The Page 69 Test: Kingdom of Ash and Soot by C. S. Johnson

Happy Wednesday, everyone! It’s been a great week so far, so to continue that greatness, here is our third post of the Page 69 Test. The two paragraphs below illustrate what this post is about.

The Page 69 TestMy co-bloggers and I have started a new weekly blog post: The Page 69 Test! Have you heard of the page 69 test? If not, it’s basically where you read page 69 of a book you think you will like. If you liked reading page 69, chances are you will enjoy reading the rest of the book.

Instead of posting the full page, we will be posting the first 10-20 lines of that page, starting with the first full sentence.

The book for this week is by a wonderful author, C. S. Johnson. I recently read Kingdom of Ash and Soot: The Order of the Crystal Daggers, and it was absolutely breathtaking (you can read my review here). I was completely immersed in the world and the characters are spectacular. Check out the start of page 69 below!

“Seemingly hours later, I watched Ben as he mindlessly picked at the dirt underneath his fingernails. We were stationed outside of the library, both of us silent.

I had a feeling Ben was going through the same tumultuous turmoil as I was; as I gave him an overview of what happened in the dining hall, his expressions shifted constantly, ranging from amused to angry to suspicious.

‘Do you think she’s really our grandmother?’ I finally asked Ben.

‘No one with that kind of coach and team would come to our manor in Bohemia if it were not for real,’ Ben said. ‘Besides, it makes sense. She is British, as Mama was, and she’s clearly a member of the higher social circles. And remember, when Mama left us, she was headed for London.’

‘And then her ship went down.'”

See the summary for Kingdom of Ash and Soot below. And get ready to swoon over Ferdy (trust me, you will!).

Synopsis of Kingdom of Ash and Soot by C. S. Johnson

39604038“I want to be free.” The words came rushing out of me before I could think through their implications and consequences.

“There are two things you need to know about yourself if you want to be free—what you stand for, and what you stand against.” Lady Penelope held up her hands, brandishing a pair of daggers that had been hidden in her skirts. “This world lives enslaved to its destruction, and so long as you are living, as long as you are fighting, you will be free.”

I gazed at the daggers, transfixed. Each blade was clothed in a leather scabbard, but the silver and obsidian of the daggers’ hilts winked at me, as though it was calling for me.

PRAGUE, 1870.

For the last ten years, nineteen-year-old Eleanora Svobodová has worked as a servant in her stepmother’s household. Along with her older brother, she dreams of the day they will be free to live life on their own terms.

But everything changes when their estranged grandmother comes to Prague on behalf of Queen Victoria. Throughout Bohemia, a string of murders and secret whispers hint at a larger coup. As the leader of the Order of the Crystal Daggers, an ancient order of spies and soldiers that protect kingdoms and their rulers, Lady Penelope is determined to mete out the perpetrators. Now, Eleanora must make the choice between a life of intrigue and saving the lives of others.

Can Eleanora find a way do the right thing and still find freedom?

With a fun blend of historical fiction, true love, castle intrigue, and family dysfunction, The Order of the Crystal Daggers is the latest adventure series from C. S. Johnson.


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There is nothing better than a great cup of coffee and an even better book.

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