The Smoke Thieves Review

Monday, 2 April 2018

Rating: 5/5
Source: Proof curtesy of Penguin

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? 
For me, a book like this is driven by it's characters as much as it is the plot. I loved everyone. My favourites were Catherine, Tash and March which is three out of the five main characters, I do really like Ambrose and Edyon too I'm picking favourites from a really great bunch. If I have to pick one, I'd probably choose Catherine, but Tash is a very close second.

Catherine is fierce. She’s knows what’s right and wrong and at least where her brother is concerned, she is willing to stand up for it. Being a woman, even a Princess is a dangerous thing in this story, not unlike the real world in some instances. Catherine is a second class citizen despite being of royal birth, daughters are good for one thing and that’s marrying off. Living a sheltered life, Catherine didn’t get to socialise with many people who weren’t her maids or guards. One of those guards was Sir Ambrose.

Ambrose is honourable and kind and smart enough to know that any feelings he has for Princess Catherine must be kept hidden. Even a look can be trouble, and trouble occurs. 

Tash is a little spitfire and gave me Arya Stark vibes, who is one of my favourite literary characters. As well as being a badass and a demon hunter, I loved how obsessed with boots Tash was, it was a fun little detail that stuck with me. She’s a tough nut and a warrior at heart, but she’s still a girl who likes nice things -which I thought was great. Too often strong female characters are written without any female stereotypes, like an addiction to shoes. Tash can fight a demon and be fashionable and I love her for that.

March has been betrayed by the king he thought had always had his back, now he's out for revenge. He is one of the few remaining Abask people, those who do remain are in some kind of service to royals, this leads March and fellow Abask surviver Holywell to seek out the kings bastard and potential demise. March's storyline is going to really shine in book 2 I can tell, and I can't wait for that. 

Edyon is another character who is going to have a great story in book 2, I can't say much more without spoiling things -but you will love him too. 

This is a very political story with a lot of references to drug use (inhaling demon smoke). So while this is a fantasy story there is a lot more going on than just knights and princesses. 

The comparison to Game of Thrones/A Song Of Ice and Fire was more to do with the format in my opinion, there would have had to have been sex and dragons for it to be totally Game of Thrones. There was a lot of swearing and violence and the inhaling of demon smoke, which is a form of drug taking. Like with GOT, I couldn't one hundred percent work out how the characters were going to fit around each other, but I knew one day they were going to meet and I was so ready for it.

The end of this book, no spoilers, has set up the next one perfectly. There was a lot of build up to a sudden and dramatic climax, even if you didn't completely get on with this book I think you're going to want to read the next one just to see what happens and whether certain characters get together, oh yes, there's one of those relationships for you to ship like mad for the next year or so while we wait for book two. 

Sally Green has fully captured me with this new series and I already find myself at a loose end without more. The Smoke Thieves is released on May 1st and I recommend you pick up a copy even if it is because the finished book is gorgeous and is complete with sprayed purple pages, I know I'll be getting one.

Thanks for reading!

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