Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Book Shelf: Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2) by Laura Sebastian

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.


More on Goodreads.....


Review:

Lady Smoke is Laura Sebastian’s second novel and the follow up to her YA fantasy debut, Ash Princess, whisking readers once more into a world of danger where one young woman will do anything to save her people, even if it means risking her heart and life in the process.

As the rightful Queen of the land of Astrea, Theodosia Houzzara sparked a flame of change when she escaped the clutches of the cruel Kaiser and ended her decade long imprisonment as his glorified pet and symbol of humiliation. As the Kaiser continues to hold her people enslaved, Theo and her closes companions travel across the seas, with the Kalovaxian prince Soren as hostage in order to form an alliance and obtain an army capable of helping take back her kingdom. Yet gaining her freedom does not mean she is safe, and with a bounty hanging over her head, Theo will need to form a political alliance as soon as possible, even if it means offering her hand in marriage to suitors who want nothing more than a piece of the fabled ash princess and the magic her land holds….

After finding myself drawn into the lush and vivid fantasy world Laura Sebastian wove with her debut novel, I was excited to return to it with its sequel, Lady Smoke. Seeming to implement elements of various fantasy series, the Ash Princess Trilogy may not seem overly unique or different, but is still highly entertaining and enjoyable. Sebastian weaves different elements of danger, romance, magic, action and mystery into the story which follows a strong and personable main character.

Lady Smoke continues to unfold through the eyes of heroine Theo, a young woman who is tasked with finding a way to liberate her people from the enslavement they have suffered since the Kalovaxian’s invaded and conquered the land of Astrea. Theo is quite a likable protagonist. She’s intelligent but natural and willing to sacrifice if it means saving her people. Having seen her mother murdered at the hands of the Kaiser, Theo has been an unwilling captive who has recently tasted freedom for the first time. In a lot of ways Lady Smoke marks the start of Theo finally beginning to discover who she is—both as a person with her own hopes and desires and a Queen who must put her people first.

Theo is supported by a strong cast of characters. As the Queen of Astrea, Theo has a small group of close confidants she trusts including Blaise, Artimesia and Heron who readers will recall from the first novel as well as love interest Soren and friend Erik. Laura Sebastian introduces a few new faces to the series including elusive pirate Dragonsbane whose connection to Theo runs blood deep but whose motivations remain a mystery. Personally I think all of Theo’s friends are solid characters, especially Art who is a strong and capable female with hidden vulnrabilties.

As the Kalovaxian Prince who appears to have stolen Theo’s heart despite her complicated feelings for childhood friend Blaise, Soren is the picture of a steadfast friend and love interest to our beloved heroine. After betraying his father, Soren has become a close advisor and source of comfort to Theo and its impossible not to tell they are falling for one other. Though he should be “the enemy” Soren is proving himself day by day and continues to come to terms with all the brutality his father was responsible for.

Though Lady Smoke focuses more on Theo’s desperation to secure an ally through a political marriage, Laura Sebastian does manage to pack the story with plenty of developments. It was intriguing to see some more aspects of the world Theo and her comrades exist in including neighbouring kingdoms and their leaders.

The Truthwitch meets The Winner's Curse, Lady Smoke builds to a climactic ending which will turn the tides of the series. Theo has an even bigger fight on her hands as an old acquaintance rises to power with deadly results. I for one can’t wait to see what Laura Sebastian plans for the third and final instalment in the trilogy, Ember Queen and will be looking to read it as soon as it releases.

Rating:
Source: Sent for review by publisher (Thank you guys!)
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Format: Paperback
Australian RRP: $16.99
Release Date: February 12th 2019
Buy: Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | The Book Depository | Amazon
Final Thoughts: Very entertaining; I'm ready for the next one!


3 comments:

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