Review – Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian


Title Ash Princess

Author Laura Sebastian

Description from Amazon

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.

Initial Thoughts

I was super excited to start this book when my copy that I order from Amazon arrived (back in February).  I had heard great things about this series and was already excited for the second book, Lady Smoke.  

Cover Art

I have the US cover of this book (grey with a dark red crown) but I like the UK edition (pictured above) so much better.  Both covers feature the titular ash crown won by Theodosia.  I think the contrast between the white background and the dark crown is more dramatic in the UK edition and I like that one better.

Series Value

While I didn’t love this book, I did find the ending captivating enough to keep me hooked on this story.  I would give the series a second chance by reading Lady Smoke.

Something I Wasn’t Crazy About

Non-numeric chapters.  I hated that the chapters were named and not numbered.  I love my numbers.  I like to be able to quantify everything and it bothered me tremendously that I couldn’t mark my progress numerically.

Semi-futuristic names for a non-futuristic setting.  Normally, I like a little contrast in a story, but this felt wrong.  Astrean and Kalovaxian sound like some future world while the technology and world building were on par with about the 1800s.

Favorite Character

Erik — we need more of Erik in the next book.  He was the most underused and underrated character in the book.  He has tons of potential and I need to see more of him.

Final Thoughts

This book took me almost 4 months to read.  I started in February and finished in June.  I literally read over 60 books between picking this up for the first time and finishing it.  I just could not get into the story.

If I had to sum my opinion of this one up, I’d say it’s my #unpopularopinion book.  Everyone else I know seems to love it, but I just didn’t.  Don’t get me wrong, it did have some redeeming qualities, and, it did convince me to read the next book, Lady Smoke.  This book is nowhere near a favorite of mine.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Recommendations for Further Reading

  • Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian — if you liked this book, you should definitely continue with the series.  There will also be a third book, Ember Queen coming out some time in 2020.
  • Mirage by Somaiya Daud — While Mirage is actually a futuristic world, I thought a lot of the same themes found in Ash Princess could be seen in Mirage.  Both main characters feel alone in a palace that is not their own.  They both want to be helpful in starting a rebellion that they believe is justified to help oppressed people.
  • Viper by Bex Hogan — this is another story of a girl suffering at the hands of her captor who is the much-needed spark of rebellion her people need.  Viper is also the beginning of a series.

7 thoughts on “Review – Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

  1. I totally feel the same way. But, then I ask myself, after I read two out of three books, even if the series is not great, should I just read the last one?


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