Author: Laura Sebastian
Published: April 24, 2018
Series: Ash Princess Trilogy, #1
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
Captive animals grow to love their captors all the time, even when they beat them. It’s not surprising that you love one of yours.”
Sebastian’s writing is succinct and poetic in nature. I enjoyed how fast paced the story was, and how it dropped you in the middle of the action, not stopping until the bitter cliffhanger ending. Theo was such a strong main character. The whole time she had me questioning whether I would’ve made the same decisions she did if I was in her place, and whether I could ever be strong enough to withstand the things she did. There were a lot of ethical and moral dilemmas presented in this book, and as similar as I found this story to Throne of Glass, I felt like it went a lot deeper into issues of morality and duty than the first Throne of Glass book ever did.
As traitorous as it makes me, I can imagine it. A life where a crown—gold or ash—doesn’t weigh heavy on my head. A life where I’m not responsible for thousands of people who are hungry and weak and beaten every day. A life where I can just be a girl, kissing a boy because she wants to”
At some point I feared this was going to turn into a Religion heavy story. It’s okay when stories include Gods and Goddesses and different made up religions and religious entities, but I don’t enjoy it when religion takes the main stage. I found it a bit boring and frustrating that many of these characters, including Theo, had powers but they did not use them for fear of not being allowed into the “After” and rejoin their friends and families. In my opinion, Fantasy books which include magic should have people that can USE their powers. I’m hoping this changes in the future books. There was also some “insta-love” which is always annoying.
Why would the gods allow us to suffer like we have for the last decade? Why wouldn’t they have struck the Kalovaxians down as soon as they set foot on Astrean soil? Why didn’t they protect us?”
Now, I know it seems like I have a lot more dislikes than I do likes, so how can I give this book four stars? The negative aspects were mildly inconvenient, but they did not make the whole story for me. Also, this has been one of the only Fantasy books that has made me tear up since the ending of Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. I really liked Theo, and I connected with her and her struggle. I’ve now moved on to the second book in this series, Lady Smoke, and I’m enjoying that as well. I have been trying to catch up with this series for a while, and I’m glad I’m finally reading it. I recommend this series to all Fantasy fans.