Friday, January 11, 2019

Book Review: Lady Smoke [+ Giveaway]

Title: Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2)
Author: Laura Sebastian
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | Romance | 
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Source: Blog Tour
Format: ARC
GoodreadsAmazonAudible,  B&NiBooksTBD

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 (goodreads).

Lady Smoke continues to dazzle with its character development. 

Plot: Ash Princess was a powerful read for me, because Theo was an incredibly sympathetic character and she was playing a dangerous game with a tyrant. Laura Sebastian did not disappoint with Lady Smoke as Theo and her company worked to take on the Kaiser and confront their messy emotions. 

Similar to Ash Princess, Lady Smoke was a slower paced book with a considerable amount of action taking place in the last one hundred pages. I had compared Ash Princess to the Winner's Curse series because the plot didn't focus on an all-out rebellion, instead it teased out strategy and alliances.  Lady Smoke gave me even more Winner's Curse vibes, especially with its explosive ending. 

Characters: Thora had undergone a major transformation in becoming Theo in Ash Princess. In Lady Smoke, Theo had a bit more confidence but she was still struggling with her identity and the image she portrayed to her people. I truly fell in love with how Sebastian wrote Theo's running dialogue because it felt true to a 16-year-old girl who had to reclaim her throne. She was insecure at times, she was confident at times, and she was afraid at times. One aspect I enjoyed was Theo's desperation to not become the tyrant who kept her under control for 10 years and how she tempered her strategies to ensure she didn't lose herself. 

Ash Princess had a love triangle that seemed central to the storyline and I was worried that my ship wouldn't sail. With Lady Smoke, I was more understanding of Theo's indecision when it came to Blaise and Soren and could see how both characters brought her something that she needed. Don't worry, I think a decision was made (and my ship sailed).

Worldbuilding: The world of Ash Princess was exciting as it was filled with political alliances and misdeeds. The majority of the action in the sequel took place iSta’Crivero, a rich and greedy country with an even greedier ruler.

Theo and her Shadows were invited by the king in an attempt to find Theo a spouse, and in return they would promise her their army to face the Kaiser. It was the perfect setting to get to know the world at large and how all of these countries interacted withe each other. I'm sure we'll learn more about the countries and their rulers in the third book. 

Short N Sweet: Lady Smoke was filled to the rim with emotions and dangerous strategies. This is a series I could get lost in, and I can't wait for the third book!

Laura Sebastian was born and raised in South Florida (the Redlands and Key Largo) and has always loved telling stories–many apologies to her little brother who often got in trouble because of them. No copies of her first book, a Cinderella retelling about angels circa 2nd grade, remain. Thankfully.

After getting her BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design, she moved to New York City thinking that she would stay for a couple of years before going somewhere better suited for a small-town, sun-loving girl. Five years later, she’s still here and madly in love with it.
When Laura isn’t writing, she’s probably reading, baking cookies or cupcakes, buying more clothes than her overstuffed closet can fit, or forcing her lazy dog Neville to take a walk.

3 winners will receive a finished copy of LADY SMOKE, U.S. Only.

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Blog Tour - This Week
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January 8- Jrsbookreviews
January 10- Fiction Fare


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