Sunday, February 18, 2018

Let's Talk: "Ash Princess" by Laura Sebastian Book Review

Title: Ash Princess
Author: Laura Sebastian
Series: "Ash Princess Trilogy" #1
Genre: YA High Fantasy
Page Length: 432 pages
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Date Started: February 13, 2018
Date Finished: February 17, 2018
Rating: 4/5 stars

*Spoiler-Free Review*

Disclaimer: I was sent an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

I would like to start off by giving a trigger warning to readers. This book contains abuse, mentions of abuse, hints at sexual assault, psychological manipulation, mentions of suicide, and more in pretty graphic ways. Please read responsibly. 

Wow was this book a ride. I have so many different thoughts and feelings that I want to discuss about this book that I don't even know where to begin. This book was so interesting. Overall, I quite enjoyed the book and the last half of it kept me reading until 2 am when I should have been sleeping to prepare for a big day of travel. However, I simply couldn't put it down. It was such a page-turner.

This book hits a lot of YA tropes such as captured princess, hopeless rebellion, love triangles, and many others. However, it's still a pretty unique book that brings a lot of original content in to mix well with the tropes.

This book was dark. There were a lot of triggers in this book, which I included a warning about at the beginning of this post. Personally, I do feel like the graphic way that these scenes were written does add to the story and is mostly realistic to if this type of world was our own. However, because of all the triggering themes and seemingly hopeless plight, this book was dark. I do think that it works for this book and makes the reader connect more with the main character and her aspirations.

The first 30% or so wasn't boring, but it wasn't fast-paced. Good books have good pacing, and I'd say that this book had pretty good pacing for the most part. However, I wasn't sitting in class yearning to have the book out because I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. I think that I definitely enjoyed the book a lot more the farther on in the story I went. I encourage all readers who aren't feeling it in the first few chapters to power through because the story gets really good.

At times I felt like there was too much narration and I ended up skimming most of those parts simply because of the repetition. This, and the first 30% that I wasn't loving or hating, is what dropped this book down to 4 stars for me. I do feel that narration is important in writing, but there was a lot of the main character going back and forth in her head for three or more pages. I felt like a lot of it could have been cut out to allow other scenes or conversations in.

There wasn't much world building, but I was completely okay with that because we don't need to know about the entire world yet. We got the information we needed but the author didn't overload us with info dumps about geography and different areas of the world, which I was glad about. Since the story was mostly focused inside the palace on things such as politics, scheming, and romance, I don't think that we needed world building in this installment.

I liked the characters, except for the Kaiser. I absolutely hated him, but that was the goal. Does that mean he was a well written character? He is obviously a psychopath and I really, truly despise him. Rarely do I hate an antagonist as much as I do, but this is one of them. He's a real piece of garbage.

Theo was a good main character. She was strong and, in my mind, realistic. I know that some reviews I've read have painted her negatively for not being strong or perfect enough and others have said she's the best main character ever, but I think she falls somewhere between the two. In real life, everything is not black and white as many decisions YA characters make seem to be written. Her struggles with what to do, when to act, who to pretend to be are completely realistic in my mind. I am excited to read more about her in the next book.

I think I am going to end the review there before I accidentally let a spoiler slip. My advice is definitely to give this book a good read-through. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm excited for the next installment that I have to wait over a year for (insert crying emoji here).


Thanks for reading!


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