I’m so excited to be sharing my review of The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green on this stop on the blog tour hosted by Penguin Young Readers!
ARC provided by Penguin Young Readers in exchange for an honest review
Book: The Smoke Thieves
Series: The Smoke Thieves, #1
Author: Sally Green
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Format: Advance reading copy
My rating: ★★★
The start to an epic medieval fantasy trilogy, perfect for young Game of Thrones fans.A shrewd princess whose father is plotting against her. A loyal servant on a quest to avenge his family. A streetwise demon smoke hunter in desperate need of money. A charming thief whom everyone is hunting. They are four teenagers whose lives would never intersect, until a war between kingdoms bubbles up, and the dangerous truth about demon smoke intertwines all their fates. It’s 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 is a medieval fantasy that centers around five characters, and each chapter alternates between five POV’s. While these characters may live in different kingdoms, one thing that remains true in each kingdom is that demon smoke is illegal. Demon smoke is essentially “blood” from a demon. Once a demon is slain, it expels smoke. The smoke can be contained in a bottle and sold for a hefty price. Demon smoke is popular for its psychedelic properties, but it may hold other powers as well.
Aside from the demon smoke, two kingdoms are preparing for the marriage between the Princess of Brigant and the Prince of Pitoria. The marriage is a complete political move to form alliances, and everyone is eager to make it happen. From here the story diverges in five different directions with the demon smoke eventually bringing them together.
The 5 Main Characters:
- Catherine – The Princess of Brigant. Her father, King Aloysius, is a tyrant who forces her into marriage with a prince. (Also: shout out to her brother, Boris, who is LITERALLY THE WORST.)
- Ambrose – Catherine’s bodyguard who will go to the ends of the Earth to protect Catherine.
- Tash – The demon hunter. Tash is only 13 years old but she’s sharp-witted and fast. She travels with a man named Gravell, where they work as a team to slay demons and sell the demon smoke.
- Edyon – A kleptomaniac who soon discovers he may end up being an important figure in this political game.
- March – A servant who leaves the kingdom in search of revenge for his people.
As always with my book reviews, I like to list out all the things I liked and disliked. I categorically call it “The Good and The Bad.”
- Strong, tough female characters. Catherine has major character growth as she goes from a quiet, obedient princess to a shrewd and cunning leader. Also I think Tash is such a badass, fearless character.
- The setting. I am a sucker for anything medieval. I love the fashion and the era in general. Even though this setting is fictional, I loved how the world building wasn’t too complex and easy to follow. (Bonus points for the awesome map!)
- LGBTQ rep. I’m glad to be seeing more of this in YA literature.
- The humor and witty banter. I found myself laughing out loud during exchanges between Tash and Gravell. Those two make a hilarious, albeit strange, pair.
- The multiple POV’s. I’m going to include in this both the good and bad category. I really like multiple POV’s because it helps give us a much broader understanding of a story. I like to learn about each character’s background and how they contribute to the narrative.
- Not as much magic as expected. The demon smoke plays a vital role in this book, however I was expecting some more magical elements.
- Lack of dark politics. I was expecting very dark politics since this book has been compared to Game of Thrones. While there were definitely some brutal parts, I was hoping to see more since I am a big fan of morally grey characters within a dark, political environment. However, if you aren’t a fan of gruesome scenes, then I think this book will be right up your alley!
- The multiple POV’s. Yep, here it is again! While I am personally a fan of multiple POV’s, I was hoping to get a little more character development from March and Tash. Also, I wanted everyone’s paths to cross much earlier in the book, but I had to wait longer than expected. If you aren’t a fan of multiple POV’s, then this might not be the book for you.
- The swearing. A LOT of F-bombs. Don’t get me wrong; swearing does not bother me at all. But by a certain point it just became very redundant. However, I do applaud the author for not using made-up swear words. I come across too much of that in YA, and it is always a bit cringe-worthy. So I absolutely appreciate seeing “real” curse words LOL.
While I felt like things moved a bit slowly at times, I found this book to be quite the page-turner. I would recommend this for fans of medieval fantasy or if you like books told from several perspectives. By the time I finished this book things were really starting to heat up and now I feel so invested in these characters. I am looking forward to the next book!
Sally Green lives in northwest England. She has had various jobs and even a profession, but in 2010 she discovered a love of writing and now just can’t stop. She used to keep chickens, makes decent jam, doesn’t mind ironing, loves to walk in Wales even when it’s raining, and will probably never jog again. She really ought to drink less coffee. She is the author of the Half Bad trilogy. Follow her @Sa11eGreen.
The Smoke Thieves releases on May 1, 2018. Thank you to Penguin Young Readers for sending me this advanced readers’ copy and for hosting this blog tour. And thank you for stopping by my blog!