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Kingdom of Ashes
     

Kingdom of Ashes

3.5 2
by Rhiannon Thomas
 

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The kiss was just the beginning . . . The second book in Rhiannon Thomas’s epic retelling of "Sleeping Beauty" combines adventure, magic, and romance for a sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny.

Aurora was supposed to be her kingdom’s savior. But when she was forced to decide between being loyal to the crown

Overview

The kiss was just the beginning . . . The second book in Rhiannon Thomas’s epic retelling of "Sleeping Beauty" combines adventure, magic, and romance for a sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny.

Aurora was supposed to be her kingdom’s savior. But when she was forced to decide between being loyal to the crown and loyal to her country, she set events in motion that  branded her a traitor.

Now, hunted by the king’s soldiers, Aurora’s only chance of freeing her kingdom from the king’s tyrannical rule is by learning to control her magic. But Aurora’s powers come at a price—one that forces her to leave the only home she’s ever known, one that demands she choose between the man she loves and the people she seeks to protect, and one that will cause her to unravel the mysteries surrounding the curse that was placed on her over a century before . . . and uncover the truth about the destiny she was always meant to fulfill.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA, April 2016 (Vol. 39, No. 1) - Bonnie Kunzel
This sequel to A Wicked Thing (HarperTeen, 2015) continues the not-so-happy-ever-after of Aurora, its Sleeping Beauty protagonist. Awakened in book one by true love’s kiss (she thought), she nevertheless decided to flee before her forced marriage to her Prince Charming, who is accused of treason by his father, brutal King John. She discovers that she has fire magic when his soldiers ambush her. Managing to escape, she encounters Nettle, a spy charged with watching over her by Prince Finnegan of Vanhelm, the dragon kingdom across the sea. He was the one who hinted at her magic, called her “little dragon,” helped her escape the palace, and encouraged her to leave Alyssinia. Needing refuge, she agrees to travel with Nettle to Vanhelm, the Kingdom of Ashes of the title, where she hopes to find out more about her connection to fire and dragons, including the dragon pendant Finnegan gave her, and to Celestine, the witch who cursed her in the first book and now wants something from the awakened princess. This is a most unusual fairy-tale retelling, featuring a proactive princess, a prince whose kiss did not awaken her from the curse, witchcraft, fire-breathing dragons, rebellion, and responsibility. It is the second book in a trilogy, so there is still a lot of story left before Aurora’s ultimate fate is revealed. There is enough backstory in this work of romantic suspense for those who have not read the first book, but readers might want to catch up while waiting for the conclusion to the adventures of Aurora and company. Reviewer: Bonnie Kunzel; Ages 12 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
2015-11-03
This sequel to A Wicked Thing (2015) continues the "Sleeping Beauty" theme but expands it by making the beauty a powerful witch with a connection to dragons. Waking up from her 100-year sleep, Aurora flees the kingdom, as evil King John has put a reward on her head. When she inadvertently burns down a village during her escape, she discovers her fire magic. She arrives in the rival kingdom of Vanhelm and meets Prince Finnegan, who wants to use her magic to defeat the dragons that ravage his kingdom. Having learned to control her magic, she and Finnegan trek out to the region where the dragons fly, and during the trip she realizes she truly does have some kind of connection to the dangerous beasts. A fateful encounter with Celestine, the witch that put her to sleep in the first place, sends her back to her kingdom for a final confrontation with King John. Thomas keeps the focus on Aurora's emotions and her efforts to learn not only what she should do, but on what she really wants. The inevitable romance with Finnegan never threatens to overtake the main narrative. A nicely suspenseful confrontation resolves the book, which, although a sequel, contains enough back story to orient readers unfamiliar with the first. Undemanding medieval-style fantasy entertainment. (Fantasy. 12-18)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062303578
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/24/2017
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
299,457
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

Rhiannon Thomas is an English lit grad from Princeton University. She currently lives in York, England, in the shadow of a thirteenth-century Gothic cathedral. When she isn’t lost in YA fantasy, she writes about feminism and the media on her blog, www.feministfiction.com.

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Kingdom of Ashes 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
StephWard More than 1 year ago
'Kingdom of Ashes' is the second book in an original and truly enchanting young adult fairy tale retelling series about Sleeping Beauty. The original spin that the author puts on the book is the continuation of the story - what happens after Sleeping Beauty wakes up. I'm really loving the fairy tale retelling trend that's going on lately. I adore the different twists and spins authors are putting into the stories - giving them new life and bringing them back into the reader's radar. As soon as I finished reading the first book in the series, I immediately wanted the second novel so I could continue on Aurora's journey. After loving the first installment, I had some really high hopes for this book because it sounded so different from everything else out there. I'm so incredibly glad to report that it not only lived up to my high hopes and expectations, but it far surpassed them. Every aspect of the novel is mesmerizing - the characters, the setting and world the author created, the plot itself, and so much more. I absolutely love the world that the author creates in the book (and series). It pretty much goes along with what the original story says - castles, royalty, kingdoms, etc. - and even the world Aurora wakes up to is incredibly realistic. The author uses a great amount of vivid imagery and detailed descriptions in every little aspect of the book, which makes it really come alive for the reader. I found myself slipping easily back into Aurora's world and didn't come back until the very last words of the book. It was incredibly easy to lose myself alongside Aurora during the story - I could basically see, hear, smell, and feel everything just as she does. Aurora continues to be a fantastic main character for the book. She is a strong, opinionated, and determined woman who must make life-altering decisions and then live with the consequences of her actions. She's easy to identify with and I absolutely loved her right away. I enjoyed watching her character continue to change and grow throughout the book as she faces several difficult decisions and situations. The plot was exactly as advertised and all of the obstacles and problems that Aurora must face and go through - both good and bad. The last thing I want to talk about is the writing style. The author uses the third person point of view in the story, which normally is my least favorite style, because I don't feel as connected to the characters or as deeply involved in the story. However, I was able to connect with Aurora right away, just like in the first novel. I felt like I knew her as a person and, as I mentioned earlier, I could easily slip inside the world the author created. It takes true talent, in my opinion, to be able to transport a reader that deeply into the story, even using first person point of view - but to be able to write it with such clarity and intensity from a third person perspective is astounding. When I found out that the first book in the series was the author's debut, I seriously thought that my mind would explode. There's no way anyone would be able to read either of these books and know the first was a debut. The amount of raw talent and storytelling ability that this author has cannot - and should not - be overlooked. The novel was enchanting, thought provoking & wholly unique (as well as many other things). I absolutely LOVED this book & I can't recommend it highly enough! Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
book_junkee More than 1 year ago
This was much stronger than the first one. It did drag for the first part of it, but then there were dragons and everything was better. Aurora is intriguing in this book. She's got magic and I was kept interested in reading her learn how to control it. Finnegan is as much fun as before, possibly even more, and I loved their scenes together. Did I mention there were dragons? Yeah, there are and they're awesome. Aurora's connection with them may have been the best part of the entire book. The ending was satisfying, but I'm curious if there will be one more story. If there isn't, I'm good. If there is, I will absolutely read it. **Huge thanks to Harper Teen and Edelweiss for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Kingdom of Ashes by Rhiannon Thomas Book Two of the A Wicked Thing series Publisher: HarperTeen Publication Date: February 23, 2016 Rating: 3 stars Source: eARC from Edelweiss Summary (from Goodreads): Asleep for a hundred years, awoken by a kiss, Aurora’s life was supposed to be a fairytale. But since discovering that loyalty to the crown and loyalty to her country are two very different things, Aurora knows she can only dream of happily ever after. Once the enchanted princess, savior of her people, she is now branded a traitor. Aurora is determined to free her home from the king’s tyrannical rule, even if it means traveling across the sea to the kingdom of the handsome and devious Prince Finnegan—someone who seems to know far more about her magic than he should. However, Finnegan’s kingdom has perils of its own, and any help he gives Aurora will come at a price. As Aurora and Finnegan work together to harness her power—something so fiery and dangerous that is as likely to destroy those close to Aurora as it is to save them—she begins to unravel the mysteries surrounding the curse that was placed on her over a century before…and uncover the truth about the destiny she was always meant to fulfill. Brimming with captivating fantasy and life-threatening danger, the sequel to A Wicked Thing takes Sleeping Beauty on an adventure unlike any she’s ever had before. What I Liked: I actually liked this book, but I didn't like SOME things about it. I can't help but compare this book to its predecessor, A Wicked Thing. There were some things that were better addressed in this novel, but other things that were even poorer than in book one. Kingdom of Ashes is the second and final book in this duology - as is noted by the Publishers Weekly Rights Report. Aurora is on the run, hunted by King John, hunted by her own people in Alyssinia. With the help of Nettle, a singer and spy for Vanhelm, Aurora flees to Vanhelm. There, the prince of Vanhelm helps Aurora learn about and practice her magic, which is wildly out of control. Aurora makes a deal with him - help her with her magic, and she'll rid Vanhelm of the dragons that threaten the kingdom. Aurora will learn more than just magic - she'll discover a century of truths and lies about her destiny. Something that really worked for me in this book - Aurora is now less spineless and more, let's say, innovative, than she ever was. She goes to Vanhelm not because she has nowhere else to turn, but because she knows the Prince Finnegan can help her understand her magic. She's much more assertive and commanding in this book, much more decisive. There is a feminist quality to this book, and I was a fan of the growth of Aurora. I also really liked seeing Finnegan grow. One of my complaints from A Wicked Thing was that Finnegan seemed very one-dimensional. That is not the case in this book. We get a lot of personal information about Finnegan, a lot of background knowledge that makes him seem a lot less one-dimensional. I liked seeing him unsure and sad, because usually all we saw from him was charm and flirtation and assurances. I love Finnegan's charm and whatnot! I think he is a wonderful male protagonist. I liked that what I thought was a love triangle in the first book completely disappeared in this book. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)