Title: Lady Smoke (Ash Princess #2)
Author: Laura Sebastian
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Publication Date: 12 February 2019
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
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 and humiliating her 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. But 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.
Lady Smoke was a delightful continuation of the story which commenced in Ash Princess. Once again the world and characters captivated me, and it was hard to put down the book and go to sleep each night. There was still plenty of action, and new faces appeared alongside characters from book one. Sometimes second books lack the intensity of the first and third instalments, but here there was still lots of drama and new ideas. The only thing that spoilt this for me (as with book one) was the unnecessary love triangle. The potential enemies-to-lovers romance between Theo and Soren works wonderfully. However, that with Blaise is simply an annoying trope and adds nothing to the plot. The story would work just as well were their actions based solely on a friendship-inspired love, rather than a romantic one, and I would not need to roll my eyes at the YA fantasy love-triangle cliché. But this is my only gripe in an otherwise gripping and enthralling series. Therefore, I am giving this book 4.5 stars.