Ashes by Estevan Vega

Estevan Vega has done it again with his new book simply called Ashes.  This new tale picks up where Arson left off, telling the story of a boy with the power to create flame with his hands and his dear friend who was horribly burned in a fire
when she was young.  The end of Arson left us breathless, wondering where he would take us, where Arson and Emery would be taken, on this next part of their epic journey.

Arson and Emery have literally been taken away, far away into a horrendous laboratory where their bodies and their minds are being tested to see where they get their abilities.  Tested with machines and by psychologists, all deep beneath a top-secret government facility.  How in the world will they ever get out much less survive?  Emery’s father begins his search to find her with much desperation.  His relationship with his wife is tested once again by the fires that he now faces.  Will they make it through all of this together?

The thing that is most striking to me in this story is the trials that each character faces, and must face alone.  They all begin to fight their own demons, hoping that by doing so they will find their way.  Most of the story each main character spends alone in some fashion, and so we see deep within the minds of the characters.  That is something that Estevan Vega is particularly accomplished at, helping us to see and hear the thoughts of his characters, seemingly bringing them to life before our eyes.  Reading this book is better than watching the movie, though a movie wouldn’t be a bad idea with all the trippy and crazy things going on in this story.

If Arson cranked it up to eleven, Ashes somehow managed to crank it up to twelve, and the nonstop action and thrills kept me up late into the night more than one time!  I certainly can’t wait for the follow-up to this amazing book, as Estevan decided once again to hang us high up on that cliff’s edge on the very last page.  I won’t spoil the story for you as you must read it for yourself, but all I will say is a Phoenix can do more than simply death by fire. Now go get the book already!


When Colors Bleed by Estevan Vega

Estevan Vega is far from being a household name today heard in Christian circles but his is a name you soon won’t forget. Estevan Vega is perhaps one of the very best writers out there today with his first major novel Arson just recently releasing. That is one of my favorite pieces of fiction in a long time, and so when the opportunity to read his collection of short stories, When Colors Bleed, came up I could not pass it up!

The collection begins with the story Baby Blue, which is a romantic tragedy told oh so elegantly. It consists of the characters of Casey, a struggling girl who has never found love, and Thomas Rayford, a mysterious man who comes in one day from the rain looking for a suit in Casey’s store. He comes back week after week only looking at one suit, a baby blue one that no-one else will buy. He tells her how it is beautiful to him and how special it is even though he is the only one who looks at it. The story develops in a way that captured me instantly and took me along on a magical ride. The ending was as marvelous as it was tragic and it left my mind unravelling.

That is not all however. The second story is Vanilla Red, a tale of a man locked up for life in a padded cell. But what makes this story so powerful is the perspective. It is told from within the mind of this man, a man so crazy it is hard to understand. Diving beneath the skin of this character onto the path that led to this cell is almost poetic. It has a lyrical and almost beautiful feel to this horrific and terrifying story, lending the character an almost sane quality. It is some truly amazing prose and my favorite of this collection.

The final tale is called The Man in the Colored Room. It is equally mysterious as the first and as beautiful as the second, but is about a man who finds himself waking up in this colored room for an unknown reason. As the reader figures out the mystery of it all you are learning alongside the man so it really brings you into the story. The ending is unforeseen and it is truly amazing how Estevan Vega can manage it in such a short tale. You must read When Colors Bleed, and you will be hooked on his writing forever after!