Sofia’s family had not been noble, but because she was born on a specific day she was to be their future Queen, and their status has risen. Sofia, born to be queen, didn’t feel she was ready for the role, in fact, she didn’t want it. All she had wanted was a normal life, to embrace the spirit of adventure and exploration that had always tore through her veins. But the closer she came to her 18th birthday the more her freedom was restricted. Betrothed to Alex her estranged childhood friend, and trapped in studies, she longs for the life she would have chosen. Fate works in mysterious ways and an old friend returns, taking her into a place she had always feared in order to escape a worse danger, and warn her something was coming, something it falls to her to stop.
The Ashen Queen by Sidney Gray is a gripping fantasy exploring many themes ranging from magic, misunderstandings, fate, and friendship. Sofia, the story’s protagonist is a well developed character with very real emotions, personality, and appropriate reactions and concerns. The characters are vivid and realistic, in fact, there were times I wanted to reach in the pages and slap her mother, she, and some of the other characters, are so well written and explored you will find yourself feeling genuine emotion towards them. This is a slow paced story which focuses on characters and world building before introducing the reader to the main focus of the story, the truth about the banishing and the Ashen, and the coming darkness. It is certainly a good foundation to what looks to be an interesting series.