Published April 24th 2018 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Theodosia was taken prisoner after her mother, the queen was conquered by the Kaiser who stole her land and her future. For years he beat and shamed her and dubbed her “Ash Princess” and even made to wear a crown of ashes on occasion. For ten years she suffers this until an old ally appears and gives her hope of reclaiming her title and her people.
I very much enjoyed the writing in this book. Even though some of the themes were familiar, they didn’t impede me from immersing into the world. There is magic in this book, though it doesn’t take over the main theme, as well as romance, which is also in the background of the main plot.
There is a bit of violence done to both Theo and the people around her. The world is harsh and Theo must adapt or become downtrodden herself. She is forced to do some things that she refuses to let define her. To come back from the misery she endured and to find herself is a hard, hard road. Unlike a lot of fantasy with the same plotlines, this one is genuinely darker and more violent.
The pacing of the book was quick and can be a bit depressing and the love triangle (if you can call it that) was complicated and teetered on cliche, but the author steered it into a different direction which I loved. This book may not be for everyone. Theo sort of lacked a connection for me and her personality was questionable at times, but it only took away from the story a little bit. Could there have been more? Yes. Could Theo have been more relatable? Yes. But I’ll read the second.