I have had such a wonderful reading year so far, and May was incredible and June is shaping up to be just as good. I have already read two books this month, even though we are only a few days in. I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for Ash Princess, which is an amazing fantasy book by Laura Sebastian.
As well as sharing my thoughts in a review, I have also been asked if I would create a playlist for Ash Princess, so at the bottom of the post you will find a link to a list of songs I think really capture the mood on the book.
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Title: Ash Princess
Author: Laura Sebastian
Synopsis: 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.
Categories: Fantasy, YA.
Publication: 14 June 2018 (UK) 24th April 2018 (US)
Rating: 4 stars
Review: I have to say that I really enjoyed reading Ash Princess. I read it straight after A Court of Frost and Starlight, which I was really really looking forward to. In all honesty I was fully expecting a book hangover from ACOFAS, but Ash Princess saved the day! I actually ended up reading the last 60% of the book in one sitting.
The world of the Ash Princess is a beautifully created and incredibly brutal. The vast majority of the book takes place is the palace in the occupied capital city Astrea. 10 years have passed since Astrea was invaded and in those ten years Theodosia has suffered at the hands of the Kaiser. She has become Lady Thora or The Ash Princess, meek and submissive. It is only when she is faced with the unthinkable that she realises that she must leave the shame of the Ash Princess behind and become the Fire Queen her people need.
I really liked the focus on character development in the Ash Princess. Not only that of Thora/Theodosia but also Soren and Cressentia. I loved the twists and turns they had to navigate whilst trying to work who they are, and more importantly, who they want to become. I found Soren’s character particularly interesting.
I did have doubts about the love triangle, which features in the book. And although I don’t like love triangles, I thought it was well done. I do have issues with books in which childhood friends (usually male) suddenly become possessive (I am thinking Mal in the Grisha books) or suddenly return from a separation and act like the girl/woman belongs to them. And whilst I did see a bit of that here with Blaise and Theodosia, it was subtle and well written.
I did particularly like the development of Cressentia’s character – it was spectacular. I won’t say anything else for fear of spoilers but I did not see that coming at all! I actually loved her character and it’s development. Though part of me wishes we could have strong ladies helping and supporting each other.
Theodosia made for a very interesting point of view. I loved that she questioned her own decisions, that she was ready to accept herself, failures, flaws, and all. She makes bad choices in the book, but recognises why they need to be made. I love morally grey characters and I think she falls in to that place between right and wrong at times. I love that she recognises that although she is her mother’s daughter, she has also been shaped by the Kaiser too.
I do want to point out that there are some rather dark moments in the book, as you can probably imagine from reading the synposis. Theodosia suffers a decade of physical and mental abuse at the hands of The Kaiser. There is a fairly graphic whipping scene late on in the book, and towards the end of the book there is also the threat of rape. Whilst it is fairly clear that Theodosia’s people have been subject to slavery, abuse, starvation, and rape there are no rape scenes on the page. There are, however, on page scenes of unwanted touching and Theo’s reaction to that.
I am intrigued to read more of Theodosia’s story, and I can’t to see to see what happens to the characters in the next book. I would love to see more of the world outside the palace and also how the relationships between the characters develops.
I think that the Ash Princess was a really enjoyable read and I can’t wait for the next book. If you like the sound of Ash Princess then you can check out my Ash Princess inspired playlist here. My playlist is filled with songs which remind me of characters from the book, or from the events which happen. I hope you like it!
You can find a copy of Ash Princess on Amazon* or at other bookshops.
I received an eARC via NetGalley for the purpose of a review. All opinions and words are my own.