Pitched as “perfect for Game of Thrones fans”, I went into The Smoke Thieves with relative ease. I’ve never read or watched GoT, but from what I’ve heard there’s a lot of killing…and sex. Maybe some fighting? I don’t know. I hardly hear about that. Oh wait, and there’s DRAGONS.
Anywho, I picked up this ARC from the PenguinTeen booth while at the North Texas Teen Book Festival earlier this year. I had hoped to read it before the release date, but that (obviously) didn’t happen. 😛
Title: The Smoke Thieves (The Smoke Thieves #1)
Author: Sally Green
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release date: May 1, 2018
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Length: 532 pages
Synopsis (via Goodreads): “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.”
*sigh* Well, this book took me a loooong time to get through. Mainly because I simply didn’t want to continue picking it up. But I have this weird thing where if I get an ARC, I have this ridiculous thought that I need to read it even if I don’t really care for it. It’s a weird mentality to have but alas, here I am.
I haven’t read Green’s previous trilogy, Half Bad, so I don’t know her nuances in writing style. A lot of this book felt…stilted. Like a lot of conversations were forced, and left me completely dissatisfied.
This book follows five characters: Princess Catherine; Sir Ambrose, the royal guard meant to protect her; Tash, a demon hunter; March, a servant seeking revenge for his lost countrymen; and Edyon, a thief with an obscure past. Normally, I don’t mind multiple POVs as long as it’s done well. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case here. I felt as if I was plopped right in the middle of the scene without much build-up. Truthfully, I was only interested in Catherine, but only barely. I think I simply felt sympathy for her, and was glad to see her come to her own as the book progressed. It was a struggle for me to care about the other characters.
I also had a hard time finding the main conflict. Each character has their own external and internal one, but as an overarching plot, I kept asking myself, “How? Why?” It didn’t make sense, and even by the end of the book, I was just at a complete lose, simply glad it was over.
Yes, there was some intrigue and mystery, but I never felt completely drawn into the story or invested in the characters. So this book was a flop for me.