Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian
Series: Ash Princess Trilogy #1
Genre: Fantasy | Young Adult
Length: 448 pages
Published on 14th June 2018 by Macmillan Children’s Books
Purchase: Amazon | TBD
Laura Sebastian: Website | Twitter | Goodreads
eCopy recieved for review via NetGalley
The queen you were meant to be.The land you were meant to save.
The throne you were meant to claim.
Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. Ten years later, Theo has learned to survive under the relentless abuse of the Kaiser and his court as the ridiculed Ash Princess.
When the Kaiser forces her to execute her last hope of rescue, Theo can’t ignore her feelings and memories any longer. She vows revenge, throwing herself into a plot to seduce and murder the Kaiser’s warrior son with the help of a group of magically gifted and volatile rebels. But Theo doesn’t expect to develop feelings for the Prinz.Forced to make impossible choices and unable to trust even those who are on her side, Theo will have to decide how far she’s willing to go to save her people and how much of herself she’s willing to sacrifice to become Queen.
From author Laura Sebastian comes Ash Princess, a nail-biting YA fantasy debut full of daring and vengeance.
When I got approved for Ash Princess on NetGalley I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact they approved me after release and was midly fuming and reading slowly… until I noticed that actually it just has a later relase in the UK!
But low and behold I did it. I read and finished it before UK release.
I can thank some really bad anxiety for that which left me able to do nothing but read one evening – I devoured the last 40% of this book then.
Ash Princess is about Theo. The Princess of her country. Or she would’ve been had the Kaiser not invaded and brutally murdered thousands. Enslaving her people. Torturing her.
Ash Princess is a dark world. It covers some heavy subjects (slavery, murder, torture, etc) and nods at some others that happen off page (rape).
Regardless of these themes in the book it was a good read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone wanting to read a fantasy story that features magick* about a young girl gaining the courage and strength to be the ruler her people need her to be.
Theo’s character development is really something. She’s definitely suffers from PTSD throughout the book but at the start she is very broken and set on just keeping herself alive. But very quickly realises this can’t be it. There has to be more and when she finds out she has a few allies close by she starts to plot for a better future.
Even with her plotting and acts of defiance she still remains a very good character and whilst she does set up some Bad Things to happen I think ultimately she’s not yet willing to take too many risks which left me wanting a little more.
But even with this gripe I can acknowledge that its gotta be so freaking hard for Theo to do anything super risky because of the abuse and torture she’s been through, it can’t be easy for her. I know I wouldn’t have any amount of courage even close to what she does.
But she uses her anger to seek revenge. For herself, her mother, and her people. Even if they might not all realise she’s still there for them.
There is also unfortunately a love triangle. One of the male interests makes sense and I think adds to the plot and her inner turmoil. The other male interest is just kind of there because thats what childhood friends usually are in books these days and I kind of don’t get it? ’cause it didn’t really add much?
The secondary characters in the book are great to read about though! It was heart wrenching to see how far some people were willing to go for Theo, to see how their lives get turned up down for the choices she makes, the friendships she burns.
*I was also really impressed with the world building. It felt like Laura Sebastian had made a concious effort and did research to make sure the world she created didn’t read as every character was white. Which I think a lot of fantasy books end up doing.
Magick was connected very heavily to religion and even when Theo gets the chance to use any she refuses too because she respects the way magic should be earned which I think was super important.
I very much look forward to reading the sequal as I think Theo in a new setting will really benefit the story and I look forward to seeing more from other characters too.
Spoilers: because I want this on page somewhere. I have a hunch that who she meets at the end is also Cress’ mother… So if that ends up being a “twist” at some point… Remember you read it here first.
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