Author: Laura Sebastian
Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld
Audiobook Length: 13 hours 19 minutes
The thrilling conclusion to 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.
Ember Queen is the third and final novel in the Ash Princess trilogy. As this is a continuous series, it is best to read the stories in order as this novel and this review will spoil elements from the first two novels. The story continues with Princess Theodosia (Theo) who was a prisoner in her country of Astrea for a decade after it was overtaken by the Kaiser and his army. Through events in the previous installments, Theo has escaped and is building an army of her own to reclaim her throne. The original Kaiser has fallen and a new Kaiserin has claimed power, so Theo must now defeat this enemy. The new Kaiserin also has magic and power that is mysterious and growing stronger every day, which adds a new level of tension to the story.
Since I completed this series on audiobook, I did miss the maps that are included in the print editions. I think this would have helped me visualize everything a little more, so I may have to check them out in the future just to see a representation of the world. The story continues to be told through Theo’s perspective, so the reader sees and experiences everything through her eyes. I both like and dislike this style as it is nice to follow along with the main character, but it does mean there is typically less exploration of the world. The romance angle in this story went in a different direction than I expected, as it was not Theo’s main priority. There were many context clues through the series for both the romance and the characters’ fates, so nothing came as a complete shock by the time I reached the ending. The main part that I wish was improved upon, at least a little, would be the final battle. It felt too short and not as spectacular as I expected based on the build-up. While it was not terrible, I just wish it were expanded on a little more.
Overall, I thought this series would make a great duology based on the first two novels, but now I think the trilogy was the right way to go; I would have liked some of the events in this story to be moved to the second and expand on the final battle more in the third. The tension between Theo and the enemy was extremely well done where there are moments of vulnerability and mixed with hatred. It is a nicely done roller coaster as the two interact. I enjoyed the character growth, as they all were not the same characters that were introduced at the beginning of the series. While each novel in the series had its pros and cons, it was an enjoyable and entertaining series. As this is my fourth novel by Laura Sebastian, I cannot wait to read more from her in the future.