Review – Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian

Title Lady Smoke

Author Laura Sebastian

Description from Amazon

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.

Initial Thoughts

Maybe you know this, and maybe you don’t. It took me almost six months to finish Ash Princess last year. I just couldn’t get into it. There was something off about the world building or the setting. I’m not totally sure, but I just didn’t love it. Clearly, I’m a masochist because I decided to sign up for the blog tour of Ember Queen (when I hadn’t read Lady Smoke) and, of course, I was chosen.

Some Things I Liked

  • Bachelorette vibes. I loved the scenes where Theo gets to meet her suitors and she and Søren are whispering in the corner about the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  • Change of scenery from the Kaiser’s crazy palace. I’ll be honest, part of what I didn’t like in Ash Princess was the torture that Søren’s father inflicted on Theo. I don’t enjoy themes of that type in books and I was glad that Lady Smoke moved away from that.
  • Erik. I’m so glad Erik was a featured character in this book. I was disappointed in Ash Princess when the gang basically left him behind and I’m so glad he’s part of #teamTheo now.

Something I Wasn’t Crazy About

  • The love triangle. I almost always hate love triangles. I don’t like feeling bad for one of the characters. In this case, it’s Blaise. Blaise, Søren, and Theo can’t all be happy at the end of this story and it is just too tragic to think that one of them might have to die for the cause in order to satisfy this love triangle.

Series Value

This book totally redeemed Ash Princess. I really enjoyed the change of pace from the psycho Kaiser and his torture of Theo to the pirates and meeting of suitors as arranged by Theo’s aunt. I am excited to continue with the series and to see how it all ends. Please note, if you had asked me this after reading Ash Princess, I’d have told you I had no plans to continue this series. Lady Smoke totally changed my mind.

Final Thoughts

⭐ ⭐ ⭐⭐

Recommendations for Further Reading

  • Ember Queen by Laura Sebastian — if you liked this book, you should definitely continue with the series.  
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass – if you liked the scenes where Theo is choosing a suitor based on political advantage, try this series. It’s all about Prince Maxon’s process of selecting the next queen of his country.
  • Beware the Night by Jessika Fleck – if you liked the love triangle (🤮) and you enjoyed the themes of rebellion, try this duology by Jessika Fleck. There is no magic, but the concepts of warfare are similar.

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