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Wednesday 23 May 2018

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian ~ Review

Ash Princess

by Laura Sebastian 

Series: Ash Princess Trilogy #1
Released: April 24, 2018
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Genre: YA Fantasy 
Buy It Now: Amazon | Pan Macmillan

Princess. Prisoner. Orphan. Rebel.

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia's 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.

"Tense and imaginative. Ash Princess is a smart, feminist twist on a traditional tale of a fallen heroine, with plenty of court intrigue, love, and lies to sweeten the deal. Good luck putting this one down." Virginia Boecker, author of the Witch Hunter series.

Ash Princess was absolutely amazing! Fast paced, gripping and definitely a page turner. Another fantastic YA Fantasy novel, that somewhat reminds me of An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.

Theo/Thora/Theodosia is a prisoner in her own home. The rightful Queen of Astrea.

When her home was attacked ten years prior, the Kaiser overtook her home, kept her imprisoned, killed her Mother, massacred and slaved her people. 

She was happy enough to just survive...after all she is alive, despite the lashings and the ridicule...until she was forced to kill her only living parent, before she got to really know him as a Father. Then the rebel was born, and the rebellion awakened.

I was a princess made of ashes; there is nothing left of me to burn. Now it's time for a queen to rise

Ash Princess was well written. It was striking! I was turning the pages while I held my breath...waiting! Very suspenseful and I truly enjoyed the characters. It was a nail-biting kind of novel and I really enjoyed Laura's writing.

It was so wonderful reading about the characters. Theodosia, called Theo by her friends and Thora by her enemies seemed weak and insignificant in the beginning, to be honest I didn't like her all that much at the start. I felt like she was just weak and lacked any back bone, but as the story progresses, she blossomed into a wonderful Queen! Ready to do everything it takes to save her people. I suppose that's how Sebastian wrote it, so we can see how she conquered herself and her beliefs to become someone quite fierce! 

A guardian must dedicate themselves to their god above all else, but being queen means dedicating yourself to your country above else. You cannot do both. You can love the Gods, you can love me, you can love whomever you wish to love in this world, but Astrea will always come first. Everyone and everything else gets only the leftover scraps. That was Houzzah's gift to our family, but also his curse."

There is a somewhat weak love triangle between Theo, Soren (the enemy's son) and Blaise, her childhood friend. Strangely enough, despite being the Kaiser's son, I prefer Soren to Blaise, and I think Theo does too (but I could be wrong). 

Soren wasn't a strong character, he still allowed his Father to dictate some of his actions, despite rebelling (behind closed doors) but he has so much potential! I feel sorry for him, as he's just trying to navigate this dangerous world, he has morals and tries to abide by it when he can, but I hope to see him become a stronger character, and one worthy of sitting side by side with the up and coming Queen of Astrea. I really enjoyed their time together, their interaction was sweet without the instant-love element. 

The small distance between Soren and me no longer feels cramped with things unsaid. Now, it's full of unspoken promises.

The only slight problem I had with the book in the beginning, was failing to understand why a power hungry King would allow a rightful heir to live, but through the book we are shown several reasons why he kept Thora all this time.

There are some strong themes explored in this book; racism, pedophilia and brutality, but it's not strong enough that it was hard to read, it was somewhat light.

Ash Princess is definitely a strong beginning to this trilogy. It was action packed, the ending was satisfactory. It allowed me to breathe in ease, but it left enough of a cliffhanger that I'm impatiently waiting for the next books in this series. 

This book was provided to me by Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review. 
Associate Links used for this post.  



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