Good morning, you guys! I hope you’ve all had a nice start to your day and that Monday hasn’t been treating you badly! Today actually marks the first day of me starting this program that is supposed to help me find, apply for and get a job so I might be even less active (if that’s even possible, at this point) when it comes to reading everyone’s posts. 🙁 But as my mom said, it has been too long since I stopped going to school and I really need to get a job so I can get some more experience in the field that I want to work in, so I’m hoping that this will bring me much, much closer to that goal!
So yeah, that’s what I’ll be doing for the foreseeable future which is hopefully going to be fun. But more than anything, I hope I’ll still have enough time to dedicate to reading because what if I suddenly don’t have enough time anymore??? That would be horrible, let me tell you!
But, let’s not ramble on for too much longer and instead get to the point already! A couple of months ago, I was asked if I wanted to read and review The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green and obviously, I agreed to it but then it took me forever to actually read the book – because I kept picking up other books instead. But I finally did it and I’m so happy about I did! Let’s just get right to it, shall we?
A princess, a traitor, a hunter and a thief. Four teenagers with the fate of the world in their hands. Four nations destined for conflict.
In Brigant, Princess Catherine prepares for a loveless political marriage arranged by her brutal and ambitious father. In Calidor, downtrodden servant March seeks revenge on the prince who betrayed his people. In Pitoria, reckless Edyon steals cheap baubles for cheaper thrills as he drifts from town to town. And in the barren northern territories, thirteen-year-old Tash is running for her life as she plays bait for the gruff demon hunter Gravell.
As alliances shift and shatter, and old certainties are overturned, our four heroes find their past lives transformed and their futures inextricably linked by the unpredictable tides of magic and war. Who will rise and who will fall? And who will claim the ultimate prize? (via goodreads)
To make sure that I don’t repeat myself here (or, repeat what was said in the Goodreads summary), I’ll just quickly touch on one point in the plot that I felt wasn’t executed the way I had hoped it would be – the smoke thieving that the book title suggests.
Yes, we do follow two characters who are demon hunters (they kill demons in order to collect the smoke that is released upon their death) but I feel like in the overall scheme of the book, the demon hunting and smoke thieving fell pretty short compared to the other plot points. Plus, we don’t learn too much about demons and the smoke they release just yet – which I expected we would get at least some more information. Or more than we get, overall.
But other than that, I really enjoyed the plot of this book and where the author took the story. As this was the first book in a series, it did feel quite a bit like a set up for the following novels which is why I couldn’t give this book a full five star (or five coffee cups) rating. But that’s okay, honestly. I don’t really expect the first book in a series to knock me off my feet completely!
In The Smoke Thieves, we follow five different perspectives throughout the entire novel even though the Goodreads description only mentions four of them – which is kind of weird. Especially since the cover also lists five characters? Oh well! Let me tell you a little bit about each of them. 🙂
The very first person we’re introduced to is 13-year-old Tash who works as a demon hunter with her partner Gravell. Due to Tash’s size and quickness, she often acts as bait for demons and gets herself into quite the situations because of it. And while Tash may be the youngest of our five characters, she was still really fun to get to know and follow around on her journey across Pitoria.
Up next, we’re introduced to 16-year-old Princess Catherine of Brigant who is ordered to witness her bodyguard’s sister’s execution as a lesson as to what happens to those who cross the king. During the execution, Catherine gets a message in sign language that she can’t quite decipher yet but does her absolute best over the course of the book. But that’s not the only thing Catherine has to deal with, she is also about to travel to Pitoria to be married to Prince Tzsayn, a man she has never met before.
At the same time that we meet Catherine, we’re also introduced to her 21-year-old bodyguard Ambrose who continues to find himself in unfortunate situations that lead him to flee his home country in order to survive.
The last two characters we’re introduced to are 16-year-old March and 17-year-old Edyon whose paths cross when March sets off on his mission to reunite Prince Thelonius with his bastard son Edyon. But getting Edyon from his home in Dornan to Pitoria won’t be easy – for either of them.
I have to say, I had so much fun getting to know these characters and see them grow and develop over the course of the book and I am probably most excited to see where Catherine’s story goes in the second book because of the growth she underwent in this novel alone! She starts off as this young girl who is controlled by her father and brother and the closer she gets to her new home, the more independent she becomes. She has a brain and she uses it. She uses pretty dresses and fashion to her advantage when needed and makes the people fall in love her thanks to it.
The other characters and more importantly character dynamic I’m really interested in seeing develop further is that of March and Edyon! Edyon early on voices his interest in March and tries to convince him to give whatever there is between them a chance to develop further which March isn’t quite ready to do for his very own reasons.
I think there might be a bit of a love triangle happening in the next book and that’s something I’m really not interested in. So I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that Sally Green doesn’t take the story there – it would also feel like an unnecessary and cheap way to create drama. *shrugs*
The Smoke Thieves features quite a bit of traveling throughout the novel but luckily it is done in a way that never feels boring or drawn out. The world building did take a bit of time and the story only really took off for me at around the 35% mark but once we got to that point it was full speed ahead and I loved it!
I actually read a good chunk of the second half while watching my nephew and I got so sucked into the story that I didn’t want to be interrupted by the little guy with random questions or requests that I play with him (which I obviously did, my nephews usually still win out against pretty much any book) that’s how good the story got for me!
And it’s exactly that feeling that I love whenever I read a new-to-me author or start a new series. I think it’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of world building and the info dumping that often happens – especially in the first book of a new series. But once the story actually takes off and you feel yourself enjoying it more and more – that makes getting through the world building worth it, in my opinion.
Before The Smoke Thieves, I had never read a book by Sally Green before – I had heard about her Half Bad trilogy and if I’m remembering correctly, it used to go around booktube quite a bit when it was first released, but it just never really caught my attention for whatever reason.
But, when I was contacted about possibly receiving this book, I was hooked pretty quickly because it sounded like it would be right up my alley, so I agreed to receive the book.
And I have to say, Sally Green didn’t disappoint! Her writing was really easy to follow and I would often get through chunks of the books without even noticing it which is the best thing that could happen to me!
It did take me a while to finally get to this book but that was just my own laziness and down to the fact that I kept picking up other books instead and had nothing to do with the book itself.
I also decided to get the audiobook for this which made the reading experience even more fun because each point of view had a different narrator which helped to keep the events separate in my mind – especially once characters start to cross paths more and more!
I Would Drink A Lot Of Coffee To Finish This Book!
Luckily for all of you guys who read this review and got curious and want to pick this book up themselves, YOU CAN! Because it’s already been released in the US and the UK so make sure you get your hands on this through your trusted bookseller!
And, I want to know! Have you guys read The Smoke Thieves yet or do you at least have it on your TBR already? Or was I maybe even able to get you curious and you’ll add this to your TBR after this? Are you? Are you? Hmmm? 😉
For those of you who are familiar with Sally Green’s other works, how did this book compare and is it worth checking out her first series? I know my TBR is already pretty long and I probably shouldn’t add anything else to it – but we also know that reasonable thinking isn’t always a strong suit for us bookworms!
So, down in the comments! Tell me why I should or shouldn’t read Sally Green’s earlier works and tell me if this book has made it onto your TBR or not (and what I need to do to make you add it)!