Ember Queen

See my reviews for Ash Princess and Lady Smoke
Ember Queen
Ash Princess Trilogy Book Three
Written by Laura Sebastian
Fantasy, Political, Romance
480 Pages
Published February 11th 2020
Thank you to Pan Macmillan
Add to Goodreads
★★★★★
Smoke clears
And flames die,
But one burning ember
Can ignite a revolution.

Princess Theodosia was a prisoner in her own country for a decade. Renamed the Ash Princess, she endured relentless abuse and ridicule from the Kaiser and his court. But though she wore a crown of ashes, there is fire in Theo's blood. As the rightful heir to the Astrean crown, it runs in her veins. And if she learned nothing else from her mother, she learned that a Queen never cowers.

Now free, with a misfit army of rebels to back her, Theo must liberate her enslaved people and face a terrifying new enemy: the new Kaiserin. Imbued with a magic no one understands, the Kaiserin is determined to burn down anyone and everything in her way.

With more at stake than ever, Theo must learn to embrace her own power if she has any hope of standing against the girl she once called her heart's sister.
Queen Theodosia Eirene Houzzara is reclaiming Astrea from the Kalovaxian Empire, her homeland, her birthright and the freedom for Astrea from oppression and servitude. Theodosia has returned from the Fire Mine, stoking her ability to bring forth the blaze she needs to defend Crescentia, her former friend and now Kaiserin. The Kaiser slain by his forced bride's hand. Queen Theodosia is amassing her army of guardians and warriors to storm and lay siege to the capital, liberating those taken into slavery at the mines along her journey.

Theodosia is formidable, able to call upon her ability to create and manipulate fire with ease and not unlike Blaise and his own ability, will need to nurture and develop self control to weaponise her gift into something tangible to defeat Crescentia. Underneath her fearsome facade, lies a girl who is terrified of letting her people down and compares herself to her mother's reign. While her mother was known as the Queen of Peace before the siege that decimated her lands and took her country hostage, Theodosia is the Queen of Flame and Fury and will stop at nothing to see her kingdom liberated. Above all else. For the good of Astrea.

Throughout the series we've seen Theodosia blossom, from young girl adorned in her crown of ashes awaiting rescue, to the woman she's become. Her experiences have shaped her character, she's resilient, formidable and can rescue herself. She's the heroine of her own story. Theodosia is leading her misfit army, created from communities of Miners that had been enslaved by the Kalovaxians, their homelands conquered and left to ruin before their oppressors moved to conquer the next colony. Theodosia and her close knit circle of friends and warriors are fighting for those decimated by colonisation, daring to hope that after the war is won, Kingdoms will be rebuilt and the Kalovaxians will no longer reign.

This battle is intensely personal for both Theodosia and Crescentia, the girl who once described her friend as her heart's sister. Growing up in the castle after she was captured as a young girl, Crescentia befriended the young Ash Princess, despite the fury of her father. Crescentia believes that Theodosia is dead so when the two former friends begin connecting through Theodosia's dreams, Crescentia believes she's haunting her from the grave, spilling her secrets and plans for her Empire. What's evident is Crescentia's loneliness.  Her father is dead, her husband is dead and her only friend wants her dead. In Theodosia's absence, Crescentia has been administering the poisoned elixir to ladies formerly of the Kalovaxian in the hope of creating a replacement.

The friendship between Artemisia, daughter of Dragonsbane and Theodosia was one of the highlights of Ember Queen. Artemisia was raised with a stern hand by her mother and in Dragonsbane's world, there was no room for weakness and comfort. Slowly Artemisia's icy facade begins to thaw, sharing with Theodosia her time in the Water Mine, growing up and her thoughts on love. Surprisingly. Heron continues to be the voice of reason while Theodosia begins to mend her friendship with Blaise. And Søren. I like Søren as a character despite the blood on his hands from when he was Prinz under his father's reign. He's atoning for his sins and although his relationship with Theodosia has been turbulent, he will fight for the freedom of Astrea. Sacrificing himself for the cause. Theodosia and Søren seem to work better as friends but having said that, the few intimate scenes between them were gentle and lovely, it brought a softness to the storyline and allowed Theodosia a few moments of peace and hope.

I really enjoyed seeing the discussions taking place in regards to how to rebuild society. With many Kingdoms left to ruin under the Kalovaxian reign and communities displaced, discussion turns to how to deal with Kalovaxian survivors. Continuing to plan the siege to take back her mother's throne, Theodosia will be faced with the prospect of killing Crescentia, unlikely that the now Kaiserin will allow herself to be taken alive. Crescentia may be a dangerous foe but she underestimates the strength of Theodosia and her resilience.

The Ash Princess Trilogy is innovative, imaginative and inspiring. It ignites discussion and explores themes of colonisation, displacement, asylum, gender violence, slavery and equality. It champions diversity. Throughout the Kingdoms are communities of varied languages and ethnicity. Characters of colour and sexualities, both male and female same sex relationships with one character possibly identifying as asexual, although not specifically expressed.

It was glorious. The series is phenomenal and although I'm disappointed to bid farewell to characters I've grown so incredibly fond of, I can't wait to see what Laura Sebastian is working on next. I can't recommend this series highly enough!

4 comments

  1. I love your review, Kelly. I'm just over halfway through this and will definitely be sad to see it come to an end!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such an amazing series, one of my favourite fantasy fusion series in the last few years. Can't wait to see what she's working on next!

      Delete
  2. I love the diversity of this and all those themes it addresses. It's been a while since I read a really good, layered epic fantasy and this sounds like it totally delivers. Sounds awesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's brilliant Greg and it's only cemented my love for fantasy fusion novels. I tend to navigate towards female protagonist narratives that push stereotypes and fight the patriarchy. They're quietly inspirational and fuel the fire.

      Delete

© Diva Booknerd. Design by Fearne.