On Match 19th I will be part of the Ember Queen book tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club! Since I’d never read this series before, Delacorte Books was so sweet in sending me the first two books. Leading up to the tour date and Review of Ember Queen, I will be posting my reviews on the Ash Princess and Lady Smoke. Spoiler I loved them!
Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her 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.
For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.
10 years ago Thora had everything taken from here including her name. Her people are enslaved and she is punished for every sign of revolt. She has to play by the Kaiser’s rules, even if he doesn’t follow them himself, to stay alive. The day it all changes though is when Theo realizes there is more to life than just surviving it. Set on freeing her people and retaking her kingdom Theo starts to take steps she’s never even considered in all her years as a pampered prisoner. The odds of failure are high, but the time to strike is now and she’s done being the ash princess.
Thora, Theo, Theodosia. Thora was the prisoner, the ash princess trained to be afraid and fear saying the wrong thing and receiving punishment. Docile and obedient. Broken. Theo was the girl that rose from the ashes the day she took her first life. The girl who loved two boys and tried to be strong and make the right decisions. To start an uprising and regroup her people. Queen Theodosia is the women who put her people first, behind her own wants and needs, and made the tough decisions.
Whatever she goes by though, she was a strong main character who had this great character development, that might’ve floundered a bit at times, but just made her even more real. I loved being with her through her struggles and the trails she had to face. She loves her people and her friends and while she thinks she is broken and untrusting, she is truly strong and too caring. She thinks of herself ass three different versions of herself with Thora being the weakest, but Thora endured for 10 years. Just a child when it all began but somehow survived all the horrors piled upon her. I was highly impressed with her as a person and a Queen.
Even in the midst of war there is always time for love. We do get a bit of romance in the form of a lovely triangle that I don’t really think is a triangle but that you’ll have to read and decide on for yourself. We have the childhood best friend, Blaise, and the prince, Soren. I applaud Sebastian for how she chose to portray these romances that are vastly different and with Theo never forgetting all that has been done to her people. Love isn’t blind. Also for the people that can’t get over Soren killing cats, he literally killed hundreds of people so let’s just keep that in mind as well.
I was expecting something along the lines of the Red Queen series, but decided to to continue with my desire to read this series because of all the good buzz I was hearing about it. It was nothing like I thought it would be and I loved every minute of exploring this new world. It ended with a bit of a surprise which I’m excited to see play out. What really drew me in though was Theo herself and my desire to see her get retribution for her people. So onto book two I go!