DISCLAIMER: Lots of spoilers here!
So... I read House of Ashes after buying the Digital version from DTRPG.com a few weeks ago. First off, I LOVE the RPG itself, and I'm am very appreciative of the FREE extra content that is House of Ashes, so I'm quite pleased overall with with the product itself, but...
To House of Ashes, my overall reaction was very mixed...
I was engrossed by the stories and enjoyed them while reading, BUT (and it's a big BUT) felt REALLY dissappointed, unresolved, and unsatisfied when I finished the novella.
The quality of writing itself was great, the characters excellent, the settings and wide breadth of coverage were great, there were only minor editorial issues, and it was an EXCELLENT overview of MANY of the elements and feel of the setting, BUT... this seemed much more like a loosely connected series of short stories.
Had this been marketed as a collection of short stories, I think it would have been much more accurate and somewhat less disappointing to me.
The stories didn't follow the characters very well, for example, what on earth happened to Tieran? There's such focus on him and then he just disappears.
Who is Roan in the last story and why should I care about him? What kind of ending is finishing with this story that has so seemingly little to even do with House Bylerum (the "House of Ashes" I gather)?
What happened to Jas?
What about Amyse? She cries goes away and we only hear tangentially about a thieving mission to free her, and nothing else about her or her fate.
There were just WAY too many loose ends.
One of the big omissions was Jas. When someone defeats an INQUISITOR, esp. a combat maniac like Jas, you kinda wanna know SOMETHING about how it happened. Heck, even if his eye nails were toyed with later it at least somewhat explains (or even ADDRESSES) his defeat, if it is desired to do it offscreen. That loose end REALLY bothered me.
The inconsistency of this random guy sleeping on the floor of Ryia's hut all the time. If Roan IS a "Lord Bylerum" (one of the sons I'd guess) than it seems REALLY odd for him to sleep there so much. It just doesn't fit with what we've known of her and her former romance.
Also, basically ALL of these stories were downers... there's almost no heroism, no victory, it all seems rather depressing. The Mistborn trilogy was dark in places, but there still was some victory and triumph and good in them. It appears absent here other than the very first part with Tel. A missed opportunity in my mind.
I've expressed all the negatives here and vented, but I was engaged by the stories and remain impressed by the coverage of setting elements, but was left with such mixed feelings I thought I'd share.