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Lady Smoke

Review

Lady Smoke

Laura Sebastian is the author of the Ash Princess trilogy. ASH PRINCESS and LADY SMOKE are out now, and book three, EMBER QUEEN, comes out next year! The trilogy is a feminist high fantasy adventure that I am absolutely in love with!

I read an ARC of ASH PRINCESS in early 2018, and as soon as I finished it I knew I wanted book two. I was lucky enough to get on a blog tour and get an advanced copy of LADY SMOKE, and boy, am I glad! My copy arrived while I was home from college over winter break. The day it arrived, I opened it up, squealed and then dove in! It took a little while to read, but that was mostly because I was reading it over Christmas and the fact that the book is huge! And I will not complain on that front!

"ASH PRINCESS and LADY SMOKE are perfect for fans of high fantasy....This series is full of romance, royal drama and great friendships. This is a great series that I highly recommend!"

While we already know all the characters from book one, LADY SMOKE gives the characters we know and love a chance to grow. I've loved Theo since the moment I met her, so I was excited to be back inside her head. One thing I especially loved was reading just how much she scoffs at the male-dominated, patriarchal world she sees outside the borders of her home. Now out from under the thumb of the Kaiser, Theo is able to develop emotions that she previously suppressed for her own safety. But with that comes the fact that Theo starts to feel things she either doesn't understand or doesn't want to feel. By the end of the book, although Theo had her same fire, she was a completely different character (in a good way).

One of my favorite parts of the book was seeing Søren outside of his father's palace. While he was complicit in great tragedies, his actions were often sparked out of ignorance or fear of his father. In LADY SMOKE, I felt that he started to rebuild some of the morality he lost while serving his father. I also loved that he was completely, unapologetically in love with Theo from day one. Throughout the period when Theo was unsure of her feeling, Søren loved her and vowed to support her as much as he could. Some of that was likely lasting guilt over what he'd done, I also like to think that those feeling morphed into something more lasting.

In ASH PRINCESS we don't see much of the world outside the palace. In LADY SMOKE, that all changes. The first part of the book takes place at sea. From there, Theo and crew travel to another country and are hosting by that country's king. Over the course of the book we learn about the many other countries on the map at the beginning and the people that rule them. I loved getting to see the greater world, and I hope to see more of it in EMBER QUEEN.

In some ways, LADY SMOKE very much fits the mold of a middle book, but it never felt slow. Most of LADY SMOKE was spent gathering allies and making plans. We also meet a new group of people who I absolutely loved. I won’t say who to avoid spoilers. There was a lot of little bits of action in LADY SMOKE, but I also felt that it was building to something much bigger. We get a bit of that in the final scenes, but I can’t help but suspect that something even bigger is coming. The end of LADY SMOKE furthers my opinion, and let me tell you, I am dying to get my hands on a copy of EMBER QUEEN!

ASH PRINCESS and LADY SMOKE are perfect for fans of high fantasy. While not fantasy, I recommend reading it if you enjoyed GRACE AND FURY by Tracy Banghart. It’s also perfect for fans of RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard. This series is full of romance, royal drama and great friendships. This is a great series that I highly recommend!

Reviewed by Isabel Coyne on February 13, 2019

Lady Smoke
by Laura Sebastian

  • Publication Date: February 5, 2019
  • Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult 13+
  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press
  • ISBN-10: 1524767107
  • ISBN-13: 9781524767105