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Lady Smoke

Ash Princess Series, Book 2
Written by: Laura Sebastian
Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Series: Ash Princess Trilogy, Book 2
Length: 13 hrs and 29 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (56 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The second installment in the New York Times best-selling series "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 10 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.

Praise for the Ash Princess series:

"A darkly enchanting page-turner you won't be able to put down." (Bustle)

"A smart, feminist twist on a traditional tale of a fallen heroine, with plenty of court intrigue, love, and lies to sweeten the deal. Good luck putting this one down." (Virginia Boecker, author of The Witch Hunter series)

"This searing page-turner is a compelling examination of the complexities of both evil and resistance." (Sarah Porter, author of Vassa in the Night)

©2019 Laura Sebastian (P)2019 Listening Library

What listeners say about Lady Smoke

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Give me book #3!!

At first I was unsure of Saskia Maarleveld, she wasn’t capturing my attention. But about 35 mins in BAM I was hooked! While I wait for the 3rd book I will be checking out other books she has narrated!!

1 person found this helpful

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I'm in love with this series

maybe this is just me, but this book hit exactly all the right notes in my heart to secure this series as my current favourite series of all time.
I have high hopes for the next book, and cannot wait to read or listen to it.
this book took all of the things I loved from book one and just expanded on it. I never knew what was going to happen next and it brought me to tears, laughter and genuinely had my eyes watering with joy on several occasions between the tragic pain.
the performance compliments the story well, and it has become a very important part of my reading/listening experience when it comes to this series.
as always, can't get enough of the Theodosia and her story.

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Captivating

Great story could not put it down can't wait for next book the big battle between the two friends

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Brittany
  • 2019-04-14

A dark and gritty sequel with tons of potential

Lady Smoke picks up right where Ash Princess left off, with Theodosia having escaped the Kaiser and taken back her rightful title as the Queen of Astrea plus a hostage that may or not be the beautiful Prinz Soren. Lady Smoke was honestly a very good follow up to Ash Princess but it didn't wow me like I had anticipated unfortunately. There was just or two things that brought it down to 4 stars for me.

One thing I still absolutely love about this series is the epic world building. In Ash Princess we were mostly limited to seeing Theo being held prisoner by the Kaiser but in Lady Smoke we were able to see more of this bloody and brutal world. Lady Smoke starts off on a ship as Theo tries to put as much distance between herself and the Kaiser as possible. Joining forces with her Aunt, the formidable Dragonsbane, they come up with a plan to take back Astrea and defeat the Kaiser, only issue being they have no army to achieve this. According to Dragonsbane, the only way to secure an army is for Theo to essentially auction herself off to another Kingdom.

This is one of the gripes I have with this book. In Ash Princess we saw Theo go through so much pain, humiliation, and because of it all a lot of growth. She became this strong independent young woman who only wanted to make her mother proud and become the best Queen of Astrea she could be. This never required her to have a husband. In fact, it is even noted from Theo herself that there has NEVER been a Queen of Astrea that took a husband and like, why now? Why did three quarters of this book deal with Theo being auctioned off to the best suitor? Now with that being said, it was still incredibly interesting and entirely gripping to read. There was still mischief and mayhem plus some murders that turned into a 'who dun it' situation and I LOVED it. I'm just a little salty that most of this book was about Theo trying to find a husband 🙃

It's not really a spoiler that the main trope of these books is the love triangle, and while it is a little predictable it is still entirely entertaining. Blaise and Soren are complete opposites and I love that Theo has absolutely no idea what to do with either of them. They are both just giant cinnamon rolls ambling around while also trying to figure out their own feelings.

Most of the action in this sequel is towards the end, but man does it pack a punch. There was more than one time I actually gasped aloud as I was listening to the audiobook at work and I am sure my coworkers were concerned with what was happening to me. No big deal, just going through an emotional trauma over here. I think this sequel set things up very well for Ember Queen, the final book in this series. I am so excited to see how everything plays out!

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • roman bay
  • 2019-04-12

dull ride

I'll start with what I don't like.

the main character was still annoying and immature, either I'm overdosed on YA and getting tiered of teens acting dumb and being immature in their process of thinking. her flaws felt more annoying than a good build up for her growth which didn't really happen anyways.

the story: in all the hours of listening not many major plots happened, and good amount of time was wasted on little side "happennings" that didn't contribute but dragged the story. On top of that there were some plot holes (why and how questions) and the lack of weight behind characters (why are they the way they are).


I would compare this book to microwave dinner , in the end it's semi interesting but I would rather read something else.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ashley
  • 2019-02-19

more enjoyable than book 1

I enjoyed this way more than the torture in Ash Princess. Theo wasn't my favorite main character but her companions and their tales really took over this story in a perfect way.

3 people found this helpful

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  • nancy
  • 2019-03-20

it's ok

I am a huge fan of the court of thorns and roses series . This series pales in comparison ........

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Dei
  • 2020-05-09

Awful

This was a major struggle and predictable. Not work going to the third at all.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Carly
  • 2019-07-18

AMAZING

I absolutely loved this book! I thought the first one was great but I was blown away by this sequel. Theo is the modern heroine we need. She’s smart, cunning, and aware of herself (emotions, flaws, limits, and strengths). She does not apologize for her choices and doesn’t need to be saved by anyone. Also Soren is a breath of fresh air. He respects Theo and her choices and doesn’t try to go behind her back to do what he thinks is right like so many other YA love interests. Finally a guy who doesn’t try to save the heroine, but just supports her. Theo and Soren’s relationship is complex, well paced, but ultimately realistic human interaction, which is refreshing.
I also loved diving into the world outside of Astrea, and see the politics and strategies of other rulers. The world-building is very well developed and even though we get introduced to a lot of characters but all serve a larger purpose and propel the story forward in a beautiful and unexpected way.
Laura Sebastian is such a talented, thoughtful writer! Go pick up this book NOW!

1 person found this helpful

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  • krl
  • 2019-05-26

Loved it!

All of the pieces of the Ash Princess trilogy start to come together in Lady Smoke. Theo continues to grow into her own and the story kept a nice pace. Ended with enough of a tease that I can’t wait for book 3!

Great performance by the narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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  • H. J. Ortiz
  • 2019-04-01

Lady Smoke Book Review

After reading Ash Princess and falling in love with the story, I had to get my hands on the sequel! I pre-ordered Lady Smoke and got it in the mail the day it came out. I put all I had planned for that afternoon and dove right in. I got through about half of the novel that first night; I simply did not want to stop. This novel is an amazing continuation to Ash Princess.

This novel picks up after Theo's escaping the grasp of the Kaiser in the first novel. Theo now fights to gain alliances to take back her throne. Though, she finds herself in a tricky situation. To accomplish her goal, she must sacrifice much of the freedom she fought so hard to gain. She has to negotiate and find the best ally to help her take back her country. She goes through a long journey full of danger and adventure. I was annoyed for a long portion of this novel. In the first novel, I was so annoyed with the Kaiser. I hated him, which was the point of his character. I wanted Theo to kill him and could not wait for that grand finale. It did not end how I wanted, but it gave me hope for good things to come in Lady Smoke.

In Lady Smoke, I was so annoyed, in the same manner, with Dragonsbane. I mean, in a sense, her character is trying to help the naive Theo get the best alliance, but Dragonsbane just got on my nerves. I had hopes that she would be like a Professor Snape character: one readers hate/are annoyed with until the very end. That hope for the character kept me invested in her as a character. I wanted her to actually become likable.

Audible Review:

Maarleveld does an such an  excellent job narrating this second novel in the Ash Princess series! She effectively captivates the emotions of the characters and gives the listening experience a satisfactory feeling of being submerged in the story. However, just as the first novel, I did have to read at more than a 1.5 speed. 1.0 speed was too slow for me, and was quite dreadful to listen in that speed. At 1.25 speed, Maarleveld's narration is about the speed I read, so I enjoyed it at that speed more. However, I did want to get through it quicker so I listened to it at a faster listening speed. For those of us who like to multitask and listen on the go, I recommend listening at a 1.75 speed, so one does not miss anything. For those who are listening while reading the book, I found 2.0 and 2.5 speed to be the best speeds. 3.0 was too fast for me, and I was missing a lot of what the narrator was saying and had to eventually slow down the narrator's reading speed. 

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Denise
  • 2019-03-30

I was distracted

To be perfectly fair, I was distracted while I listened to this story as I was very involved with another story that grabbed me (yes I read and listen to multiple books at a time). This rarely happens to me, as I can separate my many stories. So my overall impression was that, while very good, it wasn’t as good as the first book. It felt rushed in some parts, and easily victorious in other parts. The narrator was excellent though.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Trinity
  • 2019-02-13

Amazing sequel!

The book was enthralling throughout. The ending made me crave the next book. I'm astounded again by this wonderful author. I am transfixed by the narrators voice. Will listen to, again and again.

1 person found this helpful