Title: Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1)
Author: Laura Sebastian
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Publisher: Delacorte Press
No. of pages: Hardcover, 432
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Date Read: January 1, 2019
Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.
For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.
Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.
For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.
I had first heard of Ash Princess on Instagram from other reviewers posting reviews of ARCs and it sounded really great. I received it in a Whimsify box subscription, but I never got around to reading it in 2018. As I’ll be on a blog tour for Lady Smoke, I figured this was a perfect time to finally pick up my copy to read.
Ash Princess follows Theodosia aka Theo aka Thora. She’s a princess by right, queen by her mother’s death, and prisoner of the Kalovaxians who has ravaged, invaded, and destroyed her homeland. After witnessing the death of her mother, she was raised in the castle and punished any time rebellions happened among her people. When we meet her, she’s been beaten and broken. But after she’s made to murder what the Kaizer made it seem like the final Guardian of Astaria, she’s approached by one of the boys she grew up with before the invasion who is now a servant in the palace. After meeting with him, they decide that it’s time to fight back. Theo joins the ‘rebels’ and decides that she must fight back and fight for her people who are being killed and treated horribly. Many plans are made, few go as planned, and Theo is never really sure who she can trust. As Theo’s story continues, she’s pulled in many different directions but chooses to put her people before all else, just as a queen should. What happens after is twists and turns and intrigue that will keep you on the edge. The ending alone is such a cliffhanger that I can’t wait to pick my copy up of the second book.
The last few books I’ve read have all been in fantasy worlds, but they all are so enticing and honestly, the worlds are SUPER WELL WRITTEN. This isn’t any different. Sebastian has clearly put LOTS of thought into this and it shows. I’m amazed at how well this story was written and how for some of the scenes, she went into detail, but never too much detail that took away from the hard-hitting, gut-wrenching that you were supposed to feel. ALSO. THERE ARE MAPS. I love books that include maps of the world it’s taking place in.
One thing I loved was Theo’s change. It’s super evident, but I think overall it was needed and honestly, I loved Theo and her voice as the main character. When we first meet her, she’s super broken. She’s gone through ten years of basically being punished and humiliated for living and I definitely can’t blame her for not standing up for her people. We get to see her turning point where she realizes that she no longer has the opportunity to stay silent any longer. We also get to see where she realizes that all the people she thought she could rely on only see her as something to be controlled. But the thing I think I loved most about getting to see her view, was when the pain didn’t matter as long as her people were safe. Her mindset went from beaten to queen. She made decisions based on what she needed to do for her people.
This book was SO great!! I was hooked from the beginning and couldn’t put it down. I basically read it all in one sitting. Theo’s story continues in Lady Smoke out later this year. I can’t wait to start it, and I highly recommend reading Ash Princess. Theo’s story is one that will stay with you and will leave you wanting more.