Title: Ash Princess
Author: Laura Sebastian
Genre: Young Adult-Fantasy
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Buy This Book: Amazon/Audible (affiliate link)
“Something in me is waking up. This is not my home. I am not their prize. I am not content with the life they have so kindly spared.”
I’m going to be honest here; I picked this book almost entirely based on the cover alone. It is STUNNING! So I’m going to start off with a kudos to the designers for their excellent cover art design.
Now for the actual book… When I first started reading Ash Princess I wasn’t sure if I would like it, at least not nearly as much as I did. To start with, the use of the terms Prinz and Prinzessin really bothered me (I later learned that they are German terms and tied in with the term Kaiser, which means “emperor”, but initially I thought the author was just trying to be unique). I was also worried that the book was going to be predictable and full of YA fantasy tropes. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it is truly an original, engrossing, and fully immersive read! It does have a love triangle, which is a trope I usually hate, but it was well executed and didn’t take over the storyline in any way. The plot also had plenty of twists and turns, enough to keep it from being predictable or cliche.
The world building in this book was great and I liked the concept of the gods, the spirit gems/magic, and the guardians. I also really liked that there were a lot of dark aspects to it, things that we don’t often see in YA books. The villain of this story (the Kaiser) is written as a very evil and cruel man. There are scenes describing Theodosia being whipped and physically/mentally abused, along with scenes detailing different characters’ deaths and, at one point, even implied pedophilia. While reading those scenes was definitely uncomfortable and a bit unsettling, they add a layer of depth and honesty to the story, which adds to the overall reading experience in my opinion.
One thing I didn’t like about this book, however, is the fact that I didn’t really connect with the main character, Theodosia, as much as I would have liked to. I can’t put a finger on it, but there’s just something about her that I find rather annoying and made it hard for me to become emotionally attached to her character. I’m hoping that will change over the rest of the series.
Overall, I found Ash Princess to be a solid start to a new series and I will definitely read the next book when it comes out. I’m giving it a 4/5 score.
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.