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Ash Princess
Cover of Ash Princess
Ash Princess
Borrow
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
"Made for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Sabaa Tahir" (Bustle), Ash Princess is an epic new fantasy about a throne cruelly stolen and a girl who must fight to take it back for her people.

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.
"Sure to be one of the summer's most talked about YAs. . . . A darkly enchanting page-turner you won't be able to put down."-Bustle
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
"Made for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Sabaa Tahir" (Bustle), Ash Princess is an epic new fantasy about a throne cruelly stolen and a girl who must fight to take it back for her people.

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.
"Sure to be one of the summer's most talked about YAs. . . . A darkly enchanting page-turner you won't be able to put down."-Bustle
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    840
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    4 - 5

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book "Thora!"
    I turn to see Crescentia barreling toward me down the gilded palace hallway, pink silk skirts lifted as she runs and a broad grin spread across her lovely face.
    Her two maids struggle to keep up with her, their emaciated frames drowning in homespun dresses.
    Don't look at their faces, don't look, I tell myself. Nothing good ever comes of looking, of seeing their dull eyes and hungry mouths. Nothing good ever comes of seeing how much they look like me, with their tawny skin and dark hair. It only makes the voice in my head grow louder. And when the voice grows loud enough to push past my lips, the Kaiser grows angry.
    I will not anger the Kaiser and he will keep me alive. This is the rule I've learned to follow.
    I focus on my friend. Cress makes everything easier. She wears her happiness like the sun's rays, radiating it to warm those around her. She knows I need it more than most, so she doesn't hesitate to fall into step next to me and link our arms tightly.
    She is free with her affection in a way only a few blessed people can be; she has never loved someone and lost them. Her effortless, childlike beauty will stay with her until she is an old woman, all dainty features and wide crystalline eyes that have seen no horrors. Pale blond hair hangs in a long braid pulled over her shoulder, studded with dozens of Spiritgems that wink in the sunlight pouring through the stained-glass windows.
    I can't look at the gems either, but I feel them all the same: a gentle pull beneath my skin, drawing me toward them, offering me their power if I'll only take it. But I won't. I can't. Spiritgems used to be sacred things, before Astrea was conquered by the Kalovaxians.
    The gems came from the caves that ran beneath the four major temples— one for each of the four major gods and goddesses of fire, air, water, and earth. The caves were the center of their powers, so drenched in magic that the gems inside them took on magic of their own. Before the siege, the devout would spend years in the cave of the god or goddess they swore allegiance to. There, they would worship their deity, and if they were worthy, they would be blessed, imbued with their god's or goddess's power. They then used their gifts to serve Astrea and its people as Guardians.
    Back then there weren't many who weren't chosen by the gods— a handful a year, maybe. Those few went mad and died shortly after. It was a risk only the truly devout took. Being a Guardian was a calling— an honor— yet everyone understood what was at stake. That was a lifetime ago. Before.
    After the siege, the Kaiser had the temples destroyed and sent tens of thousands of enslaved Astreans to the caves to mine the gems. Living so close to the power of the gods is no longer a choice people make, but one that is made for them. There is no calling or allegiance sworn, and because of that, most people who are sent to the mines quickly lose their minds and, shortly after, their lives.
    And all that so the wealthy can pay a fortune to cover themselves in gems without even uttering the names of the gods. It's sacrilege to us, but not to the Kalovaxians. They don't believe. And without the blessing of the gods—without the time spent deep in the earth—they can possess only a shadow of a true Guardian's power, no matter how many gems they wear, which is plenty for most of them. The Water Gems in Cress's braid could give a trained Guardian the power to craft an illusion strong enough to create a new face entirely, but for Cress they only lend her skin a glow, her lips and cheeks a pretty flush, her golden hair a shine.
    Beauty Gems, the Kalovaxians call...
About the Author-
  • Laura Sebastian grew up in South Florida and attended Savannah College of Art and Design. She now lives and writes in New York City. Ash Princess is her first novel. To learn more about Laura and her book, follow @sebastian_lk on Twitter.
Reviews-
  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2018

    Gr 7 Up-An Artemisian princess is used as a threat to those who would try to overthrow the Kalovaxians who have taken over Artemisia. The new Kaiser even causes her to change her name from Theodosia to Thora and ingrains in her head that she cannot mention her real name without getting punished. He further disgraces her by calling her the Ash Princess, since she no longer has a country to rule, and makes her wear a crown of ashes that crumbles and stains her clothes. She is punished for any events that the Artemisians plan to get back their country or any incidents that cause the Kaiser to look bad. It is only when the Kaiser causes her to kill her own father that her feelings of quiet acceptance turn into rebellion. The journey through her thoughts and the pressure of high expectations from those supporting her as their queen are ever-present as she starts to find a way to take back the country. Through unexpected allies and daring escape plans, her trip from downtrodden princess to queen is an engaging one that fantasy fans will enjoy. The main characters are well rounded but the supporting cast is somewhat underdeveloped. This might be rectified in the next installments. The relationship between Theo and her closest friend, Cress, also seems somewhat contrived, although it is crucial to the story line. There are some graphic descriptions of the punishments that Theodosia endures, so this novel may not be for the faint of heart. VERDICT Purchase where there are still avid fans of "The Selection" series by Kiera Cass and "The Hunger Games" trilogy by Suzanne Collins.-Lenore Catalano, Hammarskjold Middle School, NJ

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 5, 2018
    Sixteen-year-old Princess Theodosia is a royal prisoner in the Kaiser’s court within the fantasy setting of Astrea—where some have the power of magical abilities channeled through coveted gems. The victim of intense physical and mental abuse (she witnessed her mother being murdered), she believes her people will come to save her. But after being forced to kill a man she believes to be her last hope, the so-called Ash Princess realizes she’ll have to save herself. In a story driven by the strength of its traumatized yet resourceful protagonist, Sebastian weaves together political intrigue, theological questions, and the genocide of an entire race. The princess agrees to stay in her gilded cage to act as a spy for the resistance; her dual purpose provides a window into the complexities of human interaction and emotion, familial tensions, and the false public face that is sometimes required in politics and at court. Theodosia navigates a web of lies and half-truths, culminating in a climactic ending ripe for a sequel. Ages 12–up. Agent: Laura Biagi, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency.

  • Kirkus

    April 15, 2018
    The daughter of a murdered queen plots to take back what is hers.With her country seized and her mother, the Fire Queen of Astrea, murdered by invaders when she was only 6 years old, Theodosia has been a prisoner for 10 years, stripped of her crown, her people enslaved. Theo (renamed Thora by her captors) is at the mercy of the Kaiser--the fearsome ruler of the Kalovaxians--enduring his malicious whims in order to survive. But when the Kaiser forces Theo to execute her own father, survival is no longer good enough, and she finally takes up the mantle of queen to lead her people's rise to resistance in a land saturated in elemental magic. Debut author Sebastian has invigorated some well-worn fantasy tropes (a displaced heir, an underground rebellion, and a love triangle that muddies the distinctions between enemies and allies), delivering a narrative that crackles with political intrigue, powerful and debilitating magic, and the violent mechanisms of colonization even as it leaves sequel-primed gaps. Some details--like Theo's crisis of identity and Hamletian indecision--work well to submerge readers in a turbulent and enthralling plot; others, like racialized descriptions that fall short of actual representation (Atreans are dark-haired and olive-skinned, Kalovaxians are blond and pale-skinned) and the use of magic-induced madness for narrative shock and awe feel lazy and distracting among more nuanced elements."Cinderella" but with genocide and rebel plots. (Fantasy. 14-17)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Virginia Boecker, author of The Witch Hunter series "Tense and imaginative, this story of a diminished yet vengeful princess inciting a rebellion to recapture her rightful place of power strikes a timely chord. Ash Princess is a smart, feminist twist on a traditional tale of a fallen heroine, with plenty of court intrigue, love, and lies to sweeten the deal. Good luck putting this one down."
  • Sarah Porter, author of Vassa in the Night "The story leaps and twists like a swordswoman, and its blade carves the characters anew and divides them against themselves. This searing page-turner is a compelling examination of the complexities of both evil and resistance."
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  • Publisher
    Random House Children's Books
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Laura Sebastian
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