Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on April 24, 2018
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.
Awww yeah. Fans of the WINNER’S CURSE Trilogy have a new book to read that’s right up their alley. Invaders colonizing a conquered land, the oppressed fighting back against their oppressors, and a brilliant young woman right in the center of it all. That’s ASH PRINCESS in a nutshell.
Where Kestral was a member of the oppressive culture, the main character of ASH PRINCESS is one of the oppressive, living the life of a humiliated prisoner for the entertainment of the court of her conquerers. Still she remains her own person on the inside, even as she wears a mask of demure prisoner to survive. She has an indomitable spirit and I absolutely adored every second.
One of the things that really stood out to me was how the colonizers were portrayed. They dominate their conquered countries but they also assimilate the parts of their cultures they like, much like the European and American ones in the real world. This made them a much more of a real threat, giving them a bit of realness that made me shiver a little. They don’t completely erase their oppressed peoples, they pick and choose what they like and throw away the rest. They take the fashion but throw away the religion. I found it both interesting and horrifying.
At points I feel like the world building is a bit weak, where during other moments I could swear this world was really. Were the world building more consistent, along with the characters, I think this would have easily been a near perfect book. I’m always down for court intrigue and spying, politics and rebellion. I got plenty of that in this book, with its own flavor to distance it from the WINNER Trilogy but retaining the comparison as well.
This was a fun and intriguing fantasy, if a little forgettable in the character department (other than the MC). The love interests are pretty bland, the side characters pretty standard high fantasy fair, and the big bad scary but lacking depth. Despite all that the story still manages to pull out all the stops and give me an entertaining ride. I can’t really ask for more than that.
I recommend this book for all the YA high fantasy fans out there. I’m sure this is right up your alley.
What’s your favorite story of oppression and rebellion? Share in the comments.
From my shelf to yours,