2022 Book Review: Lady Smoke

Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian

YA Fantasy, 2019 by Delacorte Press, 512 Pages 

What I Didn’t Like:

  • It’s slow. That is the EXACT OPPOSITE of book 1 in this series which I liked particularly because it moved fast. This one suffered from a lack of major plot points and a lot of cycling around the same ones repeatedly. 
  • It didn’t go where I wanted it to. When I reviewed book 1 I was so excited to get more into Cress and that entire line I thought I saw coming. Do I think I was wrong in that oh-yay-they-surprised-me way? Nope. I think this was a bridge book to build that up even more. Unfortunately bridge books are normally incredibly dull and can often be skipped. 
  • I still don’t like Theo and it’s becoming a problem. In book 1 I mentioned there were shades of her personality that I did like. I’m not sure what those were because they’re gone now. She came across as selfish and spoiled this entire book. 
  • One more. The love triangle didn’t work. It’s forced and sloppy. 

What I Did Like:

  • The ending is a cliffhanger that makes you want to read the third one because it’s just getting good. 
  • Soren. I feel like he’s an interesting and complex character I’d like to explore. I felt the same way about Cress in book one so I have little hope that we’ll get that chance before this series is over, but I do like his character. 
  • The treatment of refugees and the hiding of a nation’s problems from the elite guests struck home. That’s real things thrown into fantasy and I am HERE for that. It was also nice to see Theo learn those lessons and face those realities head on. 

Who Should Read This One:

  • Strange to say this after telling people who like fast-paced fantasy to read book one, but if you are the kind of reader who likes slower quiet fantasy that digs into political issues under the guise of fantasy you’ll like this one. To enjoy the series as a whole you may have to be a patient reader.

My Rating: 3 stars.

  • It’s good but it’s wildly different from book 1 so be aware of that!

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