BOOK CLUB: Lady Smoke

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Ash Princess was the debut of Laura Sebastian and we were fortunate to feature it as a book club title in mid-2018. Our readers loved the book and were looking forward to the second instalment.

The Kaiser murdered Theodosia’s mother, the Fire Queen, when Theo was only six. He took her 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 defenceless. He didn’t realise 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.

Lady Smoke is published by Pan MacMillan and is available now where all good books are sold.

10 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members read Lady Smoke so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

10 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Lady Smoke

  1. Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian is the highly anticipated second book in the Ash Princess YA fantasy series published by Pan Macmillan. The first book was wonderful, a multilayered fantasy filled with political intrigue and adventure and peopled with personable and well rounded characters, in particular the young ash princess Theo or Theodosia the rightful ruler of Astrea.

    Theo’s story continues in the second book which is once again a blend of beautiful storytelling and character development. However, in Lady Smoke while there is some intense political action, the author delves more deeply into personality and morality, and in doing so touches on questions such as, What makes a good ruler? What is loyalty? and ultimately what is the price of power?

    To me this book was very much Theo’s coming of age story. A captivating story focusing on Theo’s growth from youth to adulthood, from a captive princess to a commanding ruler, and how she comes to terms with the years of abuse she suffered from the Kaiser.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Lady Smoke and I’m eagerly looking forward to the next book in the series which is unfortunately not due until 2020… fingers crossed the author writes it more quickly!

  2. Wow this book was a welcomed surprise. The 2nd book in The Ash Princess series, ‘Lady Smoke’ by Laura Sebastian was a winner.

    Even though I wasn’t familiar with the first book, this second book was easy enough to follow. The only thing I could suggest to aid in reading this book would be to include a glossary of words/characters.

    After escaping the clutches of an evil dictator, The Kaiser, who took Theodosia prisoner ten years ago, Theo is now fighting to regain her stolen country. Watching her family, friends and countrymen put into slavery working the mines, dying of terrible conditions and cruelty, the title of Queen falls to her. Trying to gather forces to battle The Kaiser, Theo and her band of Guardians, along with The Kaiser’s son Soren, experience treachery, battles and harsh conditions in their dangerous journey on sea and land.

    I loved this book. Theodosia’s character along with those closest to her are complicated, forceful, full of strengths and weaknesses.

    So easy to get lost in and enjoy this book, the reader is taken on an incredible journey.

    A big thanks of appreciation to Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan Publisher for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this book.

  3. This is the first time I read Laura Sebastian book I didn’t know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprise I will Read her book again

  4. This is the first time I read Laura Sebastian book I didn’t know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprise I was a good read

  5. WOW! I didn’t realise when I chose to review this that it was a sequel, so I quickly brought the first book and I devoured that in one night.

    The second book was much the same, I couldn’t answer texts, calls or eat because I had to finish every single word Laura Sebastian wrote. I’m so thankful I got to read this so thank you to Beauty and Lace and to the publishers.

    I went on an amazing adventure in this book, Senastion examined cultural differences very well in Lady Smoke. Sexuality, Relationships, and Religion were all written about so beautifully.

    Theo’s character is written so well. She escapes after years of being held and abused by the Kaiser, who invaded her country. It takes her a long time to start to rebuild the damage he has done to her emotionally. But Theo accepts that he still has an influence on her, on the way she makes decisions.

    Theo is fighting for her country back from the Kaiser, and she is aided by many friends and allies she met along the way. The book ends at a sort of cliff hanger.

    I’m so sad I have to wait for the next book and this is a series I will stick to

  6. Thank you to Pan Australia and Beauty and Lace Book Club for my free book to review.

    This is the 2nd book in the trilogy, and I haven’t read the first one, so I put my name down on the wait list in the library for the 1st book. I waited and waited, but I was curious. So I picked up Lady Smoke and thought to myself, I’ll just see how it reads, just a couple of pages. I was hooked! I read the book in 2 days.

    Now I wouldn’t recommend doing it that way. There was obviously a lot of “world building” in the first book, and they kept referring to characters who weren’t in the 2nd one. But still, I managed to follow the story and fall in love with the world/characters.

    Theo has escaped from being imprisoned by the Kaiser, but is she really free? A Queen without a country and her people enslaved or scattered. She is reliant on her Aunt (who has her own agenda), a foreign King (who is ruled by greed), and finding a suitable husband who will give her an army – even though Queens of Astera do not marry. And what will this husband want in return? Theo finds herself in an unenviable position, she must sacrifice her newly found freedom for her country, but even if she does, how much of her country will be left after everyone else takes their share?

    I can’t wait for the 3rd instalment (and the 1st one, eventually, still waiting, it’s now overdue!!!)

  7. I absolutely loved Ash Princess and was lucky enough to be able to read Lady Smoke, Laura Sebastian didn’t disappoint. A fantastic read and so hard to put down, the detail and description in the story puts the reader in the scene and turning the pages.
    I can’t wait for the next book in the series to be released.

  8. Since reading the Ash Princess (thanks to Beauty and Lace) I’ve been itching for the next instalment. Thanks for giving me the chance to continue the journey and another amazing Laura Sebastian read.

    While I found the start a little slow, just itching for the story to progress it was a required wait, to set the groundwork for what was to follow.

    Theodosia Houzzara (Theo) lost her mother and country Astrea to the Kaiser, a Kalovaxian who has been working his way through the world, taking over and raping countries of their worth and burning them to the ground. After fleeing from him and his cruelty (read the first book), kidnapping the Kalovaxian Prince, Theo now finds herself with her Aunt, looking for a way to fight to get her country back and free here people.

    Everyone has their own agenda it would seem, her Aunt happy to help but to what end, Theo finds the only people she trusts are her “advisors” – Blaise a friend from the past, Artemisia an Astrean and cousin, Heron an Astrean and new friend and, strangely, Prince Soren (Kalovaxian prince).

    The king of Sta’ Criveran offers Theo and her group protection and an opportunity to find support for her cause, but at what cost to her and those around her. She is to be wed, practically auctioned off, to find another country and their army to fight for her country. But will she then lose her right to rule, what is in it for these rulers and their country and why is the Sta’ Criveran king so happy to help.

    Trying to find her way, Theo finds herself less and less trusting of those outside her circle, finds her people who are refugees treated disgustingly and that death seems to follow her even here. Does the Kaiser have such a reach, he has a bounty on her head, dead or alive, the Prince as well…

    She needs to find a way to get her country back, but is this it? You’ll have to read to find out what happens next…

    Thank you all so much for the opportunity to continue the journey with Theo and her people… And I cannot wait for the third instalment!

  9. Lady Smoke is the much anticipated second novel in the Ash Princess trilogy, which follows the plight of Theodosia, the young princess and rightful queen of Astrea, who has suffered years of abuse while being held captive by the invading Kaiser and his court.

    Lady Smoke takes place right after the events of the first novel, Ash Princess. Theodosia flees her homeland with the help of her friends and the pirate Dragonsbane. In the hope of raising an army to defeat the Kaiser and take back Astrea from his rule, she sets out to form an alliance with another country. The only problem is that she has to take a husband, something a queen as never done before in Astrea. Through the challenges of politics, hidden agendas and love triangles, Theo grows to become a true queen and ruler. The novel also touches on the plights of refugees, and highlighting the struggles that they still have to overcome.

    A beautifully written story, with well-developed characters, vivid story-telling and plenty of intrigue.

    Thank you to Beauty & Lace and Pan Australia for the chance to read and review Lady Smoke!

  10. Thank you to Pan Australia and Beauty and Lace Book Club for my free book to review.
    Lady Smokeby Laura Sebastian

    Lady Smoke is the sequel to Ash Princess and it is a worthy successor. Now that Theo has escaped she has taken back her rightful title of Queen of Astrea and has a hostage, the crown prince ‘Soren’, the Kaiser’s son. She is on her Aunt’s ship, the dreaded ‘Dragonsbane’ but she doesn’t completely trust her Aunt who seems to be trying to manipulate her.
    Her years as a prisoner of the Kaiser have shaped her into a formidable and strong queen who will not be used or manipulated willy nilly. As the story unfolds Theo makes her own choices and old friends and new relationships both support her and let her down in her efforts to free her homeland. Some of her choices are risky and very unexpected but, ultimately, successful. Some people who should be her allies prove to be unreliable and others unexpectedly support her.
    Her magic grows and takes unexpected turns, but when she enacts a daring plan to retake one of the mines in Astrea as a start to reclaiming her people and her throne the situation takes a completely different turn to what a reader would expect. Her erstwhile friend from her prisoner days, Cressida, has become her, very dangerous, enemy and as a result of her near death previously she also has powerful magical abilities.
    Theo is provisionally successful in reclaiming the mine and its’ slaves but the story ends without a definite conclusion. There is every indication that the power struggle will escalate in the next book and will require ever more risky strategies from Theo in order to successfully expell the invaders from her shores.
    As in the 1st book, this one leaves me eagerly awaiting the next one, it has unexpected turns and twists and a good dose of magic to keep my ‘fantasy’ side happy. Well written and hard to put down. Well done Laura Sebastian.

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