Author: Laura Sebastian
Series: Ash Princess #1
Published: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 432
From: Barnes and Noble
Rating: 7/10

Ash Princess is a novel similar to many novels out there, and it is also unlike them all. This is a novel about Thora, but it is also about Theo, and Theodosia, and all the selves of this woman combined. Thora is a young woman who lives in the palace of the Kalovaxians, being beat by the king and suffering severe emotional abuse as well. But Thora, as everyone knows, is really Theodosia, the true Queen of Astrea, the country that the Kalovaxians invaded when she was a small child. And so Theodosia must suffer as Thora, being forced to do things she does not want to do, things no human should ever do, all while the revolution begins stirring in her mind.

This is American author Laura Sebastian’s debut novel, and it is a doozy. She writes mental health spot on, and manages to give us a young woman who has gone through so much and still isn’t entirely broken.

I thought Sebastian did an excellent job plotting this story. The arc for Theo’s revolution is spaced very nicely, with all the events happening with the perfect amount of pages so that nothing happened too slowly or too quickly. We always see how Theo’s mind is cracked, through the words she says or the things she endures or the actions she takes to avoid enduring even more pain. The only negative that I found, really, besides it being slightly predictable in the first three-quarters, is how often Theo brings up her mother’s death. My goal is not to sound callous, though it may seem like I am. I mean in the way it is worded, always mentioning her mother’s throat being slit while she watched. Arguably, it is the catalyst for the entire story and the entirety of Theo’s being, being the most traumatic thing a child could possibly endure. I think it just felt overused in the sense that the author wrote it many times in very similar ways, and by doing so, I feel like the words begin to lose their meaning and impact faster than they would have normally.

My reading of Ash Princess is a buddy read with my friend Nav (Instagram handle: @navigatingthroughthepages), and we shall begin Lady Smoke in the very near future. I am excited to see where Sebastian takes this story, with the cliffhanger she left us with in Ash Princess. I am also thoroughly excited to see the other novels Sebastian churns out for her readers, if this is how her debut as an author has bloomed.

To check out Reading with Rendz’s review of Ash Princess, click here, and for Happy Indulgence’s review, click here.

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