25 June, 2018

{ ARC Review } Kingdom of Ash and Soot by C.S. Johnson

about the book }

Kingdom of Ash and Soot by C.S. Johnson
The Order of the Crystal Dagers, book 1
Publishes July 3, 2018 by Prodigy Gold Books
e-ARC provided by the author
PRAGUE, 1870.

For the last ten years, nineteen-year-old Eleanora Svobodová has worked as a servant in her stepmother's household. Along with her older brother, she dreams of the day they will be free to live life on their own terms.

But everything changes when their estranged grandmother comes to Prague on behalf of Queen Victoria. Throughout Bohemia, a string of murders and secret whispers hint at a larger coup. As the leader of the Order of the Crystal Daggers, an ancient order of spies and soldiers that protect kingdoms and their rulers, Lady Penelope is determined to mete out the perpetrators. Now, Eleanora must make the choice between a life of intrigue and saving the lives of others.

Can Eleanora find a way do the right thing and still find freedom?

With a fun blend of historical fiction, true love, castle intrigue, and family dysfunction, The Order of the Crystal Daggers is the latest adventure series from C. S. Johnson.


my review }

♫ ♫ ♫ ♪

I’d be lying if I said the cover wasn’t my main reason for wanting to pick up this book. But after reading the synopsis, I got some interesting Cinderella vibes, and, well. 

I was sold.

Kingdom is not a retelling. It has some elements, definitely—an Ella working as a servant in her own home after her father passes, dancing amongst the elite, things like that. But it’s definitely not a retelling. Despite that, I was intrigued by the time period and the setting of the book. Prague! In 1870! With that and the addition of a secret organisation and deadly plots, Kingdom of Ash and Soot had a lot going for it.

Only. Only it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Because in the end, I was bored. There wasn’t nearly as much action I wanted, I wasn’t sucked into Eleanora’s world, and I just… felt this odd detachment from everything. Johnson’s writing was really good, too! Despite that, I just wasn’t feeling this book. It definitely felt like an introduction to the world kind of book, which just kinda left my eyes glazed over.

… I also wasn’t a fan of the romance. I was hoping for the attraction to build up, kind of in a slow burn. Really, I just wanted more development before anything happened!

Overall, Kingdom of Ash and Soot was an okay start, if sort of unmemorable, start to a new series. While it had some interesting parts, it unfortunately fell flat for me. I am excited to see where book 2 takes Eleanora, though! So, 3.5 stars.


buy the book }

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