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?
*Thanks again to Prodigy Gold Books for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
The first half of „Kingdom of Ash and Soot“ was absolutely amazing and I was so invested in the story, I couldn’t put the book down anymore. Back in high school, I always hated history classes but ever since passing my a-levels and leaving school, I’ve become more and more interested in history and have also found out that I actually really enjoy reading historical fiction. As a European, I of course am particularly interested in European history and so the fact that this book was set in Prague back in 1870 made it even more interesting to me.
An important part of every story certainly are the characters and I really liked them. Eleanora, the female protagonist, was a little annoying sometimes, especially towards the end of the novel, but I still liked her. But my favorite character was definitely Ferdy, one of Eleanora’s love interests, who was funny and interesting and stole my heart quite quickly.
Another very positive thing about this book was C.S. Johnson’s writing style. “Kingdom of Ash and Soot” was very well written and you could clearly see that she already has quite a lot of experience when it comes to writing books and I’m definitely interested in checking out some of her other work now.
But even though the first half of the book was definitely worth five stars, the story kind of lost its momentum after the half-way point and I began losing interest in it. I started struggling with trying to understand what exactly the Order of the Crystal Daggers was trying to do in Prague and how everything was interconnected. There were a lot of different characters mentioned when the order began trying to figure out why and how so many people had been murdered and I quite quickly lost track of who is who and what kind of role they played in Prague or Europe in general back then which sadly tarnished my reading experience.
All in all, this book started out strong but then lost its momentum and so I decided to give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. I do not yet know if I’m going to read the next part of the series even though the book ended with a very interesting twist and a freaking cliffhanger. But I think the next book hasn’t even been announced yet, so I still have some time to figure out if I’m actually interested in finding out what happens next or if it’s just a momentary thing.