Ember Queen

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Mar 2020

Member Reviews

Thank you to Delacorte Press and NetGalley & Edelweiss for the E-arc copy of Ember Queen.
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Laura Sebastian brings a slick, fantasy finale to her trilogy. Theodosia has developed into a force to be reckoned with in this conclusion. It is a dark, power filled adventure of the journey of one young woman from victim to heir. A dazzling conclusion that will having you missing this series as soon as you close the book.
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Ember Queen is the third and final book in the Ash Princess Trilogy by Laura Sebastian.  Building on the momentum from the second book, Lady Smoke, Queen Theodosia's army continues to grow and will soon threaten the reign of the ursurper Kalovaxians.  Theo's childhood friend, the ursurper queen,  possesses immense magic which can destroy entire military installations.  However, her magic has also destroyed her life and her mind.  Theo must come to grips with her own power while she and her forces contain and destroy the Kalovaxian grip on her queendom.  I found this third book to be a very satisfying completion of the Ash Princess Trilogy!
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Well, it's the final book in the series and it was definitely an interesting ride. When I first read "Ash Princess", I was taken in by the concept and the character of Theodosia, who was held captive and tortured by the conqueror of her country, Astrea. The series was obviously influenced by the Roman Empire and its expansion, which stretched far and effectively acculturated diverse cultures. Theodosia's story is told through the eyes of the conquered, who is fighting for control of her homeland and in this final book she rises above her oppressors. 

"Ember Queen" starts after the negotiations with Cress, and Theodosia's eventual descent into the mines. She emerges and does not remember what transpired during her venture into the dark depths. However, her power has increased and as a result, she is forced to hone her capabilities for the upcoming battle with Cress. The first half of the book details her political campaign against Kalovaxians, who outnumber her forces. It also deals with the connection between Theodosia and Cress, who are able to communicate in their dreams. This, of course, becomes extremely problematic later, but it also shows us what Cress' plans and the emotional conflict of both characters. 

For the most part, the book deals with strategic war planning and Theodosia taking action against Cress' attempts to outmaneuver her politically. There is a lot of dialogue about the final battle, planning for different outcomes and interacting with different people and places to gauge their support that takes up the majority of the book. Eventually, Theodosia is also able to acquire Soren through some careful negotiation and use of illusions. All in all, the book is leading up to the battle between Theodosia and Cress for the throne of Astrea.

As I said in the introduction, I was very taken with the concept of this series. There are a lot of young adult novels set in a Roman Empire-esque world, but either they do not consider the indigenous voice or it fails to really delve into the subsequent effects of cultural imperialism. The first book did this by exploring the power of names—Theodosia was renamed Thora— and her power was stripped from her; she was no longer the daughter of a queen, but a mere captive-raised from birth. She had a complicated relationship with Cress, who was kind to her but also the daughter of someone, who oppressed her. The story was always about Theodosia and Cress, but I felt like the author missed a beat. This book dealt with some heavy themes, but important ones that were over time became overshadowed by more typical YA storylines as well as the focus on strategy. Overall, I wish this book had really considered those themes as it ended, maybe given Cress a perspective (and avoid the whole dream thing) and it would have made the ending of this book feel really powerful because it was character-driven and not a whole mess of details.
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The conclusion to “Ash Princess” was done quite well. Honestly, pieces of the trilogy which bothered me throughout were resolved and/or explained in satisfying and enjoyable ways. Sebastian kept a consistent pace of action and romance with just enough friendly banter to keep things interesting. A fun and, although predictable, very satisfying fantasy.
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This book was received as an ARC from Random House Children's - Delacorte Press in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

A sister taken hostage with an evil power and the power of strength and good must stop her from overtaking the prince and destroying everything that comes in her way.  This book reminded me a lot of the Red Queen series due to the powerful conflict that was chosen for a young girl and the predicament her family has to endeavor to not only save her but the kingdom from the forces of evil. Each page and each chapter was more exciting than the next and just when you think you figured it all out, another twist comes and the story takes a whole new turn. I could not put this book down and had to find out if Theo saves her sister, the prince and the kingdom. You will not be disappointed from this book and I know this will be a great candidate for our next teen book club.

We will consider adding this title to our YFiction collection at the library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
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I received this free eARC novel from NetGalley.  This is my honest review. 

This was a pretty decent ending to the series.  I do have to say that I just really didn't get completely vested into the storyline, which was a letdown for me.  Maybe I had too high of expectations?  I'm not sure.  Theo did progressively get to be a solid character, who finally found her wants and needs and strived to achieve them, so I'm proud of her, but I just really didn't connect with the story or the characters as much as I wanted to overall. 

A lot of characters died in this trilogy, but one in particular was hard to face.  I seriously wished it didn't happen, but I do understand that there was a war, and when all of the main characters survive, it's not very realistic.  War is something that many have to be sacrificed in order to create a better future.  

I'm very glad I got the chance to read this eARC novel and this trilogy.  I know there will be tons of fans out there who will adore this ending, even if it wasn't for me in the end.
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