Title: Lady Smoke
Author: Laura Sebastian
Pub. Date: February 5, 2019
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.
This will be a spoiler free review.
I almost didn’t finish this book. Not because it was bad per se, I was just struggling to get into it. Probably because it had been well over a year since I read Ash Princess. I remember very little from the first book, except for a few scenes.
I also had other books that I really wanted to read, but I felt guilty since Lady Smoke had been sitting on my TBR for months. I’m glad I ultimately pushed through and finished the book.
I remember really loving the first book, but this one didn’t give me the same feeling. I think it suffers a little bit from middle book syndrome. A lot happened in this book – action-wise, but plot wise, I was bored. Maybe I hyped it in my head too much, since i loved Ash Princess. Then there was the ending, and how that all happened, and I sort of found myself thinking, what’s the point?
I don’t want to spoil, so I’ll be vague, but something happens to a certain character, by the hands of another character, and as the reader I was like “wtf” and felt a bit jilted at what I expected to be the big final battle at the end of book 3. It wasn’t like I was shocked with the outcome, surprised maybe, but my legit first thought was, “really? what’s the point of all of this if that’s the outcome”. I just don’t understand the choices that were made. Maybe they’ll make sense, I’ll have to trust Laura on this one, because what happened was a moment I really wanted Theo to have.
I don’t know, I just wasn’t super impressed with this book. I will say that even though my interest wasn’t 100%, while I was reading the book, I didn’t feel the need to put it down. It was engaging enough to keep you reading, and therefore it was a fairly quick read, once I sat down to really read it.
I’ve already bought Ember Queen and I am looking forward to reading it. It arrived in the mail and maybe I’ll get to it this month, but definitely next. I’ll slip it into my TBR, so I can finally see how this trilogy ends.
OH! I just thought of something. Forgive me, it’s been probably about a week since I read this book. But I kind of got annoyed with Blaise…not really a fan. I just wanted him to go away. I get this vibe that he’s in love with this version of Theo he’s created in his head, and not who she actually is. I’m definitely Team Soren, hands down. For his sake, I need to know what happens next.
The Ash Princess Trilogy is now complete, so if you’ve been waiting to read these books, I say, go for it. Laura is a great writer, and her stories come to life. Theo’s journey is long and hard, and I can’t wait to see how it ends.