Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian is out in just over two weeks now! This book is one of the most anticipated spring releases for avid fans of YA fantasy, and I’m thrilled to be featuring it on the blog today! Find out all about the book below and don’t forget to add this beauty to your TBR!
About the Book
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.
I’m so excited to have guest reviewer and YA and Wine book club member Emily Donaldson on the blog today to share her thoughts on Ash Princess! Emily is a voracious reader, talented writer, and awesome lady! Check her out on Goodreads!
Ash Princess was an engaging and enjoyable addition to young adult fantasy. The world and the magic system were both unique and left me wanting to learn more about them in future books. The characters each had their own sets of motivations that Sebastian effectively showed intertwining and clashing in deeply human ways.
The biggest strength of Ash Princess is in Theodosia (Theo) as a character. I felt very invested in her fate from the beginning. Sebastian created a believable character that is striving to fight for herself and her people while struggling with her trauma from living in an abusive environment. I loved watching the way her character changes over time. Theo learned to put self-protection first because she was constantly under threat in the court of the Kaiser. This tendency comes up again and again as she attempts to fight that instinct to work towards reclaiming the country for her people.
I really enjoyed the romantic moments, including Theo’s struggles with her growing respect for the Prinz even as the plan to kill him moves forward. There are hints of a love triangle, and I’m not complaining. I think that Theo’s complicated relationship with the Prinz juxtaposes nicely with the automatic connection with Blaise resulting from their past together – he was her playmate before the Kaiser’s takeover.
The world of Ash Princess was very harsh, especially for Theo. I think the book does a good job showing the effects of abuse on Theo as a main character, and it is vital to understanding her as a character. However, the situations of abuse and threats of violence (including sexual violence) were hard to read at times and could be triggering for some readers.
I am excited to read the sequel! I am really hoping to see more about the spirit gems in future books. I am intrigued by that magic system and how it ties in with the deities and religion in the book. I am also interested to see how Theo changes as a character in the next steps of her journey to reclaim her country.
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).
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