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Disenchanted by Brianna Sugalski // Monsters, Banter and adventure through a dark forest

  GOODREADS // AMAZON // BOOK DEPOSITORY Breton princess at the peak of the French Renaissance, Lilac lives prisoner in her parents' castle after a wicked secret is revealed on the eve of her tenth birthday soirée. Years later, her coronation ceremony looms, and between the riotous townsfolk and scheming nobleman bent on snatching the throne, Lilac prepares for the worst... Until a mysterious letter arrives from The Witch of Lupine Grotto, detailing a curious offer to cure her darkness forever. Lilac begrudgingly trades her coronet for a cloak and ventures into the forest Brocéliande in pursuit of the impious enchantress at the edge of town. With only the protection of an inherited dagger—and unsolicited help of the sardonic stranger who inserts himself on her quest—she must traverse Brocèliande and return in time to claim her rightful position as sovereign monarch. This is the story of a cursed princess, A crestfallen killer, The town that wants them to burn, And the witch

Probably A Case of It's not You, It's me - Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian [Review]

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

(A huge thanks to Pan Macmillan India for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.)

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.

Buddy read this book with the awesome Amy @ A Magical World of Words You can find her review HERE.

(This book has physical and psychological abuse. There is one graphic whipping scene and some mentions of rape, brutality and abuse.)
This book had promise. So much promise. And also really wonderful writing but I felt so let down by the plot and character development. Me and Amy both went into this book with so much expectation ‘cause the online book community has been raving about it.

Thora used to be Theodosia, princess of Astrea; that is until the Kalovaxians invade her land and kill her mother. The Kaiser has Theo spared so she can be a trophy. Now they’ve changed her name, her manners and her identity and this story is about how she reclaims some of those things. This could have been GREAT. And the writing indeed is wonderful and some scenes are written so beautifully. But the plot fell flat for me. This could be case of ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ as many seem to love this book? I do think it’s a book I’d have enjoyed back when I’d started to read YA fantasy novels but now I’ve read so many that Ash Princess felt predictable and nothing much succeeded in surprising me.

I found many inconsistencies in some small plot points that I couldn’t quite oversee. And this book had a problem that I’ve found in other YA books too. I know young adults are the main protagonists in these novels but I don’t understand why adults are dumbed down in a way to make the YA gang look better. I’ll explain with a mild spoiler. SPOILER A very powerful Asteran rebel who is amongst the most powerful of them all is unable to do much against the invaders but after his death a group of teenagers are suddenly doing so much including infiltrating the palace and stealing weapons. SPOILER I’m sorry but it just seems so absolutely unbelievable!

Throughout the first half Theo keeps telling us how everything is watched in the palace and how difficult it is to say or do anything without being noticed. She mentions over and over again the brutalities of the palace and how it was impossible to rebel against the Kaiser. But once she decides to fight back against her captors, everything seems to go her way without her seemingly doing anything about it. There are just too many coincidences that help her with her cause. This made it so hard for me to care about her or the other rebels.

“He is a stone, incapable of feeling anything, and I don't like being reminded that he's also human. I don't like to be reminded that we love the same person.”
The romance felt kind of forced and the love triangle unnecessary. I couldn't quite feel attached to either of the love interests or their connection to the main character, Theo. There's the childhood friend she hasn't seen for years and then there is the Prince, the son of her enemy. WHY HASN'T THIS TROPE DIED YET?

But I must say there are some things I enjoyed about the book too. I absolutely enjoyed Cressentia’s character arc and if I ever pick up the sequel, it will be to know what happens to her and what she does. I also enjoyed Artemisia's character and would like to see her taking center stage at some point in the series.

I also enjoyed the beautiful writing. The writing is sp wonderful it doesn’t feel like the debut book of the author. Laura Sebastian writes pretty wonderful romance scenes and I truly enjoyed a particular scene in a boat.

“We are not defined by the things we do in order to survive. We do not apologize for them,’ she says quietly, eyes never leaving mine. 'Maybe they have broken you, but you are a sharper weapon because of it. And it is time to strike.”
The book ends in a kind of cliffhanger with the author revealing something surprising at the end. While it was surprising, it felt unrealistic that this fact hadn’t been revealed throughout the book to Theo.
This is a book with a wonderful premise and a lot of promise but is let down by flat characters and a contrived plot. At the same time, the beautiful writing makes this book a fast and easy read.

Actual Rating - 2.8
Have you read this book? Are you among those who loved it or are you like me who didn't find the book to be as wonderful as the hype says?

View all my reviews