie’s own sister, Bryn, is an ash addict, and she would do anything in her power to save Bryn from death by her own hand. Feeling as if she has no other choice, Charlie makes a bargain with a powerful race and puts not only herself, but her those closest to her, in jeopardy.

I cannot believe that it has been two years since I read the last book in this series. I thought that I remembered The Darkest Edge of Dawn well enough to dive right in to the third book, but I soon regretted that I didn’t take the time to re-read the first two books. To give Gay credit where it is due, she cleverly provides much of the back story either a new reader or someone who hasn’t stayed caught up very well will need in order to understand the characters, world building, and main story arc of the series. I appreciated the effort she took with the creative use of the “Officers Off-World Use Manual”, for example; without it, I wouldn’t have understood anything that was happening.

Much of The Hour of Dust and Ashes focuses on Charlie’s life and her familial relationships. She is coming to terms with her husband’s soul and that of a former jinn sharing a body, that she has feelings for her partner Hank that are much more than platonic, and that her sister’s road to recovery will not be simple. Charlie’s decisions in this book are all very emotionally driven; she doesn’t use a lot of rational thought. Because of Charlie’s loyalty to the people she loves best, they in turn make their own sacrifices for her.

I am so excited to find out what will happen in Shadows Before the Sun; this book’s conclusion is utterly heartbreaking in so many regards. Will Charlie be able to handle what she’s about to be faced with next, or has she finally taken on too much?

*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.*


Jen currently lives in Utah with her family, and enjoys reading and writing in her spare time. She is active on popular book websites including,, and

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