Published by Viking Books for Young Readers on May 1, 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
A shrewd princess whose father is plotting against her. A brave soldier turned traitor. A loyal servant on a quest to avenge his family. A streetwise demon smoke hunter in desperate need of money. A charming thief with no clue about his true identity. Their lives would never intersect, until a war between kingdoms bubbles up, and the dangerous truth about demon smoke intertwines all their fates. Welcome to The Smoke Thieves, a tangled web of political intrigue, shifting alliances, and forbidden love, in a world where sometimes no amount of magic can keep you safe.
The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green was a pleasant surprise! I suspected I would like it, but I did not know just how much I’d love it.
Some may be familiar with author Sally Green from her Half Bad trilogy. However, The Smoke Thieves was my first experience with her writing. I promise you that it won’t be my last! Green’s writing is articulate and fluent and thoroughly enjoyable.
This is a BEAST of a book — the start of an epic medieval fantasy trilogy. I believe it sets up the series nicely, though I do wish that in doing so, there was a little more action. The pacing is a bit on the slower side, but the premise, plotting, and structure give it an “unputdownable” quality, in my opinion. I read this as part of a group with 3 other ladies, and we all agreed that if it wasn’t a group read, we likely would have binged it.
This book has 5 points of view: Tash (a demon smoke hunter), Catherine (a princess), Ambrose (a soldier turned traitor), March (a servant), and Edyon (a thief). The characters each have a unique background and, thus, give the reader a distinctively varied view of the world Green built. 5 POVs may sound overwhelming, but Green did a spectacular job interweaving their stories in a cohesive manner. Characters and story lines slowly converge creating a nice arc.
I liked the female POVs most! Catherine’s character has so much growth and Tash is a spunky little ray of light. Though I loved the main characters, I wish some of the secondary characters got a little more development and attention. Despite that, one of my absolute favorites is a secondary character — Prince Tzsayn. I also found myself loving to hate Boris and Holywell.
The Smoke Thieves is spread out, geographically, to start, which I really enjoyed because it adds more political intrigue and offers a good comparison of cultures. Pitoria was, by far, my favorite setting! I thought Green did a great job with the world-building, but that may also be because she spent so much time and a lot of pages on this. It may seem exhaustive or unnecessary to some, but I found it beneficial and helpful in giving the series a solid foundation.
Overall, I would recommend The Smoke Thieves! YA Fantasy fans should enjoy this unique story with fascinating protagonists. I do think readers need patience to allow everything to fall into place, which requires reading beyond the first 100 pages. So far, this is my favorite read of 2018, and I hope other readers have an equally satisfying experience with it. Needless to say, I am looking forward to book 2!
“Tash had thought demons were scary, but men could be just as bad.“