The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green book cover

Information

Goodreads: The Smoke Thieves
Series: The Smoke Thieves #1
Source: Purchased
Published: May 1, 2018

Official Summary

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, feckless 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?

Star Divider

Review

The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green is an interesting high fantasy that weaves together multiple POVs of characters from a variety of walks of life: a demon hunter, a princess, a royal body guard, a trader’s son, a servant. The book will likely appeal to anyone who generally likes these types of stories, as the world-building is interesting and the plot is fairly fast-paced, but I do think the characterization was lacking and that it was difficult to actually connect with the characters.

My complete apathy towards characters is always something I find difficult to explain. In The Smoke Thieves, it isn’t that there are “too many” characters or that Green doesn’t describe them and their personalities and their motivations in some detail. On paper, everything looks done right, yet I never actually cared about any of these people. Characters die left and right in the story, some minor and some important enough I should have felt some emotion after their demise and yet…I never did. And that makes the book feel flat.

The one thing I can explain is the complete lack of romantic chemistry between the princess and her body guard. While the soldier seems like a nice guy and exhibits a remarkable amount of loyalty and willingness to sacrifice for the woman he loves…I just never had any idea of why they liked each other or how their “relationship” came about. From the descriptions in the book, it seems as if the two of them barely talked, so the idea they would risk everything to have some sort of forbidden true love affair seemed absurd to me. The solider’s over-the-top loyalty actually made me think of it a bit like a devoted puppy rather than a serious, swoon-worthy love interest.

And yet…I did enjoy the book. Plot-wise, it was interesting. I might have liked a bit more complexity, but I thought the explanation of the political systems and the relationships of the various countries were thought-through and made for good political intrigue, and I liked reading about the daily activities of most of the characters. (I admit I hated every time I saw a chapter about Edyon or March; they simply bored me. This is a risk with any story with multiple POVs, however.) Overall, I just want to know how things are going to turn out.

The element of the demon smoke is also interesting and not quite like anything I’ve read before, and I think focusing more on demons would be fascinating in book two, if that’s a route the author can take. I am very open to reading the sequel, which is always the mark of a successful series opener for me, even if the book isn’t perfect.

4 stars
Briana

2 thoughts on “The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

  1. cryptomathecian says:

    Also in real life their is very often a strong chemistry between princesses and their bodyguards. Think of Princess Stéphanie of Monaco who began a relationship with her bodyguard Daniel Ducruet in 1992. The couple have two children. Or Princess Anne of the UK and Mark Philips. And there are probably more but these two were the ones that came straight away into my mind.

    Like

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