Title: Ash Princess
Author: Laura Sebastian
Publishing House: Delacorte Books
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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.
Please be aware, there are trigger warnings of physical and mental abuse.
Ash Princess was not a bad read, it just did not hook me in a way that made me feel apart of the story or made me care strongly for the characters. The story was well-written, and there were some scenes that gave me goosebumps or made my eyes widen. And even though that happened, it still was not a story that left me wanting more. Yes, I definitely want to see what happens next, but it’s not a sequel I am dying to get my hands on right now.
One of the reasons my rating is lower than planned is because of the love triangle. It’s such an overused cliché and, frankly, I have a hard time getting through stories with a love triangle. The love triangle in this story got on my nerves more than once, especially when I saw where the story was heading. I’m all for having one love interest; love triangles don’t just make it complicated for the characters, they make it complicated for the reader in the sense of if the reader wants to continue the story. Even though I was annoyed with this love triangle, I continued the story because I was curious about the plot and really enjoyed the uniqueness of the magic aspect.
I will also warn you, the story is a slow pace and if you love action-packed fantasy reads, this is probably not the book for you. There’s a slow pace mainly due to the fact of how Theo chooses to fight, and that’s by using her head. She is an exceptionally smart character when it comes to dealing with politics and working her way through getting the information she needs. The story does have some action, toward the end, but that action sets the pace and storyline for the sequel.
What I did like about Ash Princess was the concept of magic. To use magic, you must be blessed by the god or you basically lose your right into the peaceful afterlife. But what I found unique was if one spent too long working in the magic mines, they could become mad and their power would become unstable. This was a neat idea and I liked how the author intertwined it with the plot, especially with that mini twist toward the end of the novel that basically changed the game.
Even though I gave Ash Princess an average rating, I do look forward to the sequel, mainly because Theo was an enjoyable protagonist and I’m curious as to how the story will end.
Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian hits shelves tomorrow! And check out the awesome book trailer below!