Format: Hardcover, 480 pages
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / Epic
The thrilling conclusion to the New York Times bestselling series “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 anything from her mother, it’s 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.
"This throne is mine, and mine alone, and I am no longer afraid of it."
Ember Queen is the third and final installment in author Laura Sebastian's Ash Princess trilogy. Ten years ago, the Kalovaxian's Kaiser murdered Theodosia Houzzara's mother, The Queen of Fire, and kept Theo around as a sort of hostage. Every time her people acted out; Theo was punished. She was nicknamed the Ash Princess and paraded around like a slave up for bidding. No longer. The Kaiser is dead, Theo is the rightful heir to the Astrean crown, and Theo's former friend Crescentia is now the Kaiserin after trying to poison Theo.
Two weeks ago, Theo went into the fire mine to claim her powers. Theo survived the fire mine and now has powerful abilities. With new abilities come a new name: Queen of Flame and Fury. It's now time to reclaim her throne and her birthright. With a rag tag group of Guardians and slaves, including Heron, Artemisia, Erik of Goraki, Maile of Vecturia Island and Blaise, Theo sets out to take back her country piece by piece from Crescentia, and the Kalovaxian’s while also hoping to rescue S0ren from Cress. Theo develops into a force to be reckoned with in this conclusion.
Underneath her fearsome facade, lies a girl who is terrified of letting her people down and compares herself to her mother's reign. But all it takes is for one thread to be cut and Theo's entire alliance will collapse. It is a dark, power filled adventure of the journey of one young woman from victim to heir. To top it off, Theo and Cress are connected via dreams which makes for an interesting twist. I am going to admit wishing Cress had better role models. Had she had a real father and a mother, I don't she would have gone down this path. The old saying of nature vs nurture is very much in play with Cress.
Growing up in the castle after she was captured as a young girl, Cress befriended the young Theo, despite the fury of her father. Cress believes that Theo is dead so when the two former friends begin connecting through Theo's dreams, Cress believes she's haunting her from the grave, spilling her secrets and plans for her Empire. What's evident is Cress's loneliness. Especially in the end when things are not going as planned. I will admit that the ending was emotional and heart breaking. It is after all a war, and war is hell and bloody and awful.
Artemisia remains one of the strongest allies of Theo. The daughter of the dreaded Dragonsbane, her suffering in the Water Mine is just now being put behind her so she can help her cousin make things right for Astreans. Heron continues to be the voice of reason while Theodosia begins to mend her friendship with Blaise who is dangerously close of losing himself for good. S0ren eventually returns to Theo. He's trying to atone for his sins and although his relationship with Theodosia has been turbulent, he will fight for the freedom of Astrea till the end and beyond.
All in all, not a bad way to wrap up the series.