Saturday, April 27, 2019

Audiobook Review: Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian

Title: Lady Smoke (As Princess #2)
Author: Laura Sebastian

Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 512
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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.

Ash Princess caught me off guard early this year by being completely amazing! I immediately got a copy of Lady Smoke to see what happened next and now I'm kind of regretting it since I have to wait until next year for book three. 

Lady Smoke picks up shortly after Ash Princess leaves off. Theo has taken Soren captive and is using him as leverage against the Kaiser, but things don't go exactly as she planned. In this part of her story she must team up with Dragonsbane and a foreign king in order to secure her throne. In this book Theo has fully accepted her role and has determined that she'll make whatever sacrifices are necessary for Astrea. I loved her. It was easy to become frustrated just because I wanted her to be HAPPY! But I loved her character growth and her resolve and loyalty. 

All the other familiar characters are also here for book two and they were all, again, amazing. Of course, I'm still firmly on Team Soren, but I also like Blaise. I know that some people are tired of the love triangle, but I totally get it. It makes sense to me that Theo would be torn between her childhood friend and a new contender. I don't hate it, but I'll be happy when she finally settles on the right choice. :) 

I also really enjoyed the female relationships, both good and bad. I can't wait to see more of Theo and Art together! And then there's Cress, Theo's friend turned enemy and this is a GOOD use of this trope! I feel like this isn't something you see very often without romance involved (or maybe I just haven't seen it much?), but I am here for it! Cress is a force to be reckoned with and I'm so intrigued by her. 

One of my favorite things about Lady Smoke was getting to see the wider world that Theo lives in. The politics could easily get boring, especially with the addition of so much strategy along with other kings and a potential marriage alliance, but it kept my attention! I also enjoyed getting more information about the mines and the magical system of the world. 

Although I didn't necessarily find that this book dragged, I do with that it had focused less on the marriage alliance and more on, well, everything else. I liked that there were scenes of Theo getting to know her people and I would have liked to see more of that and more action. I know that the possible alliance had a purpose, but it seemed like that particular plot point could have wrapped up quite a bit sooner. Still, once things took off in the second act, it was non stop! 

Lady Smoke wasn't quite as strong for me as Ash Princess, but I still really, really enjoyed it! I can't wait to see what happens in book three, especially between Theo and Cress. Something tells me the next one is going to be a wild ride.