Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Audiobook Review: Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Title: Ash Princess (Ash Princess #1) 
Author: Laura Sebastian
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 432
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Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia's family, her 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.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

Ash Princess has been on my radar since it was published, but for some reason I never got around to reading it until now. I was surprised upon finally reading it to find that it was not a Cinderella retelling! I don't really know why I assumed it was other than the title, but I definitely enjoyed this original YA fantasy!

Theo has been a prisoner in her own home for ten years, forced to bend to the will of the Kaiser to stay alive after he killed her mother. She has grown complacent, even making friends with the daughter of one of her enemies, but she starts to consider things differently after an old friend reappears in her life unexpectedly.

Theo was such an incredible character! She is definitely one of my new favorites. It's very easy to understand how she chose to follow the rules of her enemies instead of fighting every second of the last ten years, but I loved watching her realize her strength. I loved how blurred the lines were between good and evil. Morally gray characters are my absolute favorite and I adore when an author can make a case either way.

Speaking of other characters, there is absolutely a hint of romance and, yes, a love triangle. While this isn't a trope I always enjoy, I felt that it worked really well here. While one of the love interests made sense as someone Theo had always known, I also really liked her chemistry with Soren and I am wholeheartedly on that ship.

While I am getting a bit sick of elemental magic in general, I liked the way that it worked in this book. The magic system is familiar, but still manages to be unique. I also enjoyed the politics and the world, although I would have liked seeing a bit more of it. Based on the way Ash Princess ended, I assume there will be much more of the world in book two and I can't wait to see all of it! The author definitely took her time crafting what we did see of world and its different cultures.

This book was everything I could have hoped for, although I went in with no expectations at all. There was magic and romance, twists and mystery! And the ending was BRUTAL! I am just so glad that I already have book two available to read immediately.