It features two POVs - Adrian and Myrra - as Romeo and Juliet-like lovers on different sides of a war between nations. Both are the children of powerful kings who have a centuries-long feud between them, while Adrian and Myrra are trying to unite them in peace despite their differences culturally. This is a story that, at its heart, is about protecting the ones you love, no matter the cost as both our protagonists try to protect each other and their families.
Elsewhere in the novella we see little hints and snippets of what we may expect in the main series, including: griffins, airships, mysteriously long lives, political and religious behind-the-scenes machinations by shady characters, and the suspiciously sought-after 'ruin-stone' that I'm convinced will be shown to do more than it appears. I’m most excited about the griffins that are ridden into battle by Sentinels - a part of the dominant religion's Church - and seem to form some sort of bond between rider and beast. I want to know more. I have theories to test.
In that respect, the novella has done exactly what it needs to do: generate interest and excitement for the main novel. I definitely want to explore this world more and see what happens to Adrian and Myrra. A Prelude to Ashes also gives the reader an excellent taste of Thiago Abdalla’s writing style to see how you get on with it; I found his prose to be clever and compelling, which assuages some of my fears about reading a new (to me) author.
Until I can dig into A Touch of Light properly, I won’t be sure what were the most important clues in A Prelude to Ashes, but it has the definite feel of scene-setting. Explaining how the world came to be as it is for A Touch of Light and adding a little more backstory to Adrian, who is mentioned as one of the main POVs in the novel. Overall, I would recommend reading A Prelude to Ashes if you’re curious about A Touch of Light and want to ease into the world, or if you’ve already read the novel, this prequel story will give you a little bit extra.