Young Adult Annotation - 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.
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