“We are not defined by the things we do in order to survive. We do not apologize for them,’ she says quietly, eyes never leaving mine. ‘Maybe they have broken you, but you are a sharper weapon because of it. And it is time to strike.”
Rating: 3/5 stars
Format: Audiobook & e-Book
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.
This reads like a fantasy book we’ve all read a thousand times before, except this one is a lot darker. From the reviews I saw floating around Goodreads I do have to admit that I thought this would be darker, but it was still dark enough to keep me entertained. Otherwise I’m not sure how much I really would have liked this.
Our MC, Theo, is tortured and punished pretty much everyday and then dressed up to remind her of the princess she once was but will never be. Her punishments are basically to remind her people to stay in line or for any wrongdoings her people may have done. Her mother was killed in front of her when she was young, her country taken over, and now Theo must survive. So yeah, it’s pretty dark, but that’s all where it kind of ends too. We get these dark explanations of her mother being killed and the country being taken off but that’s kind of it.
What I liked
- World building was A+ worthy. I loved that this book took the time to build both of Theo’s worlds, new and old. I loved that it included Theo’s old language which is now forbidden. World building that is mapped out that well always earns a spot in my heart
- The darkness was the light of this book, had this book not had such a gritty backstory it would have been definitely been a snoozefest for me
- Theo’s battle with good vs. evil. I loved that Theo tried to be a good person, but really deep down still had a rage and fire that burns. I liked that she struggled with her friendships, it made her feel more real. I hope we see more of it in the next book and honestly, I hope she starts killing people left and right
- The magic in this book was pretty cool and I can’t wait to see how it will progress in the next book
What I didn’t like
- Love triangles are always a NO in my book. I don’t care how well they are written because I hate that someone always ends up getting stringed along, so yeah not a fan
- This was extremely predictable and I feel if you read a lot of fantasy books you’ll probably feel the same way
- Theo and Cress’ “friendship” really pissed me off. I hate how Cress treated Theo like a pet, and I hate how Theo even entertained the idea of being friends with Cress, since Cress’ father was the one who killed Theo’s mother. Like if that were me, Cress and her father’s throat would have been slit by the end of chapter one #notevensorry
- There really wasn’t too much action in this, will it be in book 2? I hope so. But this was mainly just dialogue, inner turmoil, and roaming the same halls over and over again. I need action damnit
“Is it better to have your life ended by someone who hates you or someone who loves you?”
“I am a hurricane barely contained in skin.”
“It’s safer to live only in the present, to be a girl with no past to yearn for and no future to have ripped away.”
“I was a princess made of ashes; there is nothing left of me to burn.
Now it’s time for a queen to rise.”
All in all, while this one was rather predicable for me, I do still plan on picking up the second book at some point but it’s really not a high priority for me on my TBR.
Until next time,