Title: Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2)
Author: Laura Sebastian
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Delacorte Press
No. of pages: Hardcover, 512
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Date Read: January 5, 2019
Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | B+N | iBooks | TBD
Scars fade and ashes wash away, but a queen never forgets.
The Kaiser murdered Theodosia’s mother, the Fire Queen, when Theo was only six. He took her country and kept her prisoner, crowning her Ash Princess–a pet to toy with and humiliate for ten long years. That era has ended. The Kaiser thought his prisoner weak and defenseless. He didn’t realize that a sharp mind is the deadliest weapon.
Theo no longer wears a crown of ashes. She has taken back her rightful title, and a hostage–Prinz Søren. But her people remain enslaved under the Kaiser’s rule, and now she is thousands of miles away from them and her throne.
To get them back she will need an army. Only, securing an army means she must trust her aunt, the dreaded pirate Dragonsbane. And according to Dragonsbane, an army can only be produced if Theo takes a husband. Something an Astrean Queen has never done.
Theo knows that freedom comes at a price, but she is determined to find a way to save her country without losing herself.
First, many thanks to Rockstar Books Tours and Delacorte Press for having me on this blog tour! Secondly, a greater many thanks to Laura Sebastian who has truly written a wonderful story in these first two books so far. I’m obsessed with Theo’s story and her ever continuing fight for her country and her people.
Earlier this year, I finally had a chance to pick up Ash Princess and Lady Smoke picks up right where the first left off. Theo, her Shadows, and Søren have currently taken residence with Dragonsbane and her fleet. Theo, while dealing with Blaise, Søren, and her guilt over Cress learns that in order to secure an army to fight for her country, her aunt has secured an alliance with Sta’Crivero. This alliance isn’t through the normal means but by the King of Sta’Crivero giving her hand away in marriage. Once the fleet reaches Sta’Crivero, they learn that the Kaiser has a bounty on Theo and Søren’s heads. As Theo, Art, Heron, Blaise, and Søren try to figure out a way to go against the Kalovaxians, rescue her people, and take back her country, Theo makes interesting allies, unbelievable enemies, loses more people she loves, and finds a power inside herself like she’s only imagined. The story ends with a twist that I had to read twice because I couldn’t believe it.
Again, Sebastian has written something that brings you in and doesn’t let go. Theo is no longer a prisoner, but she’s no longer free either. Everyone wants something from her, but all she wants is what’s best for her people. She puts her own feelings and happiness aside for what she must do for her country. The plot twists and turns and will throw you for a loop at times. There are characters that you come to love more than you already had and ones that will frustrate you.
The expansion of this world is astounding. We get to see another kingdom, but we also see that it isn’t as perfect as it lets on. Within the castle walls, there are so many secrets and ulterior motives that project the story forward in a way that makes you want to keep reading.
I loved the addition of Theo getting to see the refugee camps and meeting the people within. I think that it, and her experience through it, shed some light on what we’re seeing today. People all over are trying to survive the best way that they know how. In the story, Theo does what she can, but ultimately she knows that it’ll never be enough. She brings food, plays with the children, and speaks to the Elders about the most pressing needs. Her people are in need. People are in need. It just reminded me of today, with the refugees at America’s borders and refugees in the Middle East running from war and persecution. They are in need. I just wonder who will finally be brave enough to help.***
Another thing that stood out to me was the tear even further in Theo between Blaise and Søren. She needs both in different ways, but I’m really interested in who’s she’ll end up with because it’s clearly gonna be one of the two. Blaise is a comfort and a remembrance of home. Søren is a comfort and a reminder that she’s stronger than she seems.
Lady Smoke was everything that I didn’t know I needed. It was a great continuance of an already great story. It was heartbreaking and hopeful. If you’ve read Ash Princess, this is a second installment that you don’t want to miss. If this is the first time you’re hearing about the series, I recommend that you pick this series up. It’s definitely one that won’t disappoint. Lady Smoke releases February 5th, 2019. Make sure to check it out!!
***(Side Note: There are plenty of ways to help without having to physically be there. Donating to shelters and charities that assist in feeding, clothing, and getting legal support for refugees and displaced individuals do make a difference.)
3 Winners will receive a finished copy of Lady Smoke, US Only.
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Laura Sebastian was born and raised in South Florida (the Redlands and Key Largo) and has always loved telling stories-many apologies to her little brother who often got in trouble because of them. No copies of her first book, a Cinderella retelling about angels circa 2nd grade, remain. Thankfully.
After getting her BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design, she moved to New York City thinking that she would stay for a coupel of years before going somewhere better suited for a small-town, sun-loving girl. Five years later, she’s still here and madly in love with it.
When Laura isn’t writing, she’s probably reading, baking cookies or cupcakes, buying more clothes than her overstuffed closet can fit, or forcing her lazy dog Neville to take a walk.
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