Ember Queen by Laura Sebastian

Ember Queen (Ash Princess Trilogy #3)
Author: Laura Sebastia
Publisher: Delacorte Books For Young Readers
Release Date: February 4th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Fiction, High Fantasy, Science Fiction, Magic, Epic Fantasy

The thrilling conclusion to the series that began with the instant New York Times bestseller “made for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Sabaa Tahir” (Bustle), Ember Queen is an epic fantasy about a throne cruelly stolen and a girl who must fight to take it back for her people.

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.

The Kaiserin’s strange power is growing stronger, and with Prinz Søren as her hostage, there is 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.

The Ember Queen is both a bittersweet and sweeping end to this trilogy. I think the strongest thing about this story is the amazing character arcs and how it doesn’t shy away from horrors of war.

I have two character arcs in particular that are my favorites. The story of Theo and Blaise is probably a top one. You might groan and go ugh a love triangle but it’s not that at all. Not really. Theo and Blaise's story from the beginning to the end is such a great exploration of a relationship that can mean different things at different times. It ranges from love, to codependency, to friendship and even at times slight enemies. I loved watching their story and the ending of it was one that made sense.

The other character arc that I found to be amazing was Thora and Cress. There are so many many layers to this deeply flawed friendship. From the very beginning they have a friendship based on situation. I think the first book really explored the complications of that. Of how Thora is a prisoner and her friendship with Cress is a little Stockholm. The thing as Thora was confused about it, I was confused about it. When she escapes and becomes herself, Theo dosia, she leaves Thora behind with Cress. No matter what happens though, I think it’s a part of her that she can never truly shake off. Their ending is also really really fitting and I felt like well done.

Theo has many different roles she has played in her life. Going from Thora to finding herself again and taking up her moniker as Queen Theodosia. What I think is her true form though is Theo. The girl who was broken and put back together and loves her friends fiercely. Who thought she would never trust again but finds that not everyone in the world is cruel. She has to make the hard decisions as Queen Theodosia and she has to live with those decisions as Theo. I really loved her character and seeing her change. Her own story arc is very much entwined with the characters around her but definitely stands out on her own.

Again there are so many character arcs I could talk about but I think those are just my top three. Yes, Soren, Art, Eric, Dragonsbane and Heron are also important ones that really drive the plot as well. This review would be fifty pages if I kept going.

The plot has gone from a spark in Ash Princess to quite the intensive war in Ember Queen. I read Lady Smoke and Ember Queen one right after the other and I almost can’t imagine doing it any other way. The two books flow so perfectly from one to the other that I almost can’t find the seam. I don’t doubt if I read the whole trilogy that way it would be the same. Nothing is held back in the war, not casualties and not brutalities. It’s heartbreaking to see the things that people have to endure but also that is the way of war. It’s not pretty and it’s not pretty in the story. There are victories and losses and things you hate to see happen. I really liked the plot there was only one thing that I wasn’t the biggest fan of. It was the introduction of a weapon that I didn’t think was needed and felt too out of place. There is so much and it’s so well excuted, fast paced and interesting.

I really loved this trilogy and I would recommend it to anyone. The characters development is just so great. I can’t say enough about it.

Laura Sebastian was born and raised in South Florida (the Redlands and Key Largo) and has always loved telling stories–many apologies to her little brother who often got in trouble because of them. No copies of her first book, a Cinderella retelling about angels circa 2nd grade, remain. Thankfully.

After getting her BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design, she moved to New York City thinking that she would stay for a couple of years before going somewhere better suited for a small-town, sun-loving girl. Five years later, she’s still here and madly in love with it.

When Laura isn’t writing, she’s probably reading, baking cookies or cupcakes, buying more clothes than her overstuffed closet can fit, or forcing her lazy dog Neville to take a walk.

Her debut ASH PRINCESS, the start of a YA fantasy trilogy, will be out April 24th, 2018 from Delacorte (Random House).

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