Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian
Publication Date: April 24th 2018
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Series: Ash Princess Trilogy #1
Blurb: Princess. Prisoner. Orphan. Rebel.
Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s 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.
You know those books that sound amazing but sit on your tbr pile for ages until you finally pick it up and it’s like HOW HAVE I NOT READ THIS BEFORE?! Ash Princess is one of those.
In the wrong hands Ash Princess could have ended up being a generic YA fantasy about a princess and her stolen crown but in Sebastian’s hands it was an epic tale of survival imbued with magic.
What makes Ash Princess so amazing is how character focused it is and how well it handles what the characters have faced. Theo has PTSD, she watched her mother die, she has been tortured by the Kaiser, the only one to have shown her any kindness is the daughter of the man who killed her mother. The Prinz isn’t let off the hook for the things he has done under his father’s commands simply because he’s a handsome, royal love interest. All of these things are examined with a depth and complexity that isn’t always seen in these types of fantasies.
Ash Princess is a dark tale of invasion and igniting the embers of a rebellion, the cost of staying alive and the desire to fight back. It’s about hope and persevering when all odds are against you.
“We are not defined by the things we do in order to survive. We do not apologize for them,’ she says quietly, eyes never leaving mine. ‘Maybe they have broken you, but you are a sharper weapon because of it. And it is time to strike.”
Content Warnings: reference to torture & one on-page whipping scene, unspoken threat of rape against the main character towards the end, mention of war atrocities, invasion.