Hello, friends! Today I am super excited to be joining the Xpresso Blog Tour for The Ballad of Ami Miles by Kristy Dallas Ally! I quite enjoyed this one, so I shall tell you all my thoughts, then you can enter to win a copy of your own!
The Ballad of Ami Miles by Kristy Dallas Alley
Published by Swoon Reads on December 1, 2020
Pages: 272
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review, via Netgalley

Raised in isolation at Heavenly Shepherd, her family’s trailer-dealership-turned-survival compound, Ami Miles knows that she was lucky to be born into a place of safety after the old world ended and the chaos began. But when her grandfather arranges a marriage to a cold-eyed stranger, she realizes that her “destiny” as one of the few females capable of still bearing children isn’t something she’s ready to face.

With the help of one of her aunts, she flees the only life she’s ever known, and sets off on a quest to find her long-lost mother (and hopefully a mate of her own choosing). But as she journeys, Ami discovers many new things about the world... and about herself.

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I love cult books. I love post-apocalyptic books. So how do you improve upon these already fabulous genres? Why, mash ’em together, of course! And I shall now tell you exactly what worked for me in this book, and then what kind of didn’t as much.

What I Enjoyed:

  • I was rooting for Ami from the start. How could I not? We open the story with her about to be married off to some old man, a literal stranger who just happened to wander into the family cult. Hard pass. And at first, Ami tries to be okay with it, even though she is clearly not. Luckily, not all of her family wants her to become a baby factory, so she’s able to get out of dodge.  Which leads to the next thing I enjoyed…
  • Ami had to survive and make her way to a place she hoped her mother would be. I also quite love a survival story, and while this wasn’t the whole premise of the book or anything, I did enjoy that we got a bit of it. It was extra intense because Ami had to keep looking over her shoulder (literally, often) to ensure she wasn’t being followed by disgusting men trying to impregnate her.
  • I really enjoyed Ami learning how to navigate friendships and romantic relationships and familial relationships. Ami has never met people before, basically. Certainly not peers- she was told that none existed, for the most part. So to learn how to coexist with people outside her small family cohort was a big change. And, Ami had to navigate how she felt about the family she grew up with, now that she was more aware of the lies she’d been fed her whole life. Fascinating stuff, really.
  •  The overall messages of the book were really positive. I loved that the main focus was, ultimately, inclusion. Ami learned so much, but she also taught people stuff too. There’s frank discussion about racial discrimination, homophobia, sexism, and religion, and I found them to be handled well.

What I Wanted More Of:

  • World Building!loved the concept of the world. Clearly, there was a big disaster of some sort that lead to a population decimation and reproductive complications. And I wish I had known more about that! And, more about what the world looked like beyond Ami’s small corner of the world. Obviously I understand that the story was limited to Ami’s knowledge, but I am a curious sort and I cannot help my need to know!
  • Perhaps a bit more… difficulty? I think this probably ties into the length of the book, and I was thrilled that the story was resolved as a standalone, but there were a few moments that I thought could be better served with a bit more tension or struggle.

Bottom Line: A young woman figuring out who she is and finding her agency all while realizing that everything she thought she knew was a lie.

About Kristy Dallas Alley

Kristy Dallas Alley is a high school librarian in Memphis, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband, four kids, three cats, and an indeterminate number of fish. She studied creative writing at Rhodes College in another lifetime and holds a Master of Science in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership from the University of Memphis. In an ideal world, she would do nothing but sit on a beach and read every single day of her life, but in reality she’s pretty happy reading on her front porch, neglecting the gardens she enthusiastically plants each spring, and cooking huge meals regardless of the number of people around to eat them. The Ballad of Ami Miles is her debut novel.

Winner will receive a copy of The Ballad of Ami Miles

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So, what do you think, dears? Do you think you’d be able to run from creepy cult marriage?

Posted December 3, 2020 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Blog Tour, Giveaway, Review / 9 Comments


9 responses to “Review & Giveaway: The Ballad of Ami Miles by Kristy Dallas Alley

  1. Glad to hear they did some things really well. I can see how you’d want more world building and difficulties though – it’s one of those books that can obviously benefit from both!!


  2. Cult + apocalypse is a definite win. Yay for the positivity and world building too! Sounds like a pretty good one. Haven’t heard of it, I’ll have to add it.

  3. I saw this book on another blog today and thought it sounded good. Your review convinced me to add it to my wishlist. I’m kind of a rule follower, though — if I were forced to have a cult marriage, I would probably go through with it.

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