Format: Hardcover,512 pages
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / Epic
The sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller that was “made for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Sabaa Tahir” (Bustle), Lady Smoke is an epic new fantasy about a throne cruelly stolen and a girl who must fight to take it back for her people.
The Kaiser murdered Theodosia’s mother, the Fire Queen, when Theo was only six. He took Theo’s 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 Soren. 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.
Lady Smoke, by author Laura Sebastian, is the second installment in the authors Ash Princess Trilogy. The story picks up where Ash Princess left off. Ten years ago, the Kalovaxian's Kaiser murdered Theodosia's mother, The Queen of Fire, and kept Theo around as a sort of hostage. Every time her people acted out, Theo was punished. Those days are now over. Theo finds herself is onboard the Smoke, Dragonbane’s ship, with her Shadows and Soren.
With the help of her aunt Dragonsbane, her Shadows Heron, Blaise, and her cousin Artemisia, Theo was able to escape the Kalovaxians and her former best friend Crescentia. Also, Theo kind of kidnapped Prinz S0ren as a sort of hostage to use in her plans to back at the Kaiser. Theo escaped to form an alliance with another country in hopes of taking back Astrea and defeat the Kaiser. The only problem is, she may end up having to a husband, something a queen of Astrea has never done.
Theo has a loyal group of friends that she can depend on. I would put S0ren in that category as well. When she is forced into a sort of bachelorette game show, she must find a way to find the perfect match that she is being forced into in order to gain the necessary support without giving away parts of herself. When Theo visits a camp in a country she is temporarily staying in, she is taken aback by how bad the refugees are treated.This is perhaps the most political statement in the entire book. Note: Not putting the author down!
I have to give the publisher and author credit for putting the world map in front of the book. Trust me, this is really important part of the story. You can see where the countries are, and who chooses to attend to Theo hoping for an alliance. You can also see how isolated Astrea is from the rest of the world. The main positive for me was the character growth of Theo.
She's a very different character from the one who appeared in Ash Princess. Theo was in a state of self-preservation worrying about how long the Kaiser was going to keep her around. But the continued harsh treatment and exposure to the pain of both herself and her people slowly whittled away this softer exterior to reveal an inner-core of strength that disallowed either to become the playthings of another, ever again. No matter the cost. Her resolve has hardened and, with it, my hope for a fantastic finale to this series.
Admittedly, the most exciting parts of this book were the second half and yes, even the ending shocking as that might be for me to say. When all is said and done, there really is some pretty interesting things that I am looking forward to finding out about in the sequel.