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'Ash Princess'

A Review About the Book by Laura Sebastian

By Erika FarrahPublished 6 years ago 3 min read

"I will not anger the Kaiser and he will keep me alive."

Imagine if the greatest thing you could do with your life is to survive, to live. Imagine if in order to do that you had to hide your true self and take on the identity and persona forced upon you. For 6-year-old Princess Theodosia of the island nation Astrea, this is what she must do. At age 6, a warrior race known as the Kalovaxians have invaded her home, killed her mother, the fire queen, and forced young Theodosia to take on the name of Lady Thora, the Ash Princess.

It takes all of Thora's will power to accept her new name and her new life. She has to or she will die. She spends the next 10 years of her life waiting and praying to her now forbidden gods that maybe she will be rescued, that her people will save her. Never could she have known that by living, she was her people's greatest hope. She has to pretend to despise them, hate them, all the while wearing a crown of ash. Not that it matters much. No matter how much she does her best to please the Kaiser, no matter how docile and submissive she is to him and his culture, the moment a spark of rebellion reaches the Kaiser’s ears, the moment Astrean Pirates attack the Kalovaxians at sea, even an act of nature disrupting the mines on Astrea, poor Thora is forced to be punished. And her punishments are brutal and very public. She must stay awake as her back is whipped over and over again to an inch of her life and should she pass out, the beating continues longer and is much worse. And to make sure she knows she is beaten, every time a party or a royal event happens, she is forced to wear a low back dress and her crown of ashes to show she is broken and nothing more than the Kaiser’s pet.

Ash Princess is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It has some aspects that you can predict, but at the same time it keeps you jumping out of your skin wanting to know what will happen next. There is love, treachery, and death. There are loyalties that you wonder if they are deserved and friendships that make you think twice. Ash Princess raised question after question for me. Will Thora ever be free? Why does the Kaiser find it better to be cruel to a child than to kill the hopes of the people he has conquered? If Princess Theodosia is still alive and the hope of the people, what is Theodosia's hope? Who does she believe in?

The turns of Ash Princess kept me on edge and while it is one of the best books I have read in a long time, I regret finishing it so quickly as the sequel Lady Smoke will not be out until the spring of 2019. This, in my opinion, is a must-read book.

It has great female empowerment and shows that not all wars are of blood and gore. There are politics at play, powers that cannot be undone, wills that cannot be unbroken, and that the inner strength of one who is broken and never had power, is the greatest power of all.

If you're a fan of the Divergent series or The Hunger Games, then you're going to enjoy this book. Ash Princess also has this Game of Thrones or Harry Potter feel to it with the magic and exotic locations. It has this amazing female hero who is afraid to be herself. Ash Princess in its own right is also a coming of age tale, a book about not just this young girl, but the people in her life fighting to find who they are, working to be more than a courtesan, a slave, a prince, or a captive.

Secrets come out, hope is reborn, regret takes way to bravery and goes back to regret. While it is a fantasy, this is a book that feels very real and has characters, problems, and emotions that we can all relate to.

Like what you read? Tell me. Didn't like it? Tell me. Something you want me to discuss, let me know.


About the Creator

Erika Farrah

To learn more about me and my works visit:


Instagrams: @erikafshore & @onceandfuturequeencospaly

TikTok: @erikafshore


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