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Elemental World #1

Building From Ashes

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For a thousand years, powerful earth vampire Carwyn ap Bryn has served others. God. His family. His friends. But tragedy and loss disrupt his peaceful existence, causing him to question everything he has committed his eternity to.

Brigid Connor has known about vampires since they rescued her from a painful childhood. But not even their vast elemental power can save her from the demons that torment her.

As loyalties are tested and new paths are forged, a lurking danger slowly grows in the Elemental World. Carwyn and Brigid will learn that even secrets revealed can come back to haunt you when you least expect it.

A continuation/spinoff of the Elemental Mysteries series. The timeline in this books stretches from BEFORE A Hidden Fire starts (so you see a little character history) until AFTER A Fall of Water finishes. As I’m sure lots of you could tell, Carwyn had quite a few things going on in his life that didn’t make it into Gio and Beatrice’s story. So Building From Ashes explores that storyline and also sets up the Elemental World for some new adventures...

371 pages, Nook

First published October 19, 2012

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About the author

Elizabeth Hunter

76 books5,899 followers
ELIZABETH HUNTER is a ten-time USA Today bestselling author of romance, contemporary fantasy, and paranormal mystery. Based in Central California and Addis Ababa, she travels extensively to write fantasy fiction exploring world mythologies, history, and the universal bonds of love, friendship, and family.

She has published over forty works of fiction and sold over three million books world-wide. She is the author of the Elemental Mysteries, the Irin Chronicles, the Cambio Springs Mysteries, and other works of fiction.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 360 reviews
Profile Image for Elizabeth Hunter.
Author 76 books5,899 followers
February 7, 2018
Listen, when people ask me what I think about Building from Ashes....



So here's the deal: I love these characters so much. Like... SO MUCH. That I often feel someone else—like someone who's a way better writer than me—should have written their book. But of course, that's not how it works because they're MY imaginary people and I'm the one who knows them best. But I am unworthy. But no one else can do it.

Does that make sense to anyone but me?

Clearly, this was a very personal book for me. First, there's Carwyn, who...

(Let's just accept for the purposes of shared imagination here that, though Fassbender doesn't look exactly like Carwyn—Carwyn is a way bigger guy—that THAT SASSY GRIN RIGHT THERE? Totally Carwyn. Are we all on the same page now? Good.)

So we have Carwyn, who is my fictional love. He's the one who always makes me smile. The prankster. The protector. He's the MAN. Err... vampire. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

And then we have Brigid, who is...

(For the purposes of this review, Brigid will be played by Katie McGrath in full Morgana freaky eyes.)

She is the grounded survivor. She pulls no punches. She takes no shit. She was forced into immortality and yet somehow, she totally owns it in her own burny, spiky way.

Needless to say, fun-loving Carwyn and acerbic Brigid are an opposites attract story. But see... There was only ever her for him. And only him for her. I don't know why, but when I was building these two characters, they just fit. And I adore them.


Carwyn and Brigid are some of the few individuals in the Elemental World that I feel like I might eventually write another book or at least a novella for. Because they're awesome and I feel like they still have so much changing and growing to do together.

Which is a weird thing to say about a thousand year old vampire, but there ya go.

(Yes, yes, I just gave you an extra Fassbender gif. It's because I love you. You're welcome.)

So read them! Love them. I hope you do.
Profile Image for Alex is The Romance Fox.
1,461 reviews1,120 followers
December 30, 2015
I loved the Elemental World Series and though I liked the way it ended I somehow wanted to see where the characters would go next, especially some that I really liked.
So I was thrilled to discover that there would be a spin-off of that series that would give some of the secondary characters their own book.

And what a bonus to find out more about one of my favorite characters that we first meet in Hidden Fire - Carwyn ap Bryn,  photo c66de030f9f2b00f4f3f75847643c3af_zpsivcwchxd.jpg
A noble and endearing thousand year old vampire who has served most of that time as a priest, a loving father, a caring and loyal friend. He’s also funny and so engaging.
He looked like he had been turned in his thirties, but had the personality and humor of a teenager. He wore the ugliest Hawaiian shirts she had ever seen

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He also loves wrestling …on the quiet…!!
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Building From Ashes is the first book in the Elemental World series, the spin off the Elemental Mysteries Series…and it’s our time to read Carwyn’s HEA with a new character named Brigid.

We finally get his whole history, meet his family, we see his struggles between his priesthood and the love for a woman, named Brigid..
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She was pale-skinned, with a scattering of freckles dotting her cheeks, and her garishly dyed hair was chopped short and lay in irregular chunks around a pixie face. Her large eyes were the color of amber ale and her chin came to a sharp point under a bow-shaped mouth.
Carwyn thought she looked like an extremely pissed off fairy…

Brigid has been part of his life since she was a little girl and in the protection of his family. Saved from an abusive childhood by Carwyn, he has watched her go through a hard and difficult time growing up and discovers that she is the first woman in a long long time that has touched his heart.
This is not an insta-love story. Their feelings for each other unfold slowly and over a few years which makes is so believable.
Brigid really grew on me…..such a lot of pain inside her…
“I don’t like princess stories.”

How she dealt with so many issues in her life and rising above all those obstacles to finally becoming a strong and lovable person.

The romance and courtship of Carwyn & Brigid is so beautiful and so lovely.
“Gemma told me that women like being courted, so please read the following reasons that you should marry me. (I only included five. I didn’t want to overwhelm you.) And yes, I realize this isn’t a traditional courtship. It’ll work anyway; I’m irresistible.”

 photo love-friendship_zpsxn5mcsr8.jpg“Just with less clothes, which makes if far more brilliant.”
My favorite quote:
“Did I burn everything?”
“We’ll build again.”
“Ashes.” He saw tears come to her eyes, but she refused to let them fall. “I saw the room. I left it in ashes.”
“We can build again, Brigid. I promise. Even from ashes.”

A beautifully written love story, which can be read as a standalone but I strongly recommend that you read Elemental Mysteries Series first as this book is timed around the events of all four of those books.
Profile Image for Georgia ♥ .
420 reviews1,119 followers
August 2, 2013

We can build again. Even from ashes.

After 5 books I can say for sure that I just love Elizabeth Hunter's writing style. It's lyrical and fluid, almost effortless and the story it's not a canvas you admire but a musical beat that you can feel pulsing in your chest. Her original take on vampires is refreshing and almost believable and sometimes it makes you think that you can meet one down the road...

This book is a spin-off of her highly praised Elemental Mysteries books. It is a stand alone novel but I believe that you can savior the experience only if you know the backstory about the vampire drug from the previous books. And certainly if you have met Carwyn before it is only a pleasure to read about him now.

Carwyn ap Bryn
Picture is from the casting in Elizabeth Hunter's site.

Thank you Elizabeth for the visual! I love Damien Lewis and it was no hardship to picture Carwyn as him!

Carwyn is a 1000 years old Welsh vampire priest. I know what you are thinking... A vampire priest??? He is gonna be stiff and distant... WRONG!!!!!
Carwyn is a breath of fresh air. He is loony, funny, passionate, loyal, powerful and absolutely perfect. The man is known for wearing Hawaiian shirts during Mass (under his robes),
Picture him in this and try not to laugh

for watching professional wrestling and drinking beer. Don't get me wrong he is deeply religious and devoted to God, he just knows how to loosen up.

Brigid Connor
A human child rescued by Carwyn's family from the worst kind of abuse, now under their protection, she struggles with her low self-esteem, addiction problems and coming to terms with her own past.

This is their story. Not a glimpse but the whole life story since Brigid was 10 years old. That's what makes this book so rich and vibrant. We witness their ups and lows, their struggles and successes and we are right there when they fall in love. Add to all this the magical setting of Scotland and Ireland
and you can't help but enjoy it!

I didn't have any particular complaints, though I could do with an extensive glimpse in Gio and Beatrice's life. Also don't let the priest "thing" deter you from reading this book. There is enough explanation and discussion and Brigid is a Catholic, so no harm!

I highly recommend all Elizabeth Hunter's books!
Profile Image for Wendy.
526 reviews282 followers
April 24, 2013
Carwyn, an ancient old vampire with the elemental power of earth; a priest that prefers to wear Hawaiian shirts to the clerical collar, who likes to watch wrestling matches, is funny, adorable and oh so charming. Has he finally met his match with Brigid? And can she resist his wiley charms? Brigid is one tough cookie and has had a rough childhood and a tough life and until she finds solace in the man they all call Father.

This is again another fantastic instalment from Elizabeth Hunter. She has a wonderful voice in portraying these vivid characters and she really knows how to tell a story that evokes emotions from the reader. It has a great balance of action, mystery, and a wonderful romance, that’s slow building and teases the senses. Not to mention the wit and humor that shines through. Here’s one of my favorite quotes:

“They both start pissin’ and Mick looks over to Paddy. ‘Paddy,’ he says. ‘I wish I was as well-hung as you are, my friend. I can see that you’re using four fingers to hold yerself.’ And Paddy says to Mick, ‘Ah, Mick, yer fine, lad. And I see you’re using four as well.’ And Mick says, ‘Aye, Paddy, but I’m pissin’ on three of ‘em.’”

Love it, this is another winner! Enjoy!
Profile Image for AJ.
2,933 reviews958 followers
July 27, 2014
Carwyn, Carwyn, oh how I love you!!!! As a total scene stealing side character in the Elemental Mysteries series, he absolutely shines in his very own book, the first in the spin-off Elemental World series.

And let me just say right now, don’t even think about trying to read this book without reading the Elemental Mysteries (EM) series first. You will miss out on so much detail, you won’t know the characters, and most of the world will probably not make a whole lot of sense. Start with A Hidden Fire... you won’t be disappointed!

Anyway, moving on.

We know Carwyn as the wise-cracking earth vampire with a massively huge heart, and something was definitely going on with him during the last EM book. And here, we get his whole story played out in glorious detail!

Time-wise, this book starts way before the EM books, when Carwyn saves 10 year old Brigid from a traumatic childhood, and she is placed under the protection of his vampire ‘son’ Ioan, and welcomed into the extended family.

From this point we essentially get two stories – the story of Carwyn, and the story of Brigid. There is a lot of time spent developing both of their stories individually, which I loved, but of course their stories overlap, and we see them interact over the years as Brigid grows older, struggles with her past and hits rock bottom, only to drag herself back, and start to make a life for herself (she's kinda awesome by the way). Carwyn stays involved in Brigid’s life, keeping an eye on her, and they grow close. And then come the feels.

Brigid has pretty much always crushed on Carwyn, but has written him off as unattainable due to him being a priest (she is unaware that he is already questioning his calling – and understandably so after 1,000 years!). From his side, Carwyn is shocked when he starts to have feelings for Brigid. It’s not insta-love, it’s definitely a slow burn, and it takes him some time to come to terms with it. When Brigid is suddenly thrust into life as an immortal, things take a massive shift, and Carwyn is absolutely sensational as both her support, and her protector, and their relationship starts to move to a whole new level.

Because of their history, I was worried that them coming together would be creepy and weird, but it’s totally not. It feels really natural, the pacing of it is perfect, their reactions are spot on, and I loved every little moment that they had together – both before and after the romance started happening. And when Carwyn falls… he falls HARD!

“I love you. I’ve lived as an immortal for a thousand years and I’ve never met a woman who warmed my heart, my body, and my soul the way you have. I admired the woman you were as a human, and I’m even more excited to see who you become in this new life. I think you’re extraordinary.”

True to his nature, Carwyn in love is completely outspoken, and totally unapologetic about it (the scene where he ‘outs’ his feelings is freaking hilarious!). He is so open with how he feels, and I love his confidence that Brigid returns his feelings, and his absolute determination to win her over.

“When you fall in love with me, you’re going to love me madly. Completely. Because that’s who you are.”

With so much story happening in the book, we don’t get a whole heap of time with them together as a couple, but what we do get is sensational! The banter, the laughs, the love, and the swoon (one scene even had me in tears, it was so gorgeous!), it’s all awesome.

The story is timed beautifully around the events of all four of the EM books, and Carwyn pops in and out of Brigid’s life as events unfold for him – dealing with family tragedy, his soul searching as he deliberates leaving the priesthood, and his frequent trips to help Gio and Beatrice when they need him (‘cause he’s awesome like that). But Brigid is never far from his mind, and his letters to her while they are apart are absolute gold!

“Gemma told me that women like being courted, so please read the following reasons that you should marry me. (I only included five. I didn’t want to overwhelm you.) And yes, I realize this isn’t a traditional courtship. It’ll work anyway; I’m irresistible.”

But there’s more than just the love story! There is a strong non-romance storyline that, again, ties in perfectly with the EM series. Brigid works security for Murphy, the head vampire of Dublin, and is involved in investigating the drug trade in the city. When a mysterious vampire drug starts hitting the scene, it all links back to the big showdown in Rome, and I really enjoyed seeing how those big events affected the rest of the vampire community. And this is clearly just the beginning, with dangers revealed, plots uncovered, and only part of the big mystery discovered. There’s plenty more scope for future books, and I’m excited to read on.

Hunter’s writing is sensational again as she takes us on a fantastic ride, giving us two very unique characters, with their two very different stories, and bringing them together alongside the unfolding mystery. The story is told with a lot of heart, some great humour, and a kickass ending that had me frantically flipping pages and laughing at the constant banter. It’s brilliant! And yes, we do get to see Gio and Beatrice (and Ben) – in scenes set both during EM, and afterwards.

I am totally in love with this paranormal world, and the fabulous characters that inhabit it.

A fantastic read. 5 stars.

“Silly Brigid. Love is friendship. Just with less clothes, which makes it far more brilliant.”
Profile Image for Melindeeloo.
3,103 reviews159 followers
February 20, 2015
4.5 stars - Returning readers to the world of the Elemental Mystery series in this first Elemental World spin-off, the outrageous, gaudy-Hawaiian-shirt-wearing, earth vampire priest Carwyn gets his own eternal happily ever after in a wonderful character driven story laced with a bit of mystery, sprinkled with a bit of action, warmed by love sweet love, and heated by an eventual touch of steam.

I read Building from Ashes twice, back to back. I liked it the first time through, but I was so excited about reading the advanced copy of Carwyn's story that when I finished I realized that I'd madly turned the pages to find out what was happening next for Carwyn and his leading lady Brigid and by rushing to devour this story I really short-changed myself because Hunter's strength is in the slowly unfolding exploration of her characters and their relationships. Which is not to say that nothing 'happens' in the book, one scene especially was both 'shocking' and 'explosive' and in addition to giving fans 'more of Carwyn', Hunter comes at the events surrounding the reveal of the secret from her four Elemental Mystery books from another angle – and looks to take the continuing saga even further in the future with the repercussions that secret is having on the immortal vampire world.

So while I initially focused on the 'destination', Building from Ashes is really all about the journey, and on my second read through I slowed myself down to enjoy just what an excellent journey this is. The dialog is so good, there are wonderful conversations and letters that tell the story of Carwyn's long mostly charmed life and Brigid's shorter but more challenging one and allow us to really get to know and love these characters – this is where Hunter's writing truly shines – Carwyn, Brigid and Carwyn's extensive family live, love and breathe on these pages. I loved Carwyn as a supporting character in the previous books, but even though I had a good sense of who he was from that story, his history and his long life devoted to his faith and his family is truly fascinating.

But as much as I've loved Carwyn and wanted a HEA for him, I have to say that with the incredible age difference between him and the twenty-something Brigid, and the fact that Carwyn is at the edges of Brigid's life from the time that she was a young and very damaged child, I was a bit worried about Hunter pulling off a romance between the pair. I shouldn't have fretted, Hunter not only pulls off the relationship but also manages to grow Brigid into a the perfect fit for Carwyn – his strengths complement her weaknesses, and he is wily and pragmatic enough to take advantage of her strengths when, after a few stumbles along the way, Brigid grows into an impressive power of her own. It is also fun to watch the thousand year old vamp, flounder when he attempts to 'win' Brigid with the courting skills he never had.

While I am sure that fans are going to be very happy with Carwyn's book, I do have a warning for those who are new to Hunter's universe and haven't read the previous series. Since Building from Ashes has a large contingent of characters who were previously introduced and who 'live' in the same world of Hunter's Elemental mysteries you will enjoy this book so much more if you read those stories first – also this story weaves through the time line of those books, so Building from Ashes has spoilers for past leads B and Gio's story and for their series' overarching mystery as well.

So I thoroughly enjoyed the journey that was Building from Ashes and loved getting to know so much more about Carwyn and his 'children' and now that I've again reached that journey's end, I can say that Building from Ashes is one of the rare books that I can actually see myself rereading again.

Elemental Mystery Series:
A Hidden Fire (Elemental Mysteries #1) by Elizabeth Hunter This Same Earth (Elemental Mysteries #2) by Elizabeth Hunter The Force of Wind (Elemental Mysteries #3) by Elizabeth Hunter A Fall of Water (Elemental Mysteries #4) by Elizabeth Hunter

ARC received for review from author.
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,261 reviews8,753 followers
February 3, 2016
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

3.5 stars

The Elemental World is a PNR spin-off series from Hunter's Elemetnal Mysteries series, and as excited about this book as I was--FINALLY, and HEA for Carwyn--while still being good, it didn't quite live up to my expectations.

Carwyn is a nearly 1000 year old Welsh vampire, and has been a priest that entire time. When he dedicated his life to the church, priests were allowed wives, and Carwyn had one, but when she died, leaving him a single parent of several small children, he was understandably distraught, so his father, also a man of the church, sent him traveling on an errand to distract him from his melancholy. It's on that errand that Carwyn was changed into a vampire.

Despite his dedication to the church, Carwyn isn't the stodgy, over-serious type you might expect him to be, not at ALL. He's actually a bit of a prankster who enjoys WWE wrestling, and has an extensive collection of truly horrible Hawaiian shirts. He's also a huge flirt.

But he's never felt compelled to move beyond flirtation.

1000 years. No sex.


Well, he's never felt compelled to move beyond flirtation until one of his daughters turns a beloved member of their human contingent into a vampire.

Brigid Conner has not had an easy life. She was adopted into Carwyn's extended family after being rescued as a child from her pedophile stepfather. Overcoming something like that is never a simple or easy task, and Brigid has struggled both with developing healthy relationships, and with . . . drugs.

Throughout her life, Carwyn has always been a constant. Her rescuer when she was a child, the one who discovered her addiction as a young adult, various times in between as well . . .

I liked the main plot of this book very much. What I struggled with was the timeline.

In Elemental Mysteries, the first couple of books (book 1 especially) took place years before the present. It wasn't my favorite part of the series, and while it didn't particularly bother me, I was glad when we finally got, and stayed, current.

This time it felt like a reread of previous events from another POV. I've never been a fan of that, and it was perhaps even more off-putting, having just finished reading said previous events.

Another issue I had was the religious overtone Carwyn's man of the cloth status brought to the situation. Carwyn obviously struggled with his commitment to the church in conflict with his attraction to Brigid, while Brigid, as good Catholic, vowed over and over that she was going to hell for being attracted to a priest, and those are the kinds of things I avoid in fiction--as much as I love Hunter, I only read the first book of her Irin Chronicles long enough to figure out that it was about angels before calling it quits.

It's just not my thing.

But the religious aspect is an isolated situation, so I have no qualms about continuing to read the series.

And it must be said that a slightly disappointing Hunter book is still leaps and bounds better than most others, so the issues I had were not big enough to keep me from enjoying Building From Ashes overall. Recommended.

Jessica Signature
Profile Image for Joy.
631 reviews73 followers
July 8, 2013
Hate to be odd man out on this one but it was slow--well written but slow--will read the next one hoping it flows better
Profile Image for Lauren (The Novel Lush).
159 reviews474 followers
April 28, 2020
The major problem with this book is that it dragged like nobody's business. It took place spread out across multiple years and so much of the story felt unnecessary and could have been cut out for pacing. By the time I was at 30%ish I caught myself skimming. Due to this I kind of lost interest in the romance, because that too dragged on through the majority of the book before anything interesting happened between Carwyn and Brigid. Disappointing because I remember loving another book by this author in a different series.

Also, this could be nitpicky, but the elements that made up the mystery of the book seemed like a silly one to me. Immortals live so long because they're intelligent and ruthless. Of all the ways they can gain money and power, these ones choose drugs? Drugs that will affect vampires who drink from them? Poisoning the food supply and killing themselves off? Usually the things immortals do to steal power hurts other races, for instance the vampires screw over werewolves, fae and humans (without killing humans because they need them for food), but not other vamps. What good will it do you to gain all that power and be master of a race you killed off? Unless there was a political reason or some kind of gain to be made from killing the other vampires, ie killing them off in one city to clean house and move your own vamps in and take over a lucrative territory. But there was no advantage to killing them, except selling the drugs made them money. A temporary gain at best once it started killing everyone off.
Profile Image for Kara-karina.
1,666 reviews253 followers
October 21, 2012
Every time I read anything Elizabeth writes I can't help but immerse myself in her gorgeous, captivating and lively world of elemental vampires completely, so her books for me are always a treat.

I was sad to bid Gio and Beatrice goodbye, and I'm sure it will take awhile for me to warm up to the change of dynamics in the spin-off of this series. You see, now, instead of having a series about one couple continuously, we have one couple in each new book if I understand correctly. As a result what was essentially a paranormal mystery with romantic elements turned into a paranormal romance with mystery elements.

Carwyn is a charming, warm, larger than life, humorous character, and I really loved his sense of loyalty and care for everyone he loved. Just thought that Gio used remind me of Aramis and Carwyn's character is similar to Porthos from Three Musketeers. But it's Brigid who stole the limelight in this book.

Like Beatrice, she is incredibly strong, stubborn and determined, and I admired her rise in the ranks among the water vampires. She is a security consultant and she becomes involved into a search for a supplier of a new vampire drug (which we know about from the previous series) and investigation into a consequent kidnapping and death of Carwyn's son, Ioan.

At the same time, Brigid is not like Beatrice, she is damaged by a childhood trauma, suffered from anxiety for many years and even at some point had drug addiction problem, but she works on herself and eventually straightens up.

Carwyn knows her from her childhood till she changes and his admiration for her grows with each year but he doesn't realise what he is feeling until later on, when he experiences a personal crisis after Ioan's death and feels how lonely he really is. When he does, sparks between him and Brigid fly!

This is a very good paranormal romance. My only problem is that a lot of the things that are happening we already know from Bi and Gio's story and it becomes a tad repetitive. However, I'm sure that this will disappear with the later books of Elemental World as the timetables of the stories will grow apart.

Profile Image for Ferdy.
944 reviews1,123 followers
October 28, 2012
Carwyn and Brigid's story.

Carwyn was great — he was funny, honourable, easy going and best of all he wasn't a manslut.
Brigid was a decent heroine but she did become somewhat of a Mary Sue in the latter half — her super speshul powers kind of annoyed me.

Book 1 focused on Brigid's early years — her traumatic childhood, how she became a part of Ioan and Deirdre's family/aegis, her time at uni, her drug use and her recovery. There was a quite a bit of insight into Brigid's closed off personality and her inability to interact with people. Brigid's defensive attitude was actually quite endearing.
There was also a look into Carwyn relationship with the church and him questioning his calling as a priest. Carwyn was surprisingly sexy for a priest.

Book 2 focused on Brigid adapting to her vampire nature, and learning how to use her powers.
Brigid did become a little too melodramatic at times, I preferred it when she was a mixture of cooly reserved and quietly pissed off at the world. Towards the end she also started to come across as a bit of a goody two shoes, she was more engaging when she had a chip on her shoulder.
I adored the scene where Carwyn confessed his love to Brigid - it was wonderfully sweet and awkward.
The story line with the drugs and elixir bored me.

Book 3 focused on Carwyn and Brigid finally accepting that they have feelings for each other. I didn't like how much time Carwyn spent away from Brigid especially 1. After Ioan's death 2. Her first year as a vampire and 3. When she was back in Dublin. She needed him but he seemed more concerned about himself and B/Gio, the least he could have done was keep in contact with her more.

I wasn't impressed with the drugs/elixir plot. The romance was engrossing - I do wish Carwyn and Brigid hadn't been estranged quite so much though. Book 1 was the most enjoyable, I found Brigid's character endearing when she was younger but in the later books she became quite dull.
The side characters were great - Tavish and his cows, Murphy, Deirdre, Cathy and Anna.
I'm hoping that Deirdre and her Scot will get a story at some point in the future.
Profile Image for Anne - Books of My Heart.
3,116 reviews195 followers
December 15, 2016
3.5 stars

I love this world and the mystery woven throughout the books. We learn more as time goes along. I also enjoy learning more about the characters and the characteristics of these vampires.

This story felt disjointed though. It is the story of Carwyn and Brigid. Each of their POV is given. But most of the time they are not together and the story spans at least 10 years. Some periods of time are skipped. The love story did not make sense in the very small amount of time they had together. They did not share much with each other. There was too little dialogue between them for me. The letters Carwyn wrote were amazing, though.

I love Carywn. I am getting to know and love Brigid. It was great to learn more about the rest of Carwyn's family.

This spans some of the same time as The Force of Wind and A Fall of Water. The perspective is another piece of the puzzle on the mystery. I look forward to more on these people and the mystery.

Profile Image for Laura.
301 reviews7 followers
October 13, 2014
This was to me the weakest of the Elemental World/Mysteries series. I've been very impressed with Hunter's writing style, plot and her characterization. Part of the problem with this book is that she has done such a good job of developing the Carwyn character in previous books that I feel like I know him well and the premise of this story just doesn't fit him. At first I thought I was struggling with the "I've been a Catholic priest for 1,000 years and now I am hot for 20-something girl." And to a degree that did bug me. But I could see the Carwyn character leaving the priesthood and falling in love. Just not with the girl in this book. It seemed forced, out of character and totally implausible. (Like a 1,000+ vampire priest is plausible.). I guess what I am saying is it seemed implausible even in the universe Ms. Hunter has created.

I enjoyed the part of the book that dealt with other characters and moved the over arching storyline along, thought the narration was great, enjoyed meeting Carwyn's sons and will continue to read the remaining books in the series. This one just did not ring true.
Profile Image for Vero.
1,440 reviews9 followers
March 26, 2014
You know when...  
you have a favourite side character in a series who then gets his own book?
And you are full of expectations. Because you loved that character. And are sooo happy to have him as main character in his own story?
And then you are disappointed. Because it is mostly boring, because the timeline crosses with the books in the series, which you have read and therefore know how it all ends from the beginning.
And you don't like the female lead. Who is too damaged, and still said to be sooooo strong. So strong that she takes drugs as a human and overdoses. And remains pale and uninteresting through the whole book. You are told over and over how fascinating and powerful and magnetic she is. But what you see is, well, boring and pale.
So I am a bit sad for Carwyn, who got a very boring happy end after 1000 years of celibacy.
January 29, 2021
Well, this was... painful...

The story started reaaaally well. I thought the idea behind it and the start being smack in the middle of the action really reeled me in. It's one of these scenes that you know is at the center of the book, yet that make absolutely no sense to you as you've just started the book, so, no back story - but, it does have the benefit to get you really interested in what the heck actually just happened.

Brigid has had a very tough start in life and is heading down a path of self-destruction. Too often we see these stories happen and are unable to break these people out of these awful molds and they unfortunately don't get the second chance that this girl gets.

Carwyn is the sweetest, happiest vampire i've met in a while. A thousand years old yet still full of hope and fun - i've read a lot of paranormal romances, and i can tell you, this isn't the norm.

Carmyn absolutely works for Brigid, and right from the start, you start rooting for these two.

However as the story starts to unfold, you start reading about this 'elixir' thing that's actually a drug and that's where things just get messy, stop making sense whatsoever and get soooooo boring.

Murphy, the head vampire who is supposed to be in charge of Dublin can't to CRAP about nothing. He seems absolutely useless. While investigating this whole thing, you get TONS of hints from the various characters involved and you figure it out right away, yet, them being the ones involve they just store the information without talking to each other about it like they just don't get that what just happened was important??? It just made absolutely NO SENSE. Then you jump chapters and you read ; ah yeah and in between these 2 chapters you just read, somehow, the bad guy that we've been looking for from the start was caught and killed, yet the drug is still there, go figure and things just kind of keep going but make no sense? All the action happens in between chapters, so isn't really told, and you are supposed to follow what it's all about and find it interesting?

Carwyn and Bridig are seperated for most of the storie and are investigating the same thing, love each other but can't find it in themselves to figure it out or work together??

It just did.not.work.at.all.
There was just too much going on and so much wrong with this that i'm barely giving this a 2 stars, and am quite happy to put this one behind me... yeah.... what a let down.
Profile Image for Starfire.
946 reviews26 followers
July 17, 2022
I very much enjoyed this one the second time around - more, I think, than I actually enjoyed B and Gio's series.

Partly, I think it's that Carwyn really does remind me of a priestly version of Methos from the Highlanderverse. Half of that is the sheer pragmatism and willingness to do what needs to be done that comes from being (in Carwyn's case) a millennium old. Half of it is the way he weaponises other people's underestimation. And all of it is related to my love of competence-pr0n.

Meanwhile, I've always seen Brigid in the later books as a vampiric version of Fiona Glenanne from Burn Notice, and I love getting to see the history that made her that way - gruelling as it could be in places.

But quite aside from loving the two leads, I also loved seeing a 'behind the scenes' of what was happening in Ireland during the events of all four of the first Elemental Mysteries books. I loved how the events in this book interweave with and fold into the events of the first four.

Plus, I love the fact that Ms Hunter genderbends the standard grumpy/sunshine romance trope with this pairing too - which, granted, is where Carwyn completely diverges from Methos as a character. But there seem to be far too few straight grumpy/sunshine pairings where the sunshine character is the male, so I'm going to treasure it where I find it.

My only criticism is that I am SO OVER male vampires being losing-their-minds territorial about their mates around other men. I know some people find this romantic, but I'm really, really not one of them. And especially given that both Carwyn and Gio are more than old enough to know better, I find it seriously annoying.

I think a bit part of the annoyance comes because both of characters are supposed to have developed this iron-clad control of themselves, so watching them react like insecure, tantrum-throwing teenagers around Baojia/Murphy is just... I don't know... unnecessary conflict for the sake of unnecessary conflict. I'm really glad that by the time we get to Benzin, there's far less of the jealous tantrum-throwing going on.

Despite this, though, I'm very much looking forward to my second go-through of Waterlocked now - especially now that I know exactly who Terry and Gemma are (I'd totally forgotten their roles in the first series when I read this the first time around, so it'll be interesting seeing how that affects my enjoyment of it this time)
Profile Image for Douglas Meeks.
870 reviews232 followers
September 23, 2012
Building From Ashes (Elemental World, #0.5) Building From Ashes by Elizabeth Hunter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I suppose I should say right up front that if you have not read the 4 book series The Elemental Mysteries by Elizabeth Hunter before you read this book it will be impossible for you to have the full enjoyment of this novel. Subsequently, be aware that all opinions in this review are from someone who HAS read that masterpiece of Paranormal Literature. I received this book as an ARC from the author unconditionally.


This novel for all practical purposes is a trilogy in one cover, it is divided into 3 “books” and each has a plot and a main thrust to it while all proceed towards a main theme which as with previous works is a masterful combination of action, romance and mystery.

Brigid Conner was rescued by vampires of Carwyn’s family years ago from a horrible situation and Carwyn has watched her grow up as part of his son Ione’s family, this novel covers a span of years from 1995 until summer of 2012 which probably accounts for its length. It steps over parts of the story from The Elemental Mysteries and creates concurrent stories that were happening during the time of that series and hence you feel like you are visiting with old friends while meeting new ones.

The “books” are pretty much divided along these lines and each covers a span of years.
Book 1: Earth – Brigid’s early life as a human and events that happened during that time.
Book 2: Fire – Becoming an Immortal and the required learning and a deepening romance.
Book 3: The Seal – More action, romance and getting rid of personal demons and of course solving the actual mystery.

Each has the ability to pull you into the story and make you part of it, the writing is excellent, the story has humor, action, mystery and characters that you will love. The fact that Carwyn has been close to celibate for a thousand years does leave him a bit on the low end of the learning scale when it comes to women. The struggle with faith and service is a large part of this book also and adds depth to the novel and keeps it from being “just another vampire book”.

Brigid’s growth is amazing and is just one more reason this is an excellent book. I read a lot of PNR type novels and many times the biggest failing I see is heroines that never grow in knowledge or become super heroes overnight, this gives a much more realistic story (again, hence the length). Brigid’s growth from abused child to strong heroine is one of the best parts of this novel.

The mystery revolves around the drug Elixir which was at the crux of the previous novels; it is still being made by somebody and still killing humans and immortals alike. If I had any complaints it would be my usual complaint of needing more revenge (a personal demon of my own making) even though the ending was quite satisfying for all but the more blood thirsty among us (raises hand).

RATING:So without writing a book about the book I can say that once again it is a 5 Star effort, readers of Ms Hunter’s previous works will be thrilled and to say I highly recommend it would be redundant.

View all my reviews
Your Reviewer Douglas C. Meeks
Profile Image for Emmy.
150 reviews
October 24, 2012
Review posted at Sinfully Delicious Book Reviews

I'm a huge fan of the Elemental world that Elizabeth has created starting with A Hidden Fire. Though this is a spin-off, I recommend starting with the Elemental Mysteries before diving into Building From Ashes. I think it will definitely be worth your while as we read a whole new outlook into vampire lore.

As stated in the synopsis above, this first installment in the Elemental World series overlaps a little bit with A Fall of Water. It was great to get another side of the story! Especially since it involves Carwyn! ;) But let me break it down for you a little bit.

Carwyn has been a vampire for a really long time. In life, he was married and joined the priesthood. Times were different back then and that was acceptable at the time. In death, he clung to his faith, helping those in need and creating a family of his own. He has remained single even though he is a horrible flirt.

"...I don't know. Just never found the right woman, I suppose."
"And who would put up with me, honestly?"
"You can be pretty charming when you want to be."
He looked down and wiggled his eyebrows at her. "Oh, really?"
Beatrice burst into laughter and tugged at the collar of his garish Hawaiian short. "Yep, you're a regular knight in flowered armor. You just need to find your damsel."
"Oh," he groaned. "I don't know. I've never really seen the appeal of the 'damsel-in-distress', to be totally honest. I'm not really the damsel type."
"Well, maybe you need to find a knight, then."
He grimaced. "Definitely never seen the appeal of those."

Carwyn is one of the strongest and oldest Earth Vampires out there, vicious if messed with but compassionate and deeply caring for those he's close to. Earth Vampires seem to like to nest and have big families.

Brigid has had a rough past, and one night Carwyn and Ioan visit her household, whisking her away to safety when she was just a child. She's a human living with her aunt under the protections of Ioan, Carwyn's son.

Their stories intersect at times throughout her childhood but soon she is no longer the young girl she once was, she's a woman now, and so much more...

'What do you know about the right office? According to Ioan, you wear Hawaiian shirts under your vestements. Not to mention your rumored television habits.'
'Lies. All lies. I'm a picture of devotion and obedience. Highly appropriate at all times.'
Irritating children, telling on him like that. Carwyn frowned and poked his son in the shoulder. Ioan and Deirdre were sitting in the pew in from of him. His son looked over his shoulder, then between the two of them and the note Brigid held in her lap.
"Behave, both of you," Ioan whispered. "Brigid, I expect this behavior out of him, but not you. Father Jacob is in the middle of the homily."

The pace is slower at the beginning as it jumps around in time so we can get a glimpse of both Carwyn and Brigid's past. But then we are thrust in the middle of a mystery to be solved and dealing with major changes in Brigid's life and their growing attraction.

I really enjoyed this book. Carwyn is compassionate and extremely hilarious. He's so cheeky, I love him! Brigid is strong and independent, asking for help when necessary, complimenting Carwyn greatly. The plot is pretty involved but easy to get caught up in! Another stellar story from Elizabeth. With this first installment in the Elemental World, I can't wait to see what comes next!
Profile Image for Kate.
2,097 reviews315 followers
February 5, 2017
Read 25th July 2013.

Reread 28th May 2015

 photo PicMonkey Collage_zpsfsajjlaf.jpg

Opening sentence.

He could see the flames licking at the houses, and hear the shouts of the humans as they ran, some rushing to safety, others attempting to drown the fire that had already turned the main house to rubble.

Carwyn is my favorite I don't care that he is a priest. 1000 years of Service to the church is enough. After losing his son to Lorenzo he has come back to be with his Family and take over as best as he can.

Dublin, Ireland

Aunt Sinéad saves Brigid from a m and monster. It is not the vampires that one needs to worry about. She is 8 years old. Ioan is the big brother and protector that she never had.

Life changes and she has to learn to pick up the pieces. While at college she suffers from anxiety so Brigid starts to take drugs to help herself cope.

After Ioan's death Brigid just wants to forget so after being clean she resorts to drugs. Deidre can't take the loss of Brigid so shortly after Ioan's death. Deidre turns Brigid without consent. A fire Vampire is born.

The water vampire Murphy runs Dublin and the drug problem is getting worse although the human drugs aren't on the market anymore there is a new drug. This ties in with what happened with B and Gio and Lorenzo.

Carwyn realises that he is starting to have feelings for Brigid. His courting skills are a bit rusty. The banter between Carwyn and Brigid is a hoot.

Five reasons to fall in love with me.

1. My Hawiian shirt collection.
2. I'm extremely rich, particularly for a priest.
3. My good Looks are obvious
4. A thousand years that is a lot to make up for.
5. And I'm back. The last Thing that I will is just this: I love you.

Once again a lovely read, with the right amount of intrigue, humor, excitement and chemistry. Well done Ms. Hunter.
Profile Image for Debrac2014.
1,989 reviews14 followers
July 9, 2021
I loved Carwyn! Brigid I had to warm up to! Slow moving story until the last third of the book.
Profile Image for Kat.
31 reviews
October 22, 2014
This follows the characters from Hunter's "Elemental Mysteries" series with Gio and Beatrice/"B" and tells Carwyn's story. While I know in theory she explains the sire/child relationship (and subsequent lack of relationship with what we could consider "grandchild"), I still could never fully get on board with Carwyn after 1000 years getting with what would be his grand-daughter (the leaving the priesthood I thought she explained well and plausibly). The character of Brigid just seemed very randomly created and while I could understand how her past issues/drug problem could affect what vampire she became, the character in general just did a 180 that seemed abrupt halfway through the book and thus I never really identified or truly liked/appreciated Brigid. I *did* really like that the author carried a parallel storyline of what happened during the Elemental Mysteries books(1-4) regarding the "Elixir of Life" that plagued the vampire and human world. Nice take on what was happening with that storyline in a different part of the world but still known fringe characters.

While I loved still hearing about characters from the series, the book was just "okay" and felt somewhat half-hearted effort(much like Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series after the 4th book) to continue the Elemental Mysteries "world" and give fans a happy-ending for much beloved Carwyn.
Profile Image for Karen.
1,102 reviews43 followers
July 9, 2013
I have loved this family of vampires from the first book I picked up and this one is no exception.

The basics: Carwyn, a 1000 yr old priest finds that he is no longer as satisfied in his life or vocation as he once was. We see the events of the previous books from his perspective as well as find out what was really happening to him during this time without interruption. Can a thousand year old vampire find love after so long? Carwyn is the "father" of a large and close knit clan in Ireland that he will do anything to protect.

What made this nice was that you still had cameos by characters you had come to love and miss. Gio and Beatrice had a voice, so it was not like you only had new characters to get to know. We even get to see a bit of what Ben was doing while Beatrice was getting her blood lust under control.

I loved this because it had all the romance, mystery, bloodlust, family, vampire intrigue that I come to expect. If you have a love of vampires with the best powers and best personalities then you will want to read this. Never disappoints and leaves me wanting more!
Profile Image for NiteReader.
592 reviews53 followers
October 14, 2013
As with all of the Elizabeth Hunter novels I have read, I loved the world building and diverse cast of characters. Unfortunately this one dragged something fierce in the middle so I had to knock off a star! I hope we get to see more of Carwyn and his lady love in the rest of the series.
Profile Image for Night Goddess.
538 reviews30 followers
February 11, 2014
Very nice..... This one had a little of everything sexy vamps, romance, comedy, action & mystery...... I mean what else could you ask for? This was my first read from author Elizabeth Hunter but I do believe she has won me over and gained another fan......
Profile Image for Shreya.
119 reviews60 followers
September 26, 2013
This book was nowhere near the original series, but it was good...
Profile Image for Lizzie.
198 reviews
June 22, 2021
I read this book for the romance but the two love interests spent the entire book separated without much communication between them, so really what was the point?? Also, I did not care one jot about the other plot line going on, because it is the exact same plot as in the last of the Elemental Mysteries series, just from an outside perspective. So yeah, really disappointed and I normally love this author!
April 5, 2020
This one is a bit harder to rate. When I first started it, I totally thought I would love it, but as it went on, I was less and less excited reading it. One thing I absolutely love about this book is Carwyn and his personality. I love light hearted heros like him, and him being celibate for a thousand years only made him better to be honest. The heroine I liked, though sometimes she was just okay. I do like how she grew into herself and never catered to anyone though. Also, their romance, when they were fully together was the cutest. I love how he treated her and how affectionate he was. Definitely the most adorable couple.

Now onto the things I didn't like... Which was a lot... First, this book dragged. There were a lot of unneccessary scenes and interactions with people that I really just didnt care about. A lot was also repetitive from the first series. I know this book is about what was going on with Carwyn when he was acting more private and weird, but the timelines and how many years passed in this book, just got really tedious. And while I did love their relationship, their romance didn't really make sense over those years either. This book is set over almost 20 years, and I really felt like half of it could have been cut, especially because the heroines past of being abused and abusing drugs, turned out to be really useless when it comes to the character. As soon as she turns into a vampire, it's like all we went through in her human life just didnt matter anymore because she was a whole other person as a vampire.

During those years, they start to develop feelings and even fall in love with each other, and I'm just like, why? I felt like they literally only had like 5 interactions with each other before they were separated for either more months or years. I have a hard time believing them being in love when they never really even had a long conversation.

Also, and this annoys me the most, is I felt like Hunter should have been more considerate on how she is presenting her characters as side characters when they will get their own books. I get the impression they never really miss their love interests or are still in love with others thats aren't the heroines, and it's really bothering me. For example, in the last book when they were in Rome, Carwyn was flirting with a girl, literally right after he declares his love and asks her to marry and wait for him. Like do I really need to read that? I gave Carwyn a pass because he is more of a light hearted silly guy, but c'mon... Then with Lucien in the last series when he sounds like he is still in love with an old lover by how he talks about her even though he will have another love interest. Then there is Ben with Chloe, though that didnt work out, Baoja, or however you spell it, and his attraction to Bea, Gemma and how she is in love with Gio even though she is engaged. Then there is the worst, Patrick. I'm honestly not even looking forward to his book at this point. All he does in this one is try to get with the heroine, and we have to even see his past and probably current lovers, when Anne is supposed to be his mate and all of this after they had already been together (though we aren't supposed to know that in this book). But Why?? Anne is friends with the heroine that he was constantly trying to get with, like that isn't awkward?? Anne better have moved on too, because just by Patrick being a side character I can tell he doesn't deserve her. I just don't get why we are constantly being shown past relationships and F-buddys of all these characters when they are supposed to get their own books and have a great love, and it honestly makes me not even want to read them (still will tho).

All of this brings me to where is the loyalty of these heros? Not necessarily cheating or anything, but I feel like they are so easily attracted to or touching, or have no problem flirting with women other than their heroines. Or even when Gio drank from another woman other than the heroine because he wanted to be at his strongest, but did you have to bring her to your room??? I Keep getting told they are territorial or posessive but never actually being shown which it makes it worse too. Hardly no jealousy either between anyone, which I wish there was so that I can actually see more feelings and that they don't want their heroine with other people, instead of just being told it. These books are good, with unique plots, and great writing, and I still love Hunter's books, but there are only 2 characters so far that I actually REALLY like so far and I'm not even to their story yet, out of 6 books I have read in this and the last series.

So overall, although I do decently enjoy the elemental world, I'm not loving and I can only hope they get better.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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