RELEASE DATE: February 07th 2019
AUTHOR: Laura Sebastian
GENRE: Young-Adult, Fantasy, Adventure.
PUBLISHER: Macmillan Children’s Books
After escaping from imprisonment under the brutal Kaiser, Theodosia is on the run, plotting to take revenge and reclaim her rightful place as queen of the enslaved Astreans. Thousands of miles away from her people and her throne, Theo and her friends must work to gather an army. And the only way is to auction herself as a bride – to the kingdom who will pay the most. Freedom always comes at a price and with the Kaiser closing in, she must rely on her wits to identify who she can really trust.
“Hope is contagious. When you have enough it spreads naturally.”
Lady Smoke was an entertaining sequel to Ash Princess but honestly it didn’t wow me as much as I had hoped. I was expecting more magical action and less arranged marriage drama. The triangle in this book seemed ridiculous. It was totally pointless when you can clearly see who’s going to win. Despite all these clichedness, It still makes an enjoyable read. The book began with a slow start but ended with a bang. The world building and the writing was great. Skip reading the below summary if you haven’t read the first book yet.
The story picks up from where it was left off in Ash Princess. With the help of Prince Soren, Theodisia had finally escaped from the clutches of the evil Kaiser. She betrays Soren and now he’s the prisoner of Dragonsbane, Theo’s Aunt and her mother’s twin sister. Theo and her group decides to fight against Kaiser and reclaim Astrea, but sadly they’re lacking an army. So Theo had no choice but to auction herself as a bride to another kingdom who can provide them an army enough to fight against Kaiser but it seems like Dragonsbane had her own plans. They all take refuge in Sta’ Crivera to meet all her suitors from different kingdoms. Theo don’t know whom to trust but in the end she had to make a choice. Will Theo sacrifice her freedom for the sake of Astrea and her people?
Theo has grown more mature and more strong in this book. She’s a selfless and brave princess who’s willing to give up her freedom and agrees to an arranged marriage. She’s vulnerable yet strong woman. Her character growth was well done. I think I liked Soren more in this book. He feels guilty about all the deaths he had caused and he doesn’t blame Theo for playing him because he still loves her after all the betrayal. Gosh, I wanted to hug him. On the other hand we have Blaise. He’s my least favorite character in this series but surprisingly I liked him in this book. I felt bad for this guy. He suffers from something like mine madness and he’s not afraid to become a martyr. I wish the author gave more focus on him. Artemisia was an okay-ish character. I never felt connected with her but it looks she has some mommy issues. Heron’s character felt dull. He was just there and I didn’t cared much about him. And finally we have Dragonsbane, Theo’s notorious pirate aunt and also Artemisia’s mother. She was smart, brutal, and cunning. She’s not that much badass as I’ve hoped but I really want to see her in action.
The plot was interesting but it was mostly a slow ride. If you like YA fantasy books with a lot of political drama then you’ll definitely love this series. The arranged marriage part kinda reminded me of the Selection series. It was quite easy to predict some things but some really surprised me. I didn’t like the triangle in this book. Theo has affection for two boys but we can clearly see to whom she has romantic feelings for. It was pretty much obvious. The writing was addicting throughout. The whole book was written in Theo’s POV. I really wish this was written in multiple POV’s. The world building was very well done. Sta’Criveran gave me middle eastern vibes. Their advanced technology and luxurious life felt like something you’ll find in a Rich Arab’s house. Despite being advanced in so many things, the Sta’Criveran’s are backwards in some things like that virginity test before marriage. Argh, I hated it! I’m glad Theo didn’t go through it.
Overall, it was a good sequel but not that amazing either! There are plenty of things that I really liked but there are few things that I just wasn’t feeling at all. The ending was pretty good though. It was definitely the most exciting part in this book. It left me wanting for more! Can’t wait to read the next book!
I recommend this series to the people who’re looking for a YA fantasy series that has political drama, romance, adventure, and a little bit of magic.