Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1)
Author: Laura Sebastian
Rated T for tricky games of torture and entrapment for an ashen throne
Princess. Prisoner. Orphan.
Theodosia was six when her entire world was burned down. Her mother, the Fire Queen, was killed in front of her, her people enslaved, her homeland destroyed, and her name taken away. And for ten years she’s been the Kaiser’s toy, the thing he commands and tortures when he is angry. She’s survived under his dangerous and deadly ash crown.
Then one night, he makes her do the unthinkable. With her own people’s blood on her hands, she’s had enough. Enough just trying to make it until she meets her mother in the After. Not alone, she’ll use her greatest weapon: her mind, to get out. She’ll remain the Ash Princess no longer, but use its title to free her so she can free her people.
I’d like to reach out and say thank you to Goodreads. I won this in one of their giveaways.
I’ve felt really hesitant about this book since it came out. I enjoy fantasy, but it seems like there’s been a major trope occurring: royalty comes crashing down violently, one survivor crawls, fights, manipulates, and sacrifices to get justice/revenge or just to prove oneself, all of which is good and well. Other books that this reminded me of was Red Queen (review here), A Court of Thorns and Roses, and Three Dark Crowns. It’s an action-packed, inspiring, and fierce theme to enjoy, but it can also be exhausting on my emotions. It can get me so wrangled and tangled. So, it’s partially why I haven’t tackled it until now. How could I not when I received a free copy? And you know what? I’m so glad I did! And truth be told, I got some Children of Blood and Bones vibes and, for some odd reason, Frozen. LOL.
The story began slowly for me but I found myself engrossed more and more the further in I got and the deeper Theo sunk herself into mind games with hopes to reach freedom. Twisted and palpable, there were so many breath-stalling moments. Theo was just as ruthless as she was kind and determined to prove that her ten years as a toy at the whim of a mad king didn’t twist her into madness. It left me raw so many times. I feel for her. But, just as I feel for her, I also feel for Soren, maybe more so. Theo emanated strength, power, and so much rage, all elements I love and find that they can make a hero and leader as much as a villain and horror. It’s quite up in the air where Theo will land. Torture and abuse can mold a person even when they think it won’t.
Soren or Blaise? Blaise or Soren? Soren. The romance was in no way dominated the story, but it was there between Theo and these two and it was fire. I typically don’t tip towards the one with the super crappy family, but I go the strongest feeling ever that he really isn’t like his family at all. There wasn’t even an inkling. The chemistry was overwhelming between him and Theo. There was even the dramatic chest hold at one point. Blaise and Theo may have history but this book is proof that history doesn’t win out all of the time.
The world-building was impeccably compelling. Just all around tragically beautiful. The country Astrea itself was a vision to behold. And its language resembles Italian quite a bit the way it slips off the tongue. And that could be just me as well. The landscape and the gems and the clothes. A beautiful country that I hope gets restored.
Side Note: I don’t know about anybody else who’s read this book, but I kept reading this with an English accent. The whole thing. In my head, it was all English.
Nothing compared to the ending. It wasn’t rushed or overloaded, but perfectly left in the air with a cliffhanger that didn’t leave me hanging, but left me enticed for the next book. It was perfectly done.
Gorgeous cover and very representative to the entire story. Pretty straightforward to. Winding curves, splendid moments of thoughtfulness amid horror that seriously shook me. Sure, this trope is getting its workout, but there are many ways that this book really stands out from others. It didn’t hesitate to jump into the dark and bloody and dangerous so close-up and it wasn’t shy either. From prisoner to queen, I’m ready for the rest of the trilogy.
“The last person to called me by my true name was my mother, with her dying breath.” (p. 1)
“You will live. You will fight.” (Ampelio to Theo, p. 28)
“You’re a lamb in the lion’s den. You’re surviving. Isn’t that enough?” (The Kaiserin to Theo, p. 141)
More to come soon…
P.S. Song today? Whisper Something Fragile by The Cab
Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below!