Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:
Synopsis for Ash Princess (from Goodreads):
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.
Series: Ash Princess
Author: Laura Sebastian
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Magic, Romance, Politics
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: April 2018 – February 2020
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
I do remember seeing this series floating around when the first book was published but I didn’t reach for it immediately. Instead, I waited until all the books were released so I could binge the series in one shot. I love high fantasy novels and I particularly love reading them as audiobooks so I was looking forward to starting this one!
The Concept / The World:
While not the primary focus of the series, the world building was sufficient to get the job done. The politics of the world are easy to follow as are the fantasy elements.
Like many high fantasy series, you can apply the basic foundations of the story to reflect our everyday society. What happens when people repeat history instead of learning from it? What happens when you treat people the way you were treated? Good vs Evil.
I found the core of this series is the good vs evil dynamic. What does it mean to be “good” and when does one become “evil”? I thought that was highlighted more than in other high fantasy novels I’ve read in the past.
And while I enjoyed the more character centered narrative, I did crave more dramatic plot points and twists/turns.
As I said above, this series is very character driven. The relationships; the inner struggles with the ongoing events; dealing with decisions and their consequences — they all add to the dynamics of the characters and I enjoyed watching the characters evolve as a result. I found myself not only drawn to Theo’s story, but to some of the other side characters as well and how they added to the story.
Despite being a self-described romantic, I actually enjoyed that the romance wasn’t the main focus here. It added to the plot but never really distracted from it. However, I do wish we spent a little more time fleshing out the connection to make it something deeper. It felt a little superficial to me.
My Audiobook Experience:
The audio production was great. It was very easy to listen to and I never got lost in the plot.
Series Rating: 3/5
Ash Princess 4/5 | Lady Smoke 3/5 | Ember Queen 3/5
A solid YA High Fantasy though not my favourite in the genre. However, I appreciated the more character driven focus; it was a highlight when I felt like the dramatic plot could have been taken up a notch.
Read if You Like: high fantasy, character-driven stories
Avoid if You: want more plot twists, dislike high fantasy
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