Published By: Penguin
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Synopsis: A princess, a traitor, a soldier, a hunter and a thief.
Five teenagers with the fate of the world in their hands.
Five nations destined for conflict.
In Brigant, Princess Catherine prepares for a political marriage arranged by her brutal and ambitious father, while her true love, Ambrose, faces the executioner’s block.
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 five 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?
Review: This was my first venture into a Sally Green world, and I have to admit, I was left with some mixed feelings.
The Smoke Thieves is set in a medieval world filled with past wars, invasions and loads of animosity. The story takes place over three kingdoms kingdoms Brigant, Calidor and Pitoria, and is told from multiple POVs, five in fact. I personally like multiple POV stories and I am grateful for it with this particular story as I don’t know if I would have liked being stuck with any single one for the characters for too long. Or maybe that is just the impression I got because of the multiple POV? I felt that there was not enough depth, or backstory, for most these characters – maybe that was because it was so choppy and changing between characters, or maybe that was all there was to tell? So while I do like living a story through the eyes of multiple characters, there is a real risk of the story and characters being spread too thin.
So, which points of view do we have? Princess Catherine who is struggling to walk the line what was to be expected of her and what she wants; her ever-loyal bodyguard, Ambrose, who will risk it all; a servant, March, who seemingly wants revenge at all costs; a spoiled thief, Edyon, who wants more than a bastard is entitled; and one hell of a feisty little demon hunter, Tash.
I feel that the depth just wasn’t there with these characters. There was certainly potential, but it wasn’t utilised. There was certainly some positive strengths within these characters, but I just wanted more. My primary issue was the relationships between characters and one character in particular, Catherine.
Catherine was very smart and cunning in gaining and using power within this male dominated world, however I felt it was a slow start to get her here and felt there was a lack of depth to her feelings regarding a lot of things – including her own romantic feelings.
Now, back to the relationships. In truth, all the relationships let me down in some way. I wanted more from the relationship between March and Edyon – and I do hope we get more in the next instalment as I felt there is loads of potential here but so far it is only superficial. But the relationship between Tash and her demon hunting partner was probably my biggest disappointment as I felt that there was so much more relationship development and depth that could have been shown, and I actually feel a little ripped off that we didn’t get more of this. I think this relationship in particular had the potential to be as endearing as it was dangerous.
This could certainly be an intriguing world, and for fans of lighter fantasy stories this could be just up your alley! Personally, I hope that we get more world-building in future instalments, as I prefer more intricate fantasy stories. But in saying this, I can see the beginnings of an intricate overall plot, so this gives me hope for the rest of the series. I wanted more of the demon and the smoke element… there is a whole lot of background information that we are missing here, but I feel that this will be covered in future instalments, which does excite me. These aspects clearly play a big part in this story, however we only get a little taster of them in The Smoke Thieves.
Overall I enjoyed The Smoke Thieves, but I didn’t desperately love it. I do think it was a good beginning to what could be an enjoyable series, however I was left just a little flat for certain aspects. The story certainly picks up towards the end when paths cross and actions cause other paths to crumble, and then the actions really starts. But I will say, I was not a fan of the ending! I don’t know if this is Sally Green’s style as I have not read her other work (they are on my TBR pile), but this is not the type of ending I enjoy. While I do not like (especially for the first in a series) for everything to be wrapped up in a tight little bow, I feel that way too much was left open. I literally turned the page expecting another chapter and all I got was acknowledgements (noooooo – not just when it was getting really interesting!)
This world certainly has deception and heart at the centre of it. And I hope to see way more of this into the future. Overall I did enjoy this book, I just wanted a little more. More character depth, more backstory and motivators, more feels, more world building and more smoke and demons – and if we get that in the next book, this could be really great series.