Thursday, September 23, 2021

A Kingdom of Ashes by Rhiannon Thomas


This is the ending that Daenerys Targaryen deserved.

People feared her, towards the end. A girl who could talk to naure and make the land welcome them was sweet, useful. A woman with those powers, bold and fearless and unbowed by anything, was something else (90).

A WICKED THING blasted all of my expectations out of the water and then exceeded them with KINGDOM OF ASHES. It is a messy, beautiful story of a princess who wakes up after a hundred years of sleep to find out that everything she knew about the world is a lie. Worse; the prince who rescued her is part of a family that plans to use her to solidify their own rule and are willing to pay the cost in blood.

If the first book was about a princess, this book is about a queen. In A WICKED THING, I thought the book was gearing up for a love square, but that wasn't the case at all. The bulk of the story is about Aurora gaining agency, and in this book, she becomes a motherfucking sorceress who has a mysterious bond with dragons. Um, YAAAAASSSS.

I am honestly so shocked that this series has such low ratings, because it's basically EVERYTHING people claim to want in YA. There's a tauntingly attractive prince, fire magic, deadly dragons, daring escapes, strong women (good, bad, and morally gray), friendship, character development, and more. The writing is gorgeous and exactly what you would want in a fairytale retelling, and Thomas doesn't dumb down the story at all, so adults would enjoy this book just as much as children.

So often, I start a series with a great premise only to find the sequel disappointing, but this duology is self-contained perfection. I blew through them both in a couple days and finished this book feeling incredibly satisfied. If more YA fantasy were written like this, I'd read a ton more YA fantasy.

4 to 4.5 out of 5 stars

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