After escaping the clutches of the Kalovaxians, Theo must now find allies in order to help her take back her country and her throne. However, she may have to sacrifice more than she wants.
Spoiler Free Review:
So, I actually did a review for this book when I read it last year, which you can find here, but I wanted to add more to it. As with Ash Princess, I enjoyed this much more the second time! Everything made more sense because I actually remembered who the characters were.
I grew to love Theo even more in this book. She struggles with so many things internally, but what I found the most interesting was how she felt about the Kalovaxians, specifically Soren and Cress.
Soren is the son of the Kaiser, the man responsible for imprisoning and torturing her for 10 years, but Soren always went out of his way to be kind to her. He did some questionable things at the end of the first book, which he very obviously regrets, but it makes it difficult for Theo to figure out how exactly she feels about him.
Then there is Cress. Cress was Theo’s only friend, but in order to get away, she had to betray her. Cress shows her true colors and swears to get revenge on Theo. Even after all this, she still cares for Cress because of their history together, but she can’t fully hate her, even though she is doing terrible things.
One of my absolute favorite things about this book is the element of found family. Theo has almost no blood relatives left, so she makes her own family. It is made of up of Theo, Artemisia, Heron, Blaise, Soren, and later on, Erik. I didn’t mention most of these characters in my review for Ash Princess because this book is where they really shine.
Art is Theo’s cousin, but she is very prickly and tough. I adored seeing them slowly open up to each other and learn to trust one another. Heron is a healer and an absolute cinnamon roll. Blaise is Theo’s childhood friend and one of her love interests. These three have magic and where imprisoned in mines before escaping.
He looks at me like I’m his favorite book, one he’s read every page too many times. One whose secrets he’s uncovered but he keeps coming back for more anyway.-pg. 418
Soren is the other love interest and my favorite character besides Theo. He is always trying to be a better person, whether it is by making up for past mistakes or working to become better than his upbringing.
There is one scene in particular where everyone is hanging out together, drinking and goofing around like the teenagers they are. They are always so focused on their goal that they don’t have time to act their age, but seeing them let loose a little and bond with each other totally warmed my heart.
This book definitely had a different tone and vibe than this first one, but I still loved it. I think this book solidified for me that the characters and relationships are what makes this series an absolute favorite of mine!