Monday, May 14, 2018

Review: Ash Princess (Ash Princess #1) by Laura Sebastian

Ash Princess by Laura SebastianAsh Princess
(Ash Princess #1)
by Laura Sebastian
April 24, 2018
432 pages

Goodreads     Indigo

Goodreads Summary:
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.

I was a little surprised by how much I enjoyed Ash Princess! I've seen some really mixed reviews and wasn't sure I'd want to pick it up but I'm so glad I gave it a chance. The story was dark, gritty and intense. It's a very character-driven novel.

Ash Princess featured unflinchingly brutal scenes. They were sometimes quite graphic. While some readers felt the abuse and violence were unnecessary I have to disagree. They were what Theo has had to endure for over half of her life. They pushed her to do what she did. They shaped a part of who she was and ultimately who she became. We had to witness those cruelties to truly grasp the depth of her transformation.

Theo's submission was not voluntary but out of survival instincts. "We are not defined by the things we do in order to survive. We do not apologize for them." (p. 290). Hearing what she's had to bear growing up, the indignation boiled in my guts. I couldn't wait for her to take action, to knock down the wall of fear she's constructed for herself for a decade and fight back. Theo went through a number of changes and they all made her tougher and harder to break.

Cress, who called herself Theo's heart's sister throughout the story, was a naïve sheltered girl. She had some tender moments with Theo but a lot of times she spoke and acted with little regards to Theo's feelings. I just knew she would become a bigger obstacle than any thing or person Theo was likely to face. I am wary of what's to come but I also know it would be inevitable.

I wouldn't say the romance was key to the story but it was an important progression plot-wise. Theo's feelings were not abundantly clear but she cared deeply for two guys (her childhood friend and the crown prince) and they for her. Yes, a love triangle alert. I personally love a good forbidden romance but I hesitate to ship anybody with Theo just yet. If the ending of Ash Princess was any indication of the future to come, things between the three of them are about to become a whole lot more complicated. We've got a long ways to go before any angst is relieved.

A few interesting surprises and twists were dropped at the end of Ash Princess. They'll definitely keep me thinking and guessing till the sequel comes out. I'm burning (pun fully intended) to see how Lady Smoke will continue the story arc!
4.5 Cats
*I received a finished copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and not affected in any way. All quotes were taken from the copy I received.


  1. OOh nice! I picked this one up whimsical like not too long ago! It sounds like my kind of read to be honest and I am hoping to fully love it as well! Glad to see you enjoyed it! Great review!

    1. It's definitely your type of read ;) I look forward to your thoughts Jessica!

  2. Glad to see you enjoyed it as I saw mixed reviews too. But it sounds interesting if I can get beyond the violence.

    1. For sure! I know the violence was a big deal breaker for a lot of people but I thought it was a vital part to the storytelling. If you do pick it up, I hope you enjoy it :)


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