Ash Princess

Ash Princess

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...

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Title:Ash Princess
Author:Laura Sebastian
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Ash Princess Reviews

  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔

    This book definitely helped pull me out of my book funk, so praise 🙌

    *Review to come*

  • Melanie

    Friends, I couldn’t put this down. This was such an addicting and captivating read. This was the first book of 2018 that I read in one day, which is saying something because this book is almost 450 pages. I was just so invested with the romance, the rebellion, and the betrayals, that I couldn’t stop turning the pages.

    is Laura Seba

    Friends, I couldn’t put this down. This was such an addicting and captivating read. This was the first book of 2018 that I read in one day, which is saying something because this book is almost 450 pages. I was just so invested with the romance, the rebellion, and the betrayals, that I couldn’t stop turning the pages.

    is Laura Sebastian's debut novel, which is a story about a girl named Theodosia (yeah, I’m going to be singing

    all day after writing this review), whose ruling mother was murdered, and their land taken over by another kingdom when she was only six-years-old. the Kaiser allowed her to live, but only so that she could live among them, while they take everything she has ever known away. She is used as a reminder for her people that the Kaiser has enslaved, and when they do anything to rise up, Theodosia takes the punishment. Her back is incredible scarred from the whippings she has had to endure, but the Kaiser also inflicts so much mental and emotional abuse alongside the physical.

    The Kaiser conquered Theodosia’s land because there are caves that run beneath four major temples that her people worship (air, fire, water, earth). And gems come from those caves to give people magic, but they also give people with an affinity for the element(s) a lot of magic. The caves have so much magic inside them, that when Theodosia’s mother would rule, people would go down and stay in the caves, most dying, but some emerging and proving that they are worth the element the god and goddesses gave to them. Now that the Kaiser rules, he forces the slaves down there to mine, but most lose their minds after being around the power(s) for too long, and eventually lose their lives.

    Theodosia’s only friend is a girl named Cress, whose father is the one who swiped the blade across her mother’s throat. Inside, Theodosia feels a constant battle about what she can do while feeling so absolutely helpless. Yet, Cress also lost her mother when she was very young, so an unconventional friendship grew from two girls both mourning the mothers they never got to know. I loved seeing their friendship develop and become what it was by the end of the book. But Theodosia is constantly reminded of all the things she lost alongside her mother, but she is forced to do the only thing she can: survive. That is, until one day a boy from her past comes and offers her a way out, and a way to maybe right a few wrongs that have happened to her people.

    As I said above, this is a dark story about a girl who is forced to live among the people who ruined her life and killed her mother.

    for racism, enslaving humans, abuse, torture, graphic beating, humiliation, captivation, gore, murder, death, loss of a loved one, bullying, talk of rape in the past, talk of animal murder in the past, sexual assault (unwanted touching), and rebellion/war themes.

    The other thing I’d like to talk about is that the Kaiser and his people are white with light features, where Theodosia and her people have darker features and are said to have a “tawny” skin color. On top of the fact that this is a story about how one empire colonizes another, and puts the remaining population in chains and are force them to work (and die) in the mines harvesting gems.

    My favorite thing about this book was easily the romance. Now, a lot of books have kind of vague, blurry, love triangles, but

    just has a blatant one, and I loved it. Theodosia is torn between her childhood friend and first love, Blaise, and a boy whose father has taken everything from her, Søren. It is legitimately friends to lovers and enemies to lovers and my shipper heart was so full of happiness. I personally like the enemies to lovers side of the triangle more, and I was falling off my bed, swooning so damn hard, during the last tunnel scene. Like, that is my romance kink, 100%, and if you’ve read this book you’ll know what scene I’m talking about. The romance in this is perfect, and I will read

    at midnight upon release to see how these romances progress, because your girl is invested.

    So, you’re probably asking, “Melanie, why did you give it four stars if you enjoyed it this much and won’t stop gushing over it?” And that’s because, I’ll be honest, this story doesn’t bring anything new to the YA Fantasy world. If you read a lot of other reviews on Goodreads, you’re going to notice the same line of “this is nothing new” and it is true. A lot of reviewers are also comparing this to

    and

    , but I haven’t read either of those! Basically, this isn’t groundbreaking or even unique, but it’s super well written and crafted and it truly made for an un-put-downable read for me.

    Overall, I truly loved and devoured this. This was easily the most addicting thing I’ve read in 2018 thus far, and I completely recommend it with my whole heart. Again, it might not be the most original thing, but that doesn’t make it not worthwhile. I loved the characters, the twists, the plot, the friendship, the perfect romances, the atmosphere, the writing, I loved it all. This will probably be one of my favorite YA Fantasies of 2018, and I hope you all give it a try upon release!

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  • Carrie

    Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian is the first book in the young adult fantasy series, Ash Princess Trilogy. This is one that is on the darker side with violence, abuse, slavery and a hint of rape so beware to those with issues with these triggers. There is also a hint of a love triangle involved with the main character, a boy from her past and the son (prince) of her captor.

    The story begins as we meet Theodosia Eirene Houzzara who by all rights should be the Queen of Astrea. However ten years bef

    Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian is the first book in the young adult fantasy series, Ash Princess Trilogy. This is one that is on the darker side with violence, abuse, slavery and a hint of rape so beware to those with issues with these triggers. There is also a hint of a love triangle involved with the main character, a boy from her past and the son (prince) of her captor.

    The story begins as we meet Theodosia Eirene Houzzara who by all rights should be the Queen of Astrea. However ten years before Theodosia’s people were overthrown and her mother the queen was killed in front of her. Since that day she has done whatever she can to stay alive despite the torture she’s endured.

    When Theodosia’s father who once was a guard in her kingdom is brought into the court for “trial” and sentenced to death at her own hand it sparks something in the fallen princess. She knows that many of her people have died but even if it costs her own life she must do what she can to regain her throne.

    I suppose the first thing to say about this one would be that no, it isn’t a highly original tale but more of one done before. However, when they mention a series like Red Queen in comparison I was hesitant to even try this one because of finding that one so slow and dare I say boring. Ash Princess may have hints of the same type of young adult fantasy read as others before it but it was strangely enjoying to me regardless and I felt myself get caught up in the story as it went along.

    The writing in here seemed to flow rather easily for such a dark tale and had a compelling feel to it I’ve missed in other books of this type. The stage has been set in this first book and with a somewhat cliffhanger type of ending it seems there are sure to be some big developments to come with the plot so yes, I will definitely continue the series on to see how it goes from here.

    I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

    For more reviews please visit

  • Emily May

    has a heroine desperately trying to reclaim her stolen throne, a mindlessly evil tyrant who stole said throne, and a love triangle... What's that, you say? You've heard this one before? Yeah, me too.

    That being said, to give credit where it's due, it stands out for being

    .

    Plot and character-wise, it resembles many other YA fantasies. But I was just complaini

    has a heroine desperately trying to reclaim her stolen throne, a mindlessly evil tyrant who stole said throne, and a love triangle... What's that, you say? You've heard this one before? Yeah, me too.

    That being said, to give credit where it's due, it stands out for being

    .

    Plot and character-wise, it resembles many other YA fantasies. But I was just complaining in my review of

    about how I keep reading a lot of “shallow and emotionless” YA fantasy books, and this happens to be one that breaks the pattern. I can't deny it is very compelling, though it relies heavily on violence, abuse and misery to keep us turning the pages.

    I'll spare you a plot summary - you can probably guess it anyway - and just say there's a rightful queen held captive by the conquerors of her kingdom who must assist the underground rebellion and reclaim her throne. Whilst fighting off the hot dudes along the way, of course.

    Many are comparing this to

    , which I did think was shallow and emotionless. Instead, I’d compare it to Sabaa Tahir’s

    - both books are heavy on the violence, feature slavery as a theme, have a love triangle (sort of) and an evil tyrant driving the drama and action. They are also similarly paced and engaging.

    Aside from an awkward infodump in the first chapter, it goes down smoothly. The violence and unfairness make it easy to keep turning the pages. Shortly after the book opens Theo is forced to murder her father, and

    . Theo's undercover manipulations are also fun to read.

    Some of the major plot aspects seem illogical, such as why the new king (called the Kaiser 🙄) would leave the rightful heir alive. The book tries to explain it away but it doesn't really make much sense. Surely if you want to dampen any hope of reinstating the rightful monarch then you would just kill the rightful monarch.

    I should warn that it is at times grim and gory. Slavery is a norm; beatings, torture and rape (non-graphic) are common. The divide between the dark-haired, olive-skinned Astrean people and the pale-skinned, blonde-haired Kalovaxians is clearly along racial lines.

    BUT what can I say? It is also

    . If you have room in your heart (and on your bookshelves) for another fantasy with princesses, evil rulers, rebellion and romance, then you could definitely do worse than this one.

    TW: graphic abuse and torture; rape (non-graphic); racism.

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  • Lola  Reviewer

    I hope you will not fall off your chair if I tell you that you have read this story before.

    Maybe once, or twice, or a hundred of times, but you most certainly have.

    Girl loses kingdom and family. Girl wants kingdom back and boy helps her. Girl manipulates her way surprisingly mainly into—instead of out of—trouble.

    Nothing stands out. Not even the idea of multiple gods and goddesses and gems that hold power that can be used by and on people. There is the illusion of a world-building but it is jus

    I hope you will not fall off your chair if I tell you that you have read this story before.

    Maybe once, or twice, or a hundred of times, but you most certainly have.

    Girl loses kingdom and family. Girl wants kingdom back and boy helps her. Girl manipulates her way surprisingly mainly into—instead of out of—trouble.

    Nothing stands out. Not even the idea of multiple gods and goddesses and gems that hold power that can be used by and on people. There is the illusion of a world-building but it is just that… an illusion.

    So while you’ve read this story before, it’s true that you haven’t read it from Theo’s point of view. In the beginning, I was sure I would love it. After all, unlike most fantasy YA heroines, Theo *pretends* to be weak and a damsel in distress.

    The pretending entertained me. Except, when you think about it, whether she is aware of her own manipulative actions (like faking fear to let a guy protect her) or not, it remains that she isn’t acting all that differently from other fantasy YA heroines.

    I simply don’t care. Now I don’t mean that I want Theo to crumble and turn to real ashes, but if my powers of prediction are correct, that is not going to happen. Otherwise, there’s no story to tell, and so I don’t care to read the whole trilogy. (Pssst… I can also read hands, for a small fee.)

    Oh, wait, did I forget to mention that there’s a love triangle? Surprise! Now you’ve fallen completely, haven’t you? Well indeed there is. A very—wait for it—predictable and annoying one.

    What a waste of a really amazing cover (oh and potential). Though, was there potential to begin with? The only reason I read it is because I have a thing for princess stories or so I have claimed recently.

    But now I feel like a fraud. Grrr. I might have to rethink my preferences.

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  • Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink

    Phew, okay. This was such a heavy book!

    I'm going to leave off a rating because of the amount of triggers in this book. It was verrry difficult for me to get through because of the pain/abuse/etc. There are some powerful themes woven throughout, and I'm not saying any of this to degrade that or the story! It just hit me really hard and I had a difficult time stomaching it, especially with the amount. (Again, this is not meant to be a negative review! It was just very emotionally heavy for me.)

    S

    Phew, okay. This was such a heavy book!

    I'm going to leave off a rating because of the amount of triggers in this book. It was verrry difficult for me to get through because of the pain/abuse/etc. There are some powerful themes woven throughout, and I'm not saying any of this to degrade that or the story! It just hit me really hard and I had a difficult time stomaching it, especially with the amount. (Again, this is not meant to be a negative review! It was just very emotionally heavy for me.)

    So with that said, let's start off with some warnings.

    This book focuses HEAVILY on abuse (both mental and physical and in sharp detail), as well as slavery and race (obviously I cannot speak on that, but just be aware). I personally felt ill during several scenes - not because they were handled poorly (I really can't be the judge of that). There's lots of empowerment/finding the will to stand up to your aggressors/etc - but the world is so so so dark and even the sliver of hope didn't feel very bright.

    Basically, we have Thora (or Theodosia per her real name), who is known as the 'Ash Princess' because she was the former queen's daughter. Her country was captured when she was young by the Kalovaxians - who slit her mother's throat but kept her alive for punishment when people tried to rebel (and other sick reasons.) Throughout her life, Thora is beaten down constantly until she's afraid to stand up to the kaiser (king) - so when we start her story, she's almost complacent.

    Anyway, something happens that I won't spoil, and she finds the willpower to stand up and try to bring down the kaiser from within.

    I don't want to say much more. I think I'd have a hard time even discussing Theo as a character. She was strong and has been through so much, but ahhh it was so difficult to watch. There's a love triangle of sorts but it was soooo depressing and sad, just because of the brutality of the world and the choices that Theo felt had to be made.

    So... I don't particularly know my feelings towards the story. I'm mostly curious to see what others think.

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  • Simona

    Please tell me "Prinz" is a typo in the synopsis and that it's not how they spell prince bc I don't think I could cope with that tbh xD

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    pssssstt i know it's german for prince now. thanks(:

  • Cait • A Page with a View

    DNF. I ended up skimming towards the end so I left off a rating.

    I think this book had potential and could've pulled off all of the abuse, torture, and generally horrible world Theo faced, but it mostly turned into a super depressing & forgettable read instead. By 20% it was still just pain, misery, and suffering and... ok, I get that it's a CRUEL WORLD. I get that she's in a hellish situation. I want something I can be

    besides just "not this!" I don't mind a lot of suffering in my storie

    DNF. I ended up skimming towards the end so I left off a rating.

    I think this book had potential and could've pulled off all of the abuse, torture, and generally horrible world Theo faced, but it mostly turned into a super depressing & forgettable read instead. By 20% it was still just pain, misery, and suffering and... ok, I get that it's a CRUEL WORLD. I get that she's in a hellish situation. I want something I can be

    besides just "not this!" I don't mind a lot of suffering in my stories as long as there's an undercurrent of hope or redemption. I just need something to get behind!

    The way Theo took herself

    was kind of the last straw for me. The story tried to make all of these situations at the start bear SO much weight & significance, but they just felt comically hollow since nothing had really been established yet. Everything was A VERY BIG DEAL. And Theo definitely had solid reasons for her bitter hatred and quest for revenge, but the story jumped right into how much her life sucked before I had a chance to really get to know her. That made it pretty hard to care enough to want to see her succeed.

    Otherwise, the story felt like a blend of a TON of other recent YA fantasy books. That in itself isn't a bad thing at all, though! I love those books and keep reading them for a reason. Princesses who are out of a throne, brooding princes, love triangles, and evil kings will never get old... if they're in a context where they work.

    So this one had a ton of potential, but the execution reallllly didn't work for me personally. I think others might still have fun with it, though! This is probably more of a case of "it's not you, it's me."

  • Candace Robinson

    I'm just going to open up and say this book is just a jumbo of every other YA fantasy book thrown together, especially Ruined by Amy Tintera, which is a book that I loved. It also had Red Queen vibes. I think if this would have been my first YA fantasy book, I would have probably liked it a lot more. Also, throw in my most hated trope, sort of a weird love triangle, and you already have me annoyed. Actually, I'm not even sure if it was a triangle, but there were multiple kisses going on.

    Another

    I'm just going to open up and say this book is just a jumbo of every other YA fantasy book thrown together, especially Ruined by Amy Tintera, which is a book that I loved. It also had Red Queen vibes. I think if this would have been my first YA fantasy book, I would have probably liked it a lot more. Also, throw in my most hated trope, sort of a weird love triangle, and you already have me annoyed. Actually, I'm not even sure if it was a triangle, but there were multiple kisses going on.

    Another thing that bothers me is when a character is annoying and takes herself too seriously. Theo/Thora just kept on saying my people this, and I'm the queen that. She also has all these intense memories from when she was seven or younger. I feel like I can barely remember yesterday, let alone when I was five.

    What was good is that the writing was really well done, and if some of the trope things would have been removed (like girl pretending she likes a guy to betray/kill him, but she really likes him) it would have been a lot better. I just need something more fresh/different. However, I would still read the next book to see what happens next...

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