Author: Laura Sebastian
Series: Ash Princess #2
Published: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 492
From: Barnes and Noble
Rating: 6/10

“Freedom comes at a price.” So says the cover of Lady Smoke, the second in the young adult trilogy by new author Laura Sebastian. Lady Smoke is more my style of novel, complete with ships, fighting, magic, arguments, and all the things someone who loves high and epic fantasy loves to read. And Sebastian does a lovely job of including all of these aspects.

Lady Smoke takes up after Ash Princess ends, after Theo’s failed assassination attempt on the prince and their escape together, only to be picked up and Soren kept as a prisoner. Not to mention the number of curveballs Sebastian throws in are ruthless for a reader. I highly enjoyed them, as it made a story that could very well have been vanilla and basic into something with more character and conflict.

I would not say this is Laura Sebastian’s best work. I feel like a lot of authors suffer from imposter syndrome, or something along the lines of the second novel being less than the first in a variety of ways. I think Lady Smoke fits that description, because of the excessive verbiage that was unnecessary. I find some books need to be 500 pages, while others could have been edited down about 100 or more pages just by taking out fluff, and Lady Smoke fits the latter. I say that, but, I also enjoyed it. I enjoyed the world building and magic systems, and the characters. I personally am very much into the idea of Blaise not being a love interest, but more of a liability (mostly because I adore Soren).

I have already started on Ember Queen with Nav (@navigatingthroughthepages), and I’m hoping it surpasses the feeling Lady Smoke gave me, which I imagine it will if Sebastian’s cliffhangers are anything to go by. I just know that the more Laura Sebastian writes, the better she gets, and I cannot wait to see what she can do with a story less typical and more imagined and unreal.

Laura Sebastian’s books can be purchased wherever books are sold, including Barnes and Noble and your local independent bookstore. For more reviews on Sebastian’s second novel, and the second in the series, check out Steph’s Story Space review here and Claire Catacouzinos’ review here.

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