Ash Princess ★★★☆☆½

32505753A princess kept captive, ready to take back her kingdom, a smart girl lying in wait to snap at her abusers, a hidden power waiting to be unleashed. Theodosia was meant to be all of this, but Ash Princess just fell short.

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.

I wanted to love Ash Princess more than I did. I wanted to root for Theo and see her take her rightful place. But there was just something about this book that fell short.

I loved how dark it was–but there were moments where I just felt hopeless and I wasn’t rooting for the main character, I was waiting for the helplessness to end. I wanted to see Theo rise up, but she often just let things happen to her.

Her emotions were real and I sympathized. But there were too many dark moments and not enough levity to bring a balance to the story.

I also found myself getting bored more often than I wanted to. I read a lot before bed, because it helps me unwind and gets me away from my phone and computer. There are some books I’ve read that have kept me up until 3 AM. But then there were books like Ash Princess that just made my eyelids droopier.

Then there was the unnecessary love triangle. I’m a sucker for love stories, things like friends to lovers or enemies to lovers really tickle my fancy. But the friends to lover trope made Ash Princess suffer. Blaise was a childhood friend of Theo’s, from before the conquering Kalovaxians’ arrival, and the way he treated Theo just rubbed me the wrong way.

Maybe some people would love Ash Princess but it just wasn’t for me.

Ash Princess
Amazon Barnes&Noble . BooksAMillion

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By J. M. Tuckerman

J.M.Tuckerman is a neurodivergent writer with a big education. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, an MA in Writing, and a BA in Writing Arts (specializing in Creative Writing, New Media Writing, and Publication; concentrating in New Media Production), which she somehow managed to earn despite her three very loud and large dogs. Jessica was lucky enough to intern at Quirk Books and Picador, USA while earning her master’s degrees. Her service dog, Ringo, is very proud of all that she has accomplished and hopes to be on a back cover of a published book with her very soon. An avid reader, writer, and lover of young adult and middle-grade literature, Jessica’s bookshelf is overflowing with hardbacks, paperbacks, and a million half-filled notebooks. She is a proud fur-mommy to two lab/st-bernard littermates, a retriever-mix service dog, and one orange little hobgoblin cat, all of whom have made very audible appearances on the Booked All Night podcast.