Kingdom of Ash and Soot
“I want to be free.” The words came rushing out of me before I could think through their implications and consequences.
“There are two things you need to know about yourself if you want to be free—what you stand for, and what you stand against.” Lady Penelope held up her hands, brandishing a pair of daggers that had been hidden in her skirts. “This world lives enslaved to its destruction, and so long as you are living, as long as you are fighting, you will be free.”
I gazed at the daggers, transfixed. Each blade was clothed in a leather scabbard, but the silver and obsidian of the daggers’ hilts winked at me, as though it was calling for me.
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.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Author: C.S. Johnson
Paperback, 352 pages
Published: July 3rd, 2018
Publishing House: Prodigy Gold Books
A beautiful historical setting invites you to a bohemian adventure of a servant girl blossoming to a fierce and dagger-wielding protagonist with a rightful place in society.
Eleanora Svobodová’s father has passed away, and ever since, she and her brother have been serving at the house for her stepmother without question albeit not without dreaming of a free future.
One day, Eleanora is heading into town with two special books from her father’s collection she is going to sell. There, in the streets, she is robbed of one of the books, and in her effort to regain it back, she meets a young man offering her his help and aid. He takes her to an antiquity dealer and from there, an honest friendship develops. Not one without a flutter in the chest, but one that will be tested later for its meaning of truth.
Shortly after, her estranged grandmother Penelope comes to Prague on behalf of Queen Victoria. She is the leader of the Order of the Crystal Daggers, an ancient order of spies and soldiers that protect kingdoms and their rulers. She will be staying in Eleanora’s home and it changes her entire status against the stepmother's will.
There have been several murders around town, and in exposing a larger coup, Eleanora is told that her own mother was part of the Order of the Crystal Daggers, and is asked to help in the uncover. First, Eleanora’s entire wardrobe will be upgraded and dance lessons added. Penelope counts on her youthful beauty to infiltrate the high society and gifts her a dagger that used to be her mothers.
Eleanora is sought out by many of the men in power, but she keeps thinking of the charming young man in the streets. As fate has it, she will meet him again and a beautiful, sweet romance is beginning to bud. But later, everything both of them know of each other will be tested. With a job to finish in exposing the perpetrators, Eleanora has to put any feelings aside and put herself in a dangerous situation.
A cliffhanger awaits at the end of the book, leaving the reader wanting for more romance and adventure to find out about Eleanora’s choices and future ahead.
This book was atmospheric, lovely and action-packed. I enjoyed the sweet romantic banter in it, as well as the historical added details of the time and place. Parts of the plot made me wonder how this was going to end while Eleanora encountered different situations. It had me guessing till the last pages which made the story just fly by. The writing was crisp and interesting with just the right amount of tension.
If you enjoy a historical fiction setting and YA books, then I’d definitely recommend this great YA read :)
I received a digital copy of The Kingdom of Ash and Soot in exchange of an honest review. Thank you R&R Blog Tours and C.S. Johnson. All opinions are my own.
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