Lady Smoke(Ash Princess Trilogy #2)by Laura Sebastian, #29 review

Publication date: 5 February 2019

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.

Thank you to @times.reads for sending me a review copy of Lady Smoke.

This review took me quite a while to write, almost 2 weeks to be exact. Why? Mainly because I was a plump of sadness and disappointed by the sequel.

Ash Princess was phenomenal. I loved every single chapter of it. Since I was hooked on the first book, naturally, my expectations of the second book is high. I was quite distressed with the second book. It didn’t live up to the hype of the first.

“As women, we must have our weapons in this world, whether they’re our minds or our fists or our wiles or our tears.”

The first half of the book is about Theo and her court along with Dragonsbane searching for allies through marriage in a rich kingdom. A selection for a husband was held in a Kingdom with wealth richer than the Kaiser’s. What I really love about this is the cultural differences that the author put into the book. She describes all the different cultures and countries that came to try for Queen Theo’s hand. She also created their own hierarchy and political system. It was in detail and the world building was carefully constructed. I have to applaud her on that.

The selection took up a chunk of the book, it was understandable though since world building takes chapterS but it was a real drag for me. The second half is where things finally began. It’s like the first half was setting the players on the chess board, putting the pieces and arranging moves. Now that all the players are where they should be, the game finally commenced. From there, it was quick and straight to the point. There were some scenes that I didn’t expect, like the outcome of war and Theo’s choices.

Moving onto the characters, Theo is a character with so much potential for greatness. In the first book, she was a Queen, she fought her way out of the Kaiser’s claws. It was so badass and savage. In this book, however. she went from Ash Princess to Lady Smoke. Exactly like the book titles. I didn’t like this bit. Instead of upgrading, she downgraded in title and attitude. The backstory of the name Ash Princess was crystal clear. Lady Smoke, on the other hand, was half-hearted. It really didn’t suit the trilogy in my opinion. The name is explained in the book, but it just didn’t hit the bell for me.

Another thing that I must mention is the LOVE TRIANGLE! UgH. I hAtE iT. I hopped it would improve in the second book. No. It went from a five to a ten. One moment she’s in love with Blaise, next she is sharing a bed with Soren. And then, she’s back to Blaise. Please, this honestly ruined romance in the book for me.

Thank you once again to @times.reads for sending me a copy of this book for my honest review.

By elysianbooksish

The Bookish Faerie who loves to read and write, and bake too

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