Written by: Melody (@lxvely._.snow) ✏ and it's her birthday today!! go wish her on instagram and show her some love :)
Title: Ash Princess (Ash Princess #1)
Author: Laura Sebastian
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.
Ash Princess was a book full of complex characters, a captivating plot and an appealing writing style. While reading the story, there were no moments where I felt bored with the book. With an amazing plot and emotional twists, this book is definitely a very empowering book that I’ve read, so I decided to write a brief review. I will be discussing the characters, plot and writing style. I will try to not go too much into detail to not reveal any major events of the book, but,
warning: this review may contain spoilers.
We will start with the main character herself, Princess Theodosia Eirene Houzzara (aka Thora) Theodosia has character development, in which throughout the book, she deals with her true self and isn't afraid of it. She goes from being quiet and obedient (Thora) to wearing her crown and title proudly (Theodosia), despite living amongst her enemies. Sebastian did an excellent job of showing the internal struggle that Theo has when it comes to taking her rightful place as queen and betraying those she's grown to care about, despite them being Kalovaxian. Overall, Theodosia has a very complex character, and I enjoyed diving into her brain, being able to read and understand all the emotions, feelings and thoughts that made her, her.
Prince Søren is the son of the leader of the Kalovaxians, The Kaiser. Although he resembles his father in appearance, his personality is the complete opposite. Søren is a very strong soldier, looked upon highly by all the other Kalovaxian military, but he is also kind, especially to Thora. Slowly falling in love with her, he wants to run away with her, but Theodosia, (as Thora), must seduce him to ensure that she may be able to escape the palace and return to her people as their Queen. Interesting, right? The reader can see how much Søren differs from his father despite looking like him, and how hard he is desperately trying to change for Thora. I truly liked Prince Søren as a character, and I can not wait to see how he will develop in the sequels.
Theodosia's, or should I say Thora's, heart's-sister Crescentia is the daughter of a highly respected Kalovaxian general, the Theyn. In spite of the fact that Crescentia is the daughter of the man who killed her mother, Theodosia feels as if Cres is a true friend, and will be by her side no matter what. Although, this does contribute to the conflict faced by Theo later on in the story. ****Crescentia starts out as being a side character offering some extra drama, but she soon turns into a person who will be a major effect on the story. At the beginning of the plot, Cres is a light-hearted girl with no worries in the world, simply enjoying everything that she can. And as these characters become more and more complex, so does their (Cres and Theo's) friendship.
Blaise, Theodosia's childhood friend. She and Blaise used to be very close when they were little, and their mothers were close friends as well. Before the attack, Theo and Blaise used to be, basically inseparable. After the attack, however, Theo was taken by the Kalovaxian's as their Ash Princess while Blaise managed to find his way to the Astrean resistance. Coming back for his Queen, Blaise and Theo must find a way to escape the castle with other members of the Astrean resistance so that Queen Theodosia can join them, strengthening their forces. The impact that Blaise had on Theodosia really helped her in her character development, and Blaise himself has more to him than meets the eye.
The Theyn, the most highly respected Kalovaxian general, the man who murdered Theo's mother and close friend of the Kaiser. We get minimal (active) scenes with the Theyn in the story, but we often will read Theodosia remembering the Theyn, usually when she talks about something related to her trauma. As a result of the minimal scenes, we do not get to know the Theyn's character properly (only from Theo's point-of-view), until the end of the book in a scene between Crescentia and Theodosia. I have to say, while I was reading, I felt quite shocked at what Cres had told Theo about her father. It really made me question the way that I view the Theyn. No, it did not justify his actions, but it gave me a new depth in the Theyn's character entirely. I am quite looking forward to learning more about the Theyn's character in the sequels and hoping to discover sides of the Theyn that both the readers and Theodosia never knew existed.
Finally, The Kaiser, the leader of Kalovaxia, the man who made Theodosia's life living hell. Needless to say, the Kaiser was the character I disliked the most in the story, but I'm quite sure the author meant for it to be that way. Laura Sebastian did amazing on the Kaiser's character. While reading, there were many instances where I felt or at least shared the same anger that Theodosia felt towards the Kaiser. He wasn't a villain that I felt bad for or pitied at least once in the entire story (as I did with countless other villains) but despised him ever since the first page, or, at least when I first found out who he was, that is. The Kaiser, although the villain, is someone I definitely want to see more of in this plot.
The plot of the story was a very common one, yet I still enjoyed reading the book. Laura Sebastian did a good job of taking this common storyline and making tailored to her, or better, tailored to Theodosia's story. The trope- enemies to lovers- is also quite a cliche, but nonetheless, it was intriguing to read about Søren and Theodosia and Blaise. Personally, I was more team Søren than team Blaise, but I enjoyed the love triangle nonetheless. Ash Princess is also definitely recommended to people who read Red Queen or at least want to read it, with topics of elemental magic and a powerful queen.
This book is written in first-person present, which is why I was so surprised at the extent I understood a few other characters so well other than Theodosia herself (the book is in her p.o.v) Sebastion wrote about some of the other characters so well that I could understand them to a point where I could describe their character easily. The syntax used by Sebastian was very descriptive, allowing me to comprehend the complexity of thought and emotions that Theodosia undergoes. Theo is a complex character, and Laura Sebastian's writing style kept it as such.
Overall, this story was an excellent pass-time for me. I've wanted to read this for a while when someone recommended Ash Princess, and I have to say I do not regret reading it. There were some instances where I wish the events would have happened differently, but I was never bored with the book. It was a common storyline, but Theodosia made it her own, and she is a person whose story I am looking forward to continuing reading.