Young Adult Annotation - Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian
Ash Princess trilogy #1


When Theo was just 6 years old, her country was invaded, her mother, the queen, murdered in front of her, and her entire life changed. Now, 10 years later, Theo's spirit is nearly broken. Living in her rightful home alongside the people who destroyed her world, Theo has resorted only to surviving, appeasing the kaiser to avoid trouble. That is, until the day the kaiser forces her to kill someone important from her former life. With that act, the fire is lit in Theo's heart. She joins the rebels in their mission to take down the kaiser, plotting to seduce and betray the prinz. Even so, at each step, it feels as if the kaiser and his reach is ahead of Theo with every move. With the biggest risk yet to take, Theo wonders if their work will be worth the sacrifice.

Characteristics of young adult fantasy:

  • Detailed setting depicts another world: Theo's world is largely unspecific in terms of location or world, other than knowing it's an island that has been invaded by a foreign, mostly nomadic country. However, her island's religious base, exports, and culture are highly detailed. 
  • Magic frames the story: Theo's country sees themselves as blessed by their gods for their ability to mine stones that grant those who can wield the power advanced abilities, including things like the ability to control fire and cast illusions.
  • Story lines feature Good vs Evil: The country was taken over by a foreign invader 10 years before the start of the story, killing Theo's mother and most of those who could control the abilities granted by the stones. The invading kaiser has subjugated most of Theo's people, and Theo herself has been redubbed the Ash Princess. He tortures her when her people rise up, and forces her to wear an ash crown at events. 
  • Melancholy tone pervades: While Theo fights and hopes for her and her country's future, the kaiser has her country by the throat, seemingly ahead of every step she and her people can take.
  • Likeable, young main character with issues that do not devalue the problems teenagers face: Theo is the rightful queen of her country, and though she's only 16, she's looked to by her people to lead them away from their oppressors. She has survived the last 10 years under the kaiser, and she's willing to rise up. 
(First 4 characteristics are from the fantasy chapter, and the last is from this week's posting.)

The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Court of Fives by Kate Elliott
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson


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  2. Rachel, I loved your reading profile from back in January especially your top 12 YA books that you read in 2017. (Okay, so I've only read 1...I clearly need to get cracking.) I would assume then, that you'd have to pick this genre for this week's assignment! The characteristics of YA fantasy are very nicely articulated. You make wonderful and specific supporting points for each. You also have chosen a generous selection of readalikes.

    Please forgive me for saying this because I am a crummy blogger and I have no right to give anyone's blog style points. Yours is gorgeously presented...but...for old eyes like mine, white on dark brown (it is dark brown, right?) on a computer screen is read. Please, again, it's not a criticism as much as it is a comment. You're doing great work here! It's just an observation from someone closer to 60 than 30! Thanks!

    P.S. I deleted my original post so that I could edit it a bit for typos. I don't think there's a way to do that without deleting! (Told you I was a crummy

    1. Hi Cristi!

      Yeahhh, I'd say it was an easy week for me! I had the hardest time picking what to annotate--since YA is most of what I read, I didn't have to pick a special book and make the time for it! And those readalikes were my favorite part! I normally have to use Novelist for some help with those, but because this book was so much like so many of my favorites, I had a hard time limiting myself!

      And no worries! I haven't messed with the theme here at all, just used it how it came when I picked it, so you're certainly not going to offend me! I'm just partial to the dark background. :)

  3. Fantastic annotation! This is a YA series I'm not familiar with , but you did an excellent job on this summary and characteristics. Full points!


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