Title: The Smoke Thieves (The Smoke Thieves #1)
Author: Sally Green
ARC provided by Penguin First to Read.
I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this since I had seen some mixed reviews. I think we can all agree that the YA Fantasy genre is pretty saturated and it’s difficult to find books that meet our expectations. It wasn’t until I was almost at the half-way mark that I realized I was actively looking for something wrong as I was reading. The Smoke Thieves was better than I had been expecting and a great start to a new fantasy series!
The Smoke Thieves is told through the points of views of the five characters. Each POV felt like it had a unique voice, which made it easy to distinguish between each of them. I really enjoyed both March and Edyon’s stories, and how they eventually wove together. Of all the characters, though, I liked Catherine the best. Coming from Brigant, a country that oppresses and belittles women, she becomes more sure of herself and gains a degree of independence as the story progresses. I enjoyed reading her chapters…as long as she wasn’t mooning over Ambrose, which was quite a bit. The romance between them was bland. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to believe the depth of their feelings and the love they say they have for one another, when Catherine and Ambrose both admit they’ve only exchanged a handful of looks and conversations, none of which were exactly deep and meaningful. Ambrose’s chapters were similarly full of him pining over Catherine and constantly thinking about her. I liked him the least out of everyone and actually found his POV to be a little unnecessary.
Prince Tzsayn, on the other hand, is a character I would love to learn more about in the next book! I enjoyed his interactions with Catherine and their blossoming friendship. I know I’m definitely setting myself up for failure and disappointment, but I’m hoping that something develops between Tzsayn and Catherine in the future books, because I think there’s a lot of potential there.
The pacing of the story was perfect; not too fast, and not too slow. The writing was engaging and I quickly made my way through the pages. There was plenty of action, and the romances (even the one I wasn’t keen on) stayed firmly in the background. The Smoke Thieves was a wonderful start to a new YA Fantasy series by Sally Green and I look forward to reading the next book!