Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Queen of Flame and Fury, was murdered before her eyes. Ten years later, Theo has learned to survive under the relentless abuse of the Kaiser and his court as the ridiculed “Ash Princess.” Pretending to be empty-headed and naive when she’s not enduring brutal whippings, she pushes down all other thoughts but one: Keep the Kaiser happy and he will keep you safe.
When the Kaiser forces her to execute her last hope of rescue, Theo can’t keep her feelings and memories pushed down any longer. She vows revenge, throwing herself into a plot to seduce and murder the Kaiser’s warrior son with the help of a group of magically gifted and volatile rebels. But Theo doesn’t expect to develop feelings for the Prinz. Or for her rebel allies to challenge her friendship with the one person who’s been kind to her throughout the last hopeless decade: her heart’s sister, Cress.
Cornered into impossible choices and unable to trust even those who are on her side, Theo will have to decide how far she’s willing to go to save her people and how much of herself she’s willing to sacrifice to become queen. (Goodreads)
Alright. Alright. I will be the first to jump up and shout that I wanted this book with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. I mean, just look at that cover! How does it not reach out and grab you by whatever genitalia you possess and force you to look at it. That, my friends, is a near perfect cover.
Second point I have is one that many people have been tossing around since ARCs of this puppy made their way into the world. It is a little tropey. That’s cool with me. People write tropes because they work and I for one don’t have a problem with that. If I am entertained I am entertained, that is the bottom line.
Next up on my list of things I want to bring up is the use of the word prinz instead of prince. For the love of all that is holy (or unholy, take your pick) that annoyed the ever loving hell out of me. Just say prince, that way I don’t have to glare every time I see that cocky ‘z’ thrown around. I got used to seeing it after a while as I read but I still got irritated.
Before I ramble too far about this I’m going to be straight forward with you all. The first part of this book was a drag to get through. I mean, it was tough. The second half more than made up for my first half agitation, though. Keep that in mind during my following rambles.
Theo/Thora made me want to punch her. Repeatedly. She watched her mother be murdered and her people suffer and didn’t do a damn thing about it until her childhood crush showed up and went, “Oh hey, want to take back the kingdom and stuff?” I hate weak females and that is exactly what she was. At every opportunity she had to be strong during the first half of the book she didn’t live up to her potential whatsoever.
During the second of the book, Theo found something like a spine. She had a wonderful, strong little monologue toward the end which was absolutely perfect. It encapsulated everything I had wanted from the character the entire book. Strength of character, decisiveness, willfulness. If she had shown even a spark of that in the first half I’d have gobbled this book down in a hot minute. (Do people still say hot minute? Am I old? Whatever.)
The story itself had a lot going for it. Kingdom in peril, a people in need of rescue, and many wrongs to be righted. Unfortunately, not a lot of that happened but the set up is there for the next book in the trilogy. I have a feeling that the second installment, due in 2019, is going to have a lot of action which is promised in Ash Princess.
Another point I’d like to bring up is character growth. I just really didn’t see any in this book. Okay, I take that back, Theo changed a lot but none of it seemed to be for a reason. Just suddenly, “Okay, lol! I’m queen! Haha! Look at me suffer for a purpose!” Insert eye roll here. The prinz, who is absent through the middle of the book, has the most character growth. His makes sense and follows reason. I liked him to a point. He seemed a little too “good boy” at parts but that suited who he needed to be. I can understand and appreciate that.
You know, now that I’m typing this all out, I think I just figured out my main issue with this book. I didn’t actually like any of the characters. They all had their parts and played them well but I didn’t like any of them. They were just…there. Don’t get me wrong, each character had a purpose that was clearly defined and well executed, but I just didn’t like them. Period.
Okay, this has turned into an almost rant but, I promise you, this book is actually pretty good if you are the kind of person that can overlook tropes. I’d give it a solid 3.75/5. Thanks for living through my ramble!
Ash Princess (Untitled Trilogy #1) by Laura Sebastian is set for release on April 24th, 2018 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers.