ARC Review: The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Title: The Smoke Thieves

Author: Sally Green

Category: YA Fantasy

Publisher/Date: Viking/1 May 2018

Edition: eARC



Barnes and Noble:

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?

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley during LibraryCon LIVE! This book has content warnings for some domestic abuse, violence, and death.

This book was just okay for me — it wasn’t awful, but it really struggled to grab my attention and I felt like I was dragging myself through it without much to hold onto. I didn’t care for most of the characters; the only character I connected with well was Catherine, and her POV chapters were the ones that most easily kept my attention. The other characters bored me to some degree; they were not very interesting and often made decisions that caused me to roll my eyes, and I really don’t like reading characters like that because then I tend to focus on the decisions that they probably should have made and it detracts from the story for me. A bad decision once in a while is one thing; when they’re repetitive I can’t really stand it — and most of these characters were constantly making oddball decisions.

I also struggled with the changing points-of-view in this book. The Game of Thrones comparison is pretty accurate in terms of the book’s structure, but the story hopped between settings with characters that I just didn’t like very much (and not the hate-to-like kind of characters from GoT — just ones that didn’t mesh with me), and that made getting through those chapters to get to the more interesting ones (Catherine’s chapters, primarily) a bit of a drag. The execution could have been better; I felt like I was being jerked around a lot in this book.

The premise of the book was cool and the plot was rather interesting; the characters in the book kind of detracted from that for me, though. It wasn’t a terrible book and I didn’t hate it, but it just wasn’t one that did anything for me. I think this book would work well with some readers, but it wasn’t the right book for me.

Final rating: 3 of 5 stars

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