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Ash Princess
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Ash Princess
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The first book in the New York Times bestselling series "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...
The first book in the New York Times bestselling series "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...
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  • The first book in the New York Times bestselling series "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

Excerpts-

  • From the cover “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...

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. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling Ash Princess series: Ash Princess, Lady Smoke and Ember Queen. To learn more about Laura and her book, follow @sebastian_lk on Twitter.

Reviews-

  • 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.

  • AudioFile Magazine Saskia Maarleveld narrates this epic fantasy of conquest and revenge with just the right sense of grandeur. Theodosia, princess of Astrea, has been a captive since the Kalovaxians overran her country and murdered her mother. Though she appears broken and submissive, Theo is on the lookout for an opportunity to strike back. Maarleveld does a masterful job with Theo, who is by turns clever, charming, paralyzed by fear, and full of rage. The interplay of these feelings is enhanced by a narration that turns on a dime as the story dictates. She also creates a whole range of consistent accents to represent the people of many kingdoms who inhabit this elaborately constructed world. N.M. � AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine

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