By Author / Illustrator
Paperback / softback
A tale of love, revenge, power and betrayal, Lady Smoke is Laura Sebastian's epic fantasy sequel to the New York Times-bestselling Ash Princess.
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.
Lady Smoke is the second book of the Ash Princess series, and what a great second book it is... This fantasy story picks up a few weeks after the end of book one, Theo is now aboard Dragonsban's (Theo's Aunt) ship, 'Smoke'. Her Shadows, Blaise, Heron and Art, are still with her as they are her friends and loyal to their Queen. Soren, the Kaiser's son, is being kept a prisoner on the ship and is treated cruelly by the crew. Can he truly be trusted? Even though Theo has escaped the brutal Kaiser she cannot rest, as she is now on the run. He has placed a bounty on her head - he wants her back, to teach her a lesson! She needs to gather strength in the form of an army to take back Astrea, but the only thing she has to give is herself. Queens don't marry, but she has to swallow her pride and give herself up to the highest bidder, with the biggest army to help take back her kingdom and take revenge on the Kaiser. Dragonsbane takes Theo to Sta-Crivero where she will meet with suitors. During her time here, she quickly learns that the Kaiser is not the only corrupt power she has to deal with, she has to learn quickly and walk through this mine field with a smile on her face, not knowing who she can trust outside of her 'family'. The author does spend a long time on this part of the story but it's completely necessary, it's full of politics, power, lies and deception. She also throws in a couple of assassinations, a dark description of refugee camps, and the progression of Blaise's 'illness'. Although I found Lady Smoke to be a little more political than Ash Princess, it was equally as scheming, bloody and violent, filled with unexpected twists and deaths. 512 pages of a high stake fantasy adventure suitable for 14+ readers due to the content of death, torture and murder. These are not written in great depth but are present and well crafted, making this a story that is engrossing and pacy. And of course, there is still the romance twisted into the plot. I would also recommend this series for book clubs or intervention groups due to the many discussion points the story raises. I Need to mention the ending... hope I don't give too much away.. an unexpected death! a new villain! Will Theo be the same, will her power engulf her?!? These cliffhangers leave the reader eagerly awaiting the concluding book, Ember Queen, which I believe is due to be released in Spring 2020. 512 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Linda Brown, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 11+