First, Become Ashes

K.M. Szpara

fiction fantasy lgbtqia+
adventurous medium-paced

304 pages | first published 2021

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.

Lark spent the first twenty-four years, nine months, and three days of his life training for a righteous quest: to rid the world of monsters. Alongside his partner Kane, he wore the cage and endured the scourge in order to develop his innate magic. He never thought that when Kane left, he'd next see him in the company of FBI agents and a SWAT team. He never dreamed that the leader of the Fellowship of the Anointed would be brought up on charges of abuse and assault.

He never expected the government would tell him that the monsters aren't real—that there is no magic, and all the pain was for nothing.

Lark isn't ready to give up. He is determined to fulfill his quest, to defeat the monsters he was promised. Along the way he will grapple with the past, confront love, and discover his long-buried truth.

A Macmillan Audio production from

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dark 85%
tense 85%
emotional 57%
challenging 42%
adventurous 28%
reflective 28%
mysterious 14%
sad 14%


fast 57%
medium 42%

Plot- or character-driven?

Character: 100%

Strong character development?

Yes: 57% | It's complicated: 42%

Loveable characters?

It's complicated: 71% | Yes: 28%

Diverse cast of characters?

It's complicated: 42% | Yes: 42% | No: 14%

Flaws of characters a main focus?

Yes: 66% | It's complicated: 33%

Average rating