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Kingdom of Ash and Soot (The Order of the Crystal Daggers, #1)
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Kingdom of Ash and Soot

(The Order of the Crystal Daggers #1)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  94 ratings  ·  73 reviews
“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 i
Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 3rd 2018 by Prodigy Gold Books
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C.S. Johnson
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Jun 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, ebook, read-in-2018
*** 3.5 STARS ***

*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.
The Girl Murdered by Her TBR
I am about to receive my first ever advance reader’s copy and I am so excited and happy for this. 😱😱😱

Thank you Prodigy Gold Books and C.S Johnson for this opportunity.
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-arc
ARC provided by Prodigy Gold Books & C.S. Johnson in exchange for an honest review - thank you so much!

Throughly enjoyed this a beautifully written Cinderella/Spy story by C.S. Johnson - was such a vivid and fantastic adventure.

”The devil always offers you everything you want, but there is always a price to pay. Always.”

It was a slow burning plot and very character driven but it was so good! The descriptions and writing really made you feel like you were there with the characters in Pra
C.S. Johnson
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Hi again, everyone! This is my upcoming novel, published through Prodigy Gold Books, and it's my editor's favorite so far, and I can think of no higher praise considering she's seen the worst of my work. I hope you enjoy it!

Here's the blurb I've written:

“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.”
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you so much to C.S. Johnson and Prodigy Gold Books for the ARC of the book!

A wonderful spin on the classic Cinderella story, I truly enjoyed Kingdom of Ash and Soot. The book to me was a little slow at first but is to be expected with all of the world building that needed to be done. Once the action started there was no going back, it became fastpaced right when Elenora took her first step into the world of espionage and political games.

I really felt that it was easy to relate to Elenora,
3.5 stars, RTC
you can find this review on my blog as well!
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
Laura A. Grace
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This story was fantastic! Definitely one of my favorite reads of this year!

It was packed full of political intrigue, but not so much where it went over my head or was hard to remember. The Cinderella twist honestly made it even cooler and will forever look at her story differently, imaging if she became a secret, undercover spy.

The characters were just as amazing as the storyline. (Well, except the bad guys, but even they were "well played." Hehe!) Eleanora was such a great heroine to cheer for
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Woah! That’s ending totally took me by surprise. I WANT THE NEXT BOOK PLEASE!
Jun 30, 2018 rated it liked it
We received an ARC of this book from Prodigy Gold Books in exchange for an honest review. Thanks again, Prodigy Gold Books!

Overall Rating: 3 stars
Heroine: Survivor by Destiny’s Child
Dude: Can I go on walks with him in Prague!??
Romance: Sweet and slow burn
Brutality: I’ll never trust wine again

This story is an interesting twist on Cinderella that adds in history, political maneuvering and assassins. If you love a good regency novel with multiple balls, discussions of what is proper behavior for
Madison's Inkwell
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Angela (Pooled Ink Reviews)
pooled ink Reviews:

Kingdom of Ash and Soot is almost a Cinderella retelling but darker and more exciting. Set in an alternate 1800s Prague, Eleanora survives the deaths of her parents, strengthens beneath the abuse of her step-family, and rises in a world of magic and dark destiny. This YA Fantasy is a must-read for fans of adventure told at midnight.

Read my FULL review here:
Janeen Ippolito
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great story with intriguing politics, fun character dynamics, and a breathless conclusion!
Terri Rand
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was given an ARC of this book and this is my honest review. If you have never read anything by C.S. Johnson, then this is a wonderful way to begin a wonderful relationship with a terrific author.
From the moment Nora is introduced along with her brother Ben, I was hooked. Both characters are relatable and easy to like. The evil step-mother is just that - evil. Each new character that was introduced just made me want to get more lost in this world. Having the story set in Prague was a treat for
Ashy Khaira
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
“I want to be free.” The words came rushing out of me before I could think through their implications and consequences.

Nora was a very easy character to fall in love with. It stays true to the typical Cinderella retelling, however Nora is a beast! She became stronger with her life that she was dealt and worked for something better, than accepting her fate!

This story just went somewhere completely different than I was expecting! The writing was well executed and it was a little hard to follow at
Rebecca Brice
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Received this book as an ARC.

A must can I say. A great read that will get you hooked right from the start.

This first book in the Kingdom series is excellent. I love the character and the interaction they have with each other, and how they develop. There are so many different types of characters and personalities that you find you like and others not so much and some you like even more as you learn about them.

The twist and the turns in there and the final realization when thi
Lawrence Levee
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this book as a favor to a friend, not expecting what I opened was going to be that good. For a work of historical fiction and with a good amount of romance and intrigue, I quickly became occupied in the web of events portrayed therein. It is now 2am the day after I began reading, this alone should tell you something of the quality of the text! A real page turner. From its funeral prolog, through its twisting plot, the main character Elanora pulls you in and keeps you reading cover to cove ...more
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.75(?) RTC
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book to read and am so glad that I was given the opportunity to read it!

This book held me to the very end (I love stories like that so much!) I love how it brings in the dysfunction into the plot (a bit of reality mixed to make it more real to me. I enjoyed the way the words painted a story I could easily visualize, pulling me into the story too.

This is not the first book that I've read by CS Johnson, and will certainly not be my last!
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my first-ever eARC and that is why this book will forever be etched on my memory. Thank you Prodigy Gold Books for providing me an advance copy of this book.

Kingdom of Ash and Soot is a tale of survival, mystery, lies, love, secrets and freedom. I was once again plunged into the mystical city of Prague for this historical fiction and the place still held its old magic which makes it perfect for a story such as this. Siblings Eleanora and Ben were stripped of the comforts of life when the
Jan farnworth
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an intriguing story based on Cinderella with a spy twist.  Intrigued yet?  The story was a slow burn to the heart stopping action at the end of the book.    Their a lot of mystery and intrigue and secrets which all add up to the pieces you need for a spy novel right.   I like that this is not a retelling but a twist on what we all enjoyed.  The romance level was perfect, the main characters were delightful and at times humorous.  This is my first read by this author and i am a fan. 
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: got-review-copy
Kingdom of Ash & Soot is set in the past, 1870 in Prague. Eleanora is only 9 years old when the story begins and she is at her father’s funeral with her older brother, Benedict, her stepmom and her two step siblings who are spoiled and used to getting their way. Eleanora was very close to her father and mourns him the most whereas Ben didn’t share a good relationship with him and holds bitterness at the man’s memory. Their mom passed away years ago and their stepmother immediately makes them ...more
Nina Silva
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5/5 stars

This is a novel that packs mystery and intrigue into historical fiction… what fun. It’s 1870 and Prague is a hotbed if political machinations, assainations and secret societies. There were many aspects of the story that I enjoyed.

The orphan story: Eleanora and her elder brother Ben are orphans living as servants to their stepmother in their own father’s home. They dream of a feeedom that is simply a life away from obligation to Lady Cecilia and her unkindness. Despite the hardships un
Nikole Clow
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Kingdom of Ash and Soot is beautifully written, offering alluring and intense character-driven scenes that make you feel like you are standing next to Eleanora the entire time. The historical parts of the novel are compelling and so intricately woven into the plot. The twists and turns will leave you guessing and when the pieces finally come together, you won’t be disappointed.

I’ve read a ton of books that have traces of Cinderella, but never one that includes action scenes, political intrigue,
Anna Tan
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Right. I think I'm gonna put this at something like 3.5 stars.

Kingdom of Ash and Soot starts off with a very Cinderella vibe. After the death of her father, Eleanora and her brother Benedict are treated as servants by their (evil) step-mother. The plot does veer away after that, but the Cinderella-ish undertones remain throughout the rest of the story, especially when she's later given the nickname "Ella." Lady Penelope appears on the scene, the siblings are invited to join a secret society, spy
Claire Davis
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I have given Kingdom of Ash and Soot by C. S. Johnson three out of five stars ⭐⭐⭐I really enjoyed exploring the world from this book it was very creative and full of mystery. One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was that it was set in Prague which funnily enough I started writing this book review on Thursday when I was flying home from Prague back to London from a Christmas city break away with friends. From reading this book and ...more
Kingdom of Ash and Soot is a cute, well-written story of intrigue and romance.

I found the characters to be well-rounded and unique. I enjoyed their interactions, and look forward to more in the next book.
The plot was fun, and moved along relatively rapidly. I did guess the ending twist by halfway through the book, but it was still quite enjoyable!
There were some heavy doses of romance throughout, which is less to my liking, but overall I found it to be a fun read! I look forward to the next b
Sarah Ashwood
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a really interesting mix of themes. At first, I thought it would mainly play out to be a Cinderella story, but Nora/Ella isn't rescued from her stepmother just to leave a glass slipper on the prince's stairs. No, she's inherited a place in the Order of the Crystal Daggers, along with the danger and intrigue that goes along with it.
My favorite part of this book, besides the gorgeous cover, was the rich historical detail. The author clearly knows her stuff. She did a fantastic job sendin
Brittany's Pages
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, fantasy, arc-2018
Eleanora and her brother Benedict are the children of wealthy parents in Prague. When both parents pass away, their lives become that of servants under their step mother’s gruesome rule. But when their stately grandmother arrives at the estate, their lives are changed completely.

No longer acting as servants, Eleanora and Ben are recruited into the Order of the Crystal Daggers. This order, of which their grandmother and late mother have been part of, seeks to keep order in the kingdoms and protec
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C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles series, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at

Other books in the series

The Order of the Crystal Daggers (2 books)
  • Prince of Secrets and Shadows (The Order of the Crystal Daggers, #2)