My Rating ~ Four and a half stars
RELEASE DATE: 29 January 2019
Publisher: Pan Macmillian Australia | Delacorte Books
Source: Received from Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review
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.
Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of Lady Smoke in exchange for an honest review.
Please note, as this is book 2 in the series, there will likely be spoilers for book 1, Ash Princess, in my review!
If you’ve read Ash Princess, you’ll remember the end left us with a few shocks and, if you were like me, shaking your fist at the sky, wondering how we were going to wait for the next book.
Lady Smoke jumps right in where Ash Princess finished, on Dragonsbane’s pirate ship. Now that Theo has escaped the Kaiser, she needs find a way to take back her palace and home, and to help her people. Unfortunately, although she has reclaimed her title as queen, she has no army to fight the Kaiser with. Dragonsbane proposes a plan for Theo to marry into an influential country, in exchange for them helping to win the war. Astrean queens have never married and Theo desperately wants to find another way to save her people, but it seems like her options are running out.
Lady Smoke is full of intrigue and twists. A lot of the book is dedicated to figuring out who is keeping secrets, and what their motivations are. I enjoyed getting to know Theo’s shadows even more, they are some of my favourite characters in the series. As we saw at the end of book one, there is a bit of a love triangle going on, and more of this is explored in book two. Neither of the boys are an easy path for Theo, especially when her main objective is saving Astrea, plus, she’s meant to be choosing an influential husband to see that through. Although this is not a short book, I read it in two days. I just couldn’t put it down. I feel like there were less shocking aspects to this book (the torture and mistreatment in book one was intense) and instead we got to see more world building and tactical planning. Theo has definitely grown as a character and I had to keep reminding myself that she is still really only a child, trying to make decisions for her people. We also learn a little more about Theo’s mother and her aunt, Dragonsbane, plays a large role in Lady Smoke. Once again, the ending left me desperate for the next book!
If you enjoyed Ash Princess, I think Lady Smoke is a fantastic continuation of the story and I can’t wait for the next instalment!
Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia, I am currently hosting a giveaway for a copy of Lady Smoke, together with a signed bookplate, over on my Instagram account. Please join me there to submit your entry! The giveaway is open to Australia and New Zealand entrants only.
Photo via my Instagram account @Bookbookowl