Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Ash Princess - Sebastian, Laura

Theodosia was only six years old when her country was stormed and her strong, good-natured mother, the Fire Queen, throat was slitted right in front of the traumatized child. On that day, everything changed and her entire life was no longer steady. The “Kaiser” stole everything from little Theodosia that night: her family, her land, and her name. The distraught child is forced to burying the girl she really was deep under her skin; Theodosia disppeared and in her place was the exact same girl with the same appearance but the glint and fire in her eyes had burned out. She was crowned “Ash Princess”, a title that will haunt and follow her everywhere as she starts the unsure path of her future. For over ten years Theo has been humiliated and held captive in her own palace. She has swallow down her pride and confidence, and relentlessly, publicly abused and degraded by the greedy, cold-hearted, cruel Kaiser and his court. She is defenseless and her physical self is only barely surviving in her new world. Then, one day, the Kaiser forced Theo to do an unthinkable to someone she has always seen as her only living parents and the last twinkle of hope inside her. With the blood on her hands and the last drop of hope sucked out of her, the Kaiser was obviously amused but clueless to the fact that he has gone so far even his own are no longer loyal to him. She soon finds out that her people are still fighting for her. They may not have enough man power yet, but the tables are about to turn. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield. For years she had been forced to stand and watch her people suffer underneath the Kaiser. All of the chaos starts now and all the silence stops.

For me this book had smooth writing, morally grey and relatable characters, and a fast-paced plot yet it doesn’t feel too rushed or cringy.
The overall story line and whole magic system were not one of the most originals, but it is still fresh and full of action.
Theodosia is not a easily lovable main character. She’s very insecure, immature,naive, kind of impulsive, and sometimes a bit of a hypocrite.
However, I also found that her insecurities and immaturity really bring her to life. Many books have teens who are “good” and ready to sacrifice themselves for the rest of the world. But no matter how good-hearted a person might be, I see this kind of behavior as over the top heroic to be realistic to the grey nature of any human being.
I was eager to read about a character who was, for a change, afraid for HER life and ready to be selfish so SHE can survive. There’s romance, some sort of love triangle. I always get annoyed and frustrated with this kind of set up, but it didn’t really bother me this time.
The romance is good, it makes sense (unlike some books I have read where the character spends the whole book with one and at the end suddenly appears with another one that completely clashes with the plot). I guess I just didn’t focus on that part of the story as to me the madness the author was throwing Theo into was way more intriguing and breathtaking. Overall I would rate this book 9/10 and I would recommend this to anyone who wants a book filled with adrenaline but doesn’t have the time to read an exponentially long and dragged out story.