When writing Echoes of Ashes, I wanted to incorporate elves in a unique, nontraditional way. I chose several elements of the race to be strikingly different from other classic fantasy novels, while still keeping them recognizable as elves. This was very important to me while worldbuilding, as I did not want a cookie-cutter list of races that might make my book seem too similar to others in the genera.
There were two key differences I really wanted to emphasize in Echoes of Ashes that I knew would set my elves apart from most others in the fantasy genera:
1. In Echoes of Ashes, elves cannot use magic. Something has stopped the elves of the Far Land from being able to use any kind of magic at all. They are able to wield magical items and weapons, but no magic comes from themselves.
This idea is of course challenged when Laderic meets Alleria, realizing that she is in fact an elf that can use magic. This is unheard of, and is just one of the many strange circumstances surrounding her character.
2. In Echoes of Ashes, elves come in all shapes and colors. Traditionally, elves are the epitome of beauty. They are quite thin, and have fair skin and light hair. This is not the case in the Far Land. Elves, while still strikingly beautiful, come in a variety of colors and sizes. There are elves who lived in the southern jungles that have skin that is black as night. There are elves from the north with skin white as paper, and every shade in between. Their hair varies just as much, from black, to blonde, to chocolate brown.
Including this aspect of elves was very important to me, as I wanted there to be representation other than white people within a classic race that is said to be the pinnacle of perfection. What does it say to black teenagers, when the most beautiful race in a novel are people with white skin, blonde hair, and light eyes? What does it say to thicker teens, when beauty is defined as tall and thin?
I strongly believe beauty comes in every color and size, and I wanted to make that very clear in Echoes of Ashes. While Ember does not go into much detail about this concept until close to the end, the following novels in the trilogy will further elaborate on my vision throughout.
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