Title: Ash Princess
Author: Laura Sebastian
Genre: Fiction/ Fantasy/ YA
Source: Kindle Recommendation
Favourite Quote: ‘”You know who you are,” she said to me. Her voice didn’t waver even as drops of blood bloomed where the blade cut her skin. “You are our people’s only hope, Theodosia.”‘
It was 10 years ago when Princess Theodosia watched a Kalovaxian guard slit her mothers throat and their Kingdom lost forever. With their Queen murdered, it didn’t take long before the rest of the Astreans became slaves to the The Kaiser, the diabolical ruler of Kalovaxians. Theodosia was kept prisioner within the confines of her home under the new ruler, beaten and punished until she accepted her new position in the world, no longer known as Theodosia Eirene Houzzare the rightful Queen of Astrean, but instead Thora, the Ash Princess.
When an Astrean rebel is caught, Thora is brought to The Kaiser to identify the criminal. Even with his profile bloodied and broken, Thora found herself standing before her last hope of escape from her endless prison torment. When The Kaiser forces her to murder to show his control over her infront of the nobles, something changes. No longer does she feel like Thora, the weak repressed prisoner, but instead the ruler she was supposed to be, Theodosia Queen of Astrean. It was time to take action, revenge over the Kalovaxians once and for all. With the help of an old friend, Blaise, who disguises himself as one of her shadows, Theodosia begins her plan to take back her Kingdom.
‘I realise once again that he doesn’t spare me out of kindness. He keeps me alive to use me as leverage against my people. My thoughts are growing bolder now, and though I know they are dangerous, I can no longer quiet them. And for the first time, I don’t want to. I’ve been waiting for ten years to be saved, and all I have to show for it is a scarred back and countless dead rebels. With Ampelio caught, there is nothing more the Kaiser can take from me. We both know he is not merciful enough to kill me.’
A dark fantasy that you may have been told before; a fallen Princess who has lost her right to the throne, a childhood sweetheart that wants to save her and a handsome boy from the wrong side who falls for her and would risk anything. I personally find love triangles frustrating although of course I understand the premise, you fall in love with both and you want to finish the story just to find out which one will break our hearts, it’s annoyingly captivating. In this case, you have Blaise, a young man who grew up with our main protagonist Princess Theodosia before the Kalovaxians invaded their land, he knew her back when and will do anything to save their people and bring hope to the Astreans. Slightly emotional which is off-putting but brings truth to his character and his feelings, you know he’s a good one. Then you have Soren, the Prince to the Kasier who has grown up around the pain and suffering of others but doesn’t allow it to touch his soul. The complete opposite of his father but you can’t help but wonder what more lies beneath the surface. He doesn’t know Theodosia, it’s more of a love at first sight because of her courage and strength that he’s drawn too. He’s blinded by his feelings which you can’t help but want to shake him silly, especially when he lives in a world full of lies and deceit.
I quite enjoyed Theodosia as a character, for 10 years she has been held captive by the Kalovaxians who murdered her mother infront of her. She knows she’s rightfully Queen and is the hope for her people, but she’s also been living the last 10 years in fear being abused, tortured and paraded around like a showpiece trophy to show control of the Astreans, whilst patiently waiting to be saved. When she’s forced to kill her father, she snaps and knew it was up to her and her alone to save her people, she was no longer a puppet. It was interesting to see her character unfold into a strong fighter after so many years being a captive living with her enemy, you understand why she struggles to turn her back on the one friend she has, even if it’s false.
‘I don’t miss these punishments, always more brutal and public than any others, but I do miss the hope that clung to me, the feeling that I was not alone in the world.’
The spirit gems were an interesting factor, a dash of magic that was stolen and used for unspiritual purposes that created an even further divide between the Astreans and the Kalovaxians. It’s a shame the author didn’t go into more depth regarding their powers. I hope they include more in the next book! It did feel like they took the idea from a game and threw it in for good measure rather then taking the time to advance it into something unique.
Overall it was a great dark fantasy that became a real page turner, I’m curious as to how the next book will play out, in particularly with our love triangle.
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.