My Rating: 4/5 Stars!
Cover Rating: 6/10 Ash Princess has a really strong cover and it fits the book, but I think it comes off as generic fantasy and I think that somehow that leaked into some of the reviews.. even though this while a fantasy is a story that stands on its own, but I digress.
Publisher: Random House Children’s
Publish Date: April 24th, 2018
Number of Pages: 432 pages
Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review
“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.”
Opening Sentence: “The last person who called me by my true name was my mother, with her dying breath.”
Ash Princess is a fantastic fantasy about a girl who lived her life lying low finding her way to claim the title she was born to have. The world of this novel is bleak, but as characters grow and take action, hope is found in bread crumbs.
What I Loved:
Everything seemed bleak. Sometimes in life, shit hits the fan. This book has a lot of that. It’s messy and awful and almost hopeless. There are no holds barred and if this was real I think it would truly have been that way. When rulers take over countries things are awful for the oppressed. The terribleness made the book feel more real.
I didn’t like Theo. Sometimes, it’s not about having a likable character. Theo and the way she handled things was something I didn’t care for, but was I rooting for her? Yes. Right or wrong she did as she felt was best and that is admirable.
Religion. I don’t see it often in fantasy, but there are belief systems in this novel! I think it’s something a lot of fantasy books neglect. Of course people have things they believe in! It added to the authenticity of the narrative.
The little things. There are some small little things like the remembrance of a holiday that create little bright spots in a darker narrative. Even the touches of small actions characters took were lovely.
Attention to detail. There were so many subtleties to the writing that made great impact in how much I enjoyed the narrative. I felt like there was a world outside the palace even when all you got was Theo’s captivity.
There is a love triangle in this book. A lot of people hate that. I for one enjoyed how it was done. It’s important to the story.
I’ve seen some weird reviews saying that this is a generic fantasy and it just got me to think about originality. (Especially because I’ve read books this one was compared to). This book 100% stands on its own and is in no way a copy of anything else. However, fantasy tends to read with twin flames and it is the nature of fantasy that it shows the oppressed trying to triumph over that oppression. Fantasy also often talks about the prince or princess, because in all of our hearts those are the stories we wanted to live out. Plus, it can add a political flavor that you can’t writing about other forms of politics in ya. Ash Princess is unapologetically a fantasy.. I see no fault in that.
Ash princess will take you away and into another world. It’s about fighting with what you have.. even if it’s only wit and mental strength. Being strong physically and able to fight isn’t the only way to make progress and that’s something to remember.
About the Author:
Laura Sebastian was born and raised in South Florida (the Redlands and Key Largo) and has always loved telling stories–many apologies to her little brother who often got in trouble because of them. No copies of her first book, a Cinderella retelling about angels circa 2nd grade, remain. Thankfully.
After getting her BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design, she moved to New York City thinking that she would stay for a couple of years before going somewhere better suited for a small-town, sun-loving girl. Five years later, she’s still here and madly in love with it.
When Laura isn’t writing, she’s probably reading, baking cookies or cupcakes, buying more clothes than her overstuffed closet can fit, or forcing her lazy dog Neville to take a walk.
Her debut ASH PRINCESS, the start of a YA fantasy trilogy, will be out April 24th, 2018 from Delacorte (Random House).
Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.
-Till next time!