I'd like to thank the lovely folks at Delacorte Books for sending me a copy of ASH PRINCESS and for letting me take part in the blog tour for this new fantasy! Keep reading for more about this one and my review!
Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Queen of Flame and Fury, was murdered before her eyes. Ten years later, Theo has learned to survive under the relentless abuse of the Kaiser and his court as the ridiculed “Ash Princess.” Pretending to be empty-headed and naive when she's not enduring brutal whippings, she pushes down all other thoughts but one: Keep the Kaiser happy and he will keep you safe.
When the Kaiser forces her to execute her last hope of rescue, Theo can't keep her feelings and memories pushed down any longer. She vows revenge, throwing herself into a plot to seduce and murder the Kaiser's warrior son with the help of a group of magically gifted and volatile rebels. But Theo doesn't expect to develop feelings for the Prinz. Or for her rebel allies to challenge her friendship with the one person who's been kind to her throughout the last hopeless decade: her heart's sister, Cress.
Cornered into impossible choices and unable to trust even those who are on her side, Theo will have to decide how far she's willing to go to save her people and how much of herself she's willing to sacrifice to become queen.
While I found the premise of ASH PRINCESS to be exciting, if not wholly original, in the end this one fell flat for me.
That's not to say that it didn't have redeeming qualities. The magic system and use of stones was really intriguing. Again, not wholly original, but I really liked that aspect of the story. It's also a really fast read, so I'd highly recommend it for a fantasy-lover who doesn't have a lot of free time.
Ash Princess does have issues, for me, though. It was very trope heavy, which in itself isn't necessarily negative. I happen to love rebel princesses and love triangles. This time around though, the tropes just didn't do it for me. I feel like a lot of the problem stemmed from the characters, which I didn't feel were dimensional enough to carry a story like this. I needed the characters to be strong enough, unique enough to carry the story, to make the over-used tropes less obvious. That didn't happen, unfortunately.
While I may have not enjoyed ASH PRINCESS as much as I'd hoped to, I do think other YA fantasy lovers should give it a try. It does have a main heroine who uses her mind and not brute strength, which is a thing I wish we could see more of in books, and I think that will appeal to a lot of young readers. It's a fast, easy read, with overall fantasy appeal, that might not be the right fit for the more nitpicky of readers.