Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian

Title: Lady Smoke
Author: Laura Sebastian
Genre: High Fantasy
Source: PanMacmillan

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.
Review by Nara

Honestly, I feel like this series has been quite underrated.

Ash Princess was one of my favourite books on 2018, even more so because it was an unexpected favourite. I hadn't heard a lot about it going in, but found that it really appealed to a lot of my favourite aspects of a darker YA fantasy.

Lady Smoke is just as good, building on the political intrigue and dark twists from the first novel. One thing I find great about this series is that the author doesn't pull back on any punches in terms of the brutality of war, or the danger of being in a position of power. On the other hand, there is also a realistic view in terms of the romance, and how Theo isn't really in a good position to be making choices about her relationships given the state of her country and her responsibilities.

We explore more of the world of the series in this book, and look into a country where there is no magic, and instead science and technology have developed. I found this fascinating, and would love to see what else we will see in terms of world building in the third book. We're seeing more of the basis of the magic system as well, which I quite appreciated.

Overall, I definitely recommend this series. It's quickly becoming one of my favourite YA high fantasy series.

Overall: 9/10
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
World Building: 3.5/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 4/5