Title: Ash Princess
Author: Laura Sebastian
Series: Untitled Trilogy #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Publication date: April 24th, 2018
Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Queen of Flame and Fury, 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.” Pretending to be empty-headed and naive when she’s not enduring brutal whippings, she pushes down all other thoughts but one: Keep the Kaiser happy and he will keep you safe.
When the Kaiser forces her to execute her last hope of rescue, Theo can’t keep her feelings and memories pushed down 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. Or for her rebel allies to challenge her friendship with the one person who’s been kind to her throughout the last hopeless decade: her heart’s sister, Cress.
Cornered into 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.
“Today is done, the time has come for little bird to fly. Tomorrow is near, the time is here for old crows to die.”
I kinda feel a bit let down by this book. Ever since I heard about this book (and later saw the cover) I knew I had to read it. It sounded right of my alley and perfect for me, so I can’t thank the publisher enough for giving me an ARC of this book, because I was beyond excited to read it (well, I couldn’t wait to pick it up!). And… I overall enjoyed it but I had a few issues with the some parts of the story and the characters.
First of all let me say that this book has some trigger warnings, like explicit physical and mental abuse, race, and slavery, so if you’re a sensitive reader or don’t want to read a book that features any of those things, maybe this book won’t be for you.
“We are not defined by the things we do in order to survive. We do not apologize for them,” she says quietly, eyes never leaving mine.”Maybe they have broken you, but you are a sharper weapon because of it. And it is time to strike.”
One of the problems that I had with this book is that it seemed like it was more a prologue than a first book in a trilogy, and the actual book was going to be the next installment. Sometimes there were a lot of things that took too long to actually happen, and other times there were some other things that were a bit unnecesary.
Reading from Theo’s perspective was a bit hard at times, I’m not going to lie. She has been abused by the kaiser and the theyn since the moment they invaded her country and killed her mother (she was about six), and you clearly could see the things that abuse caused to her. She was a really well done and real main character, and by reading from her point of view you could learn a lot of things about her family and her past, and her thoughts and feelings, which made a lot easier to connect with her.
However, sometimes she was a bit repetitive. There were a few lines that she repeated to herself and at times to others every few pages, and that was a bit tiring sometimes. I get that after all the abused she had been through she needed a reminder to herself so that she didn’t lose her mind, but I feel it was sometimes a bit too much.
There were a few tropes in this book, and maybe that caused it to be not as unique as other story might be. Some I admit I enjoyed, but others (like the “girl who pretends to fall in love with the prince to kill him but then has feelings for him and can’t do that”) were a bit overdone and I didn’t particulary cared for that much.
“In another life, I was another girl. Another kind of princess. That girl was told that one day she would be queen, but she never wanted that to be true.”
The character development took a bit too long to happen, but it was really well done due to the circustances of the story. I was waiting the whole book to see that development, so when it finally came I was beyond happy to see her became stronger and overpower her fears and past.
The last one hundred pages were amazing. It was so much faster and there were a few action packed scenes that had me on the edge of my seat, and I think it created an interesting base for its sequel. I wish there was more magic in this book, but I’m pretty sure the next installment is going to be a bit more focused on that, among other things.
Overall, despite being a bit slow sometimes and having some issues with the characters, I enjoyed the whole story and the character development, and I think the second book is going to be even better.
I recieved an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.
Follow me on BlogLovin’