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 received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Okay, who here remembers the only book I’ve ever given 2 stars? Show of hands please. Oh, good, some of you do remember! For those who don’t, its Red Queen. I just…did not like that book. The characters were one dimensional, the book was very info-dumpey and the romance was laughable. So when I heard that Ash Princess was being compared to Red Queen, I started shaking in my Ugg boots. Okay, not really, but I was a bit concerned. I am beyond happy to report that, aside from a couple of similar plot points, Ash Princess is NOTHING like the Book That Shall Not Be Named.
Let’s start with character development. Theo was a fantastic lead character, not afraid to show her fear, but brave, clever, and ready to fight. Though she has been doing her best to just survive when the book begins, events quickly transpire that make her realize that she needs to fight. And boy, does she. Her plot line, while dark, was wonderful, and I really grew to respect her as a character.
As previously mentioned, the plot was dark. There was talk of torture, murder, and slavery to name a few. Sebastian did a great job of keeping the plot of the book deep, but not so deep that it was depressing to read. The pacing, for the most part, was quick and kept me wanting more. There were a few parts towards the start of the book that didn’t keep me completely sucked in, but Sebastian always managed to reel me back in.
For my romance peeps: keep your pants on, there is definitely enough romance for you to swoon over! There is a bit of a love triangle (AHHH, the horror), but everything was well done and the romance didn’t take over the plot.
My Takeaway: For those comparing Ash Princess to Red Queen: What the hell book did you read? Ash Princess was full of well developed characters, cleverly crafted plot twists, and just enough romance to keep me wanting more. There was no info-dump at the start of the book, and for the most part, the pacing was fantastic.