Hey everyone, today I will be reviewing Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian! I absolutely adored this book so I hope you check it out!
Release date: April 24, 2018
Hardcover page count: 448
My rating: 5/5 stars
*I read this as an arc so some things might have been changed (hopefully not) between when I read it and when it came out*
Ever since her mother and country were taken before her at the age of six, Theodosia has lived as a captive in her own palace. Only kept alive to keep her people under control and nicknamed the Ash Princess after her murdered mother, the Fire Queen, she suffers from constant abuse and never-ending ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. But just when she thinks her grueling life could not get any worse, Theodosia is forced to by the king to destroy her last chance at returning to the crown. But Theodosia is not as alone as she thinks, making her realize that she still has one last person that she could rely on to help set her free: herself.
This book is definitely one of those that go above and beyond what is described in the summary. So many issues were touched upon in this book and so many aspects of my ideal book were featured in it, that I would not hesitate for a second to call this book my new all-time favorite book. For one, the author was able to cover issues that are often not easily talked about in YA fantasy. These are issues like sexual harassment and racism are often hard to discuss in YA because they so big and are often skimmed over or just written in a bad way. But by creating a peaceful nation of people quickly enslaved by a greedy king and his people, the author was able to discuss these topics successfully. Not only that, but she was able to integrate them into her plot in a beautiful and interesting way, not at all just thrown in for fun. This integration of these topics just made the book feel that much more real as these are topics often talked about today, connecting things that readers see in the news to this fantasy world.
The next aspect of the book that I really enjoyed was the plot itself. Far from the traditional story of a girl in need of help who just happens to discover super-powerful magic that was just buried deep inside of her (like what the summary might imply), the author was able to utilize another power for the main character to yield: her mind. Though this might seem obvious for a character to use, in YA fantasy it is more common to see girls using hidden magic as their weapon, something the main character actually flat out refuses to use because of her religion. I loved that the author wrote the main character this way because it made her both more relatable and also enhanced the plot. Because of her ‘power’, instead of going through magical battle scenes, readers instead read through brilliantly thought out plots, tricks, and conversations where the main character’s words and ability to act are her weapons. These types of scenes were common throughout the book, leaving the reader desperate to read more and creating sleepless nights of late night reading.
Another aspect of the plot that I really enjoyed was the way the author was able to steer clear of YA book tropes. At several points of this book, I thought that the author was about to fall into a trope and end up ruining the book. But boy was I wrong. Every time that she was getting close to something that would be considered a book trope, the author was able to beautifully move away from it, making the book unique and that much more interesting because it was harder to predict.
Lastly, I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Each one was able to follow their own path and each lead to their own unique plot points. I can’t say much without spoiling it, but this book was definitely one that you could not predict, a great trait for a book to have. No two characters seemed like the same and each had their own beautifully constructed story line.
I would recommend this book for YA fantasy lovers looking for a new take on the genre. Ash Princess was able to combine so many factors that makes a great book, and put it all into one. If you are interested in seeing modern day issues such as sexual harassment play out in a fantasy novel and actually done realistically to bring attention to the issue, this book is for you. I would recommend this book for readers 13 and up because of some of the issues that are discussed.
I hope that you enjoyed this review! It has been such a long time since I was able to find a book that truly had not a single thing wrong with it and I am happy that this one was the book to break that streak. Let me know if you check it out! Also, if there are any books that you would like me to review, let me know in the comments!
See you next time!
Welcome to the Book Enigma! I review different genres of books from young adult fiction to sci-fi. Enjoy!
Aspiring author who, along with reading YA and with other genres, also fosters kittens, and play the piano and cello!
“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”