Blog Tour First Impression: The Carnival of Ash by Tom Beckerlegge

Hello, reader!

Today is my stop on another incredible blog tour organized by The Write Reads! The book I’m featuring today is a literary fiction that showcases an alternative history that centers around a city of poets. The Carnival of Ash by Tom Beckerlegge is a feast for the eyes and unlike anything I’ve read before!

Before I get into more of my first impressions, though, I want to thank Dave @ The Write Reads and all the folks behind the scenes for giving me a spot on this magical mystery tour. I also want to thank the publisher, Rebellion Publishing, for sending me an ARC so that I could participate! All opinions in this post are my own.

Alright, now let’s get to my stop!

Book Details

  • Title: The Carnival of Ash
  • Author: Tom Beckerlegge
  • Publication date: March 15th, 2022
  • Genre: Literary Fiction/Alternative History
  • Age group: Adult
  • Content/Trigger Warnings: For a list of potential content and trigger warnings, check out this book’s page on



Cadenza is the City of Words, a city run by poets, its skyline dominated by the steepled towers of its libraries, its heart beating to the stamp and thrum of the printing presses in the Printing Quarter.

Carlo Mazzoni, a young wordsmith arrives at the city gates intent on making his name as the bells ring out with the news of the death of the city’s poet-leader. Instead, he finds himself embroiled with the intrigues of a city in turmoil, the looming prospect of war with their rival Venice ever-present. A war that threatens not only to destroy Cadenza but remove it from history altogether…

About the Author

Author Links


Tom Beckerlegge grew up in the northwest of England in a house filled with books. Writing as Tom Becker, he won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize with his debut novel. The Carnival of Ash is his first adult book. He lives in Enfield with his wife and young son.

First Impressions

I will say, this was not what I was expecting jumping into this story. I was fully prepared for a fantasy tale with the cover, but this is something much different. And, so far, I’m enjoying it!

I’m loving all the literary nods that are peppered throughout this story. For instance, the different sections of this book are called “cantos”, which are what different sections of certain long poems are called. Cadenza is the City of Poets, so I love this little nod! I’m also loving the writing. It is a touch flowery but, again, it certainly makes sense in the context of the story. After all, one would kind of expect a story about a bunch of poets to include some purple prose.

That being said, so far it seems like the actual plot is getting a little lost in the weeds of the beautiful words. I’m a few chapters in and I’m kinda confused, haha. But I’m still enjoying the ride! I’m hoping that I just need to get further into the story for the plot to really click. What’s really keeping me reading is the interesting characters. I’ve quickly become wrapped up in their drama and I want to see how it plays out.

Overall, having gotten a few chapters in, I’m liking this book and am eager to continue!


5 thoughts on “Blog Tour First Impression: The Carnival of Ash by Tom Beckerlegge

  1. Great first impressions! I’ve seen a few reviews for this now and it sounds like the writing is really exquisite. I hope you enjoy the rest of the book and that the plot becomes clearer as you read on! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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