The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

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The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Judy Davies
Reviewed by Judy Davies
Summary: Sally Green's The Smoke Thieves is stunningly successful in pulling together all the main ingredients for a brilliant, fast paced story. She has created an unusual and innovative tale, with the feel of an old fashioned epic adventure in foreign lands. With both noble and despicable characters, it is exciting from first page to last. There are fantastic beasts and some gory scenes, but throughout runs a compelling and engaging narrative.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 512 Date: May 2018
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780141375397

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Tension exists among the kingdoms surrounding the Pitorian Sea, and peace is definitely not on everyone's agenda. Instead power is sought by force, and political manoeuvring of the worst kind sees families torn apart and innocent victims swept up in the fallout. This story of warring nations is fast moving from page one, and the main characters, who move between kingdoms, face challenge after challenge. There are five separate story lines, each led by a colourful and interesting character, and Sally Green weaves them together beautifully like a tapestry as their paths cross and their lives intertwine.

I love a book that starts with a map, and The Smoke Thieves does just that in delivering a fascinating world set around the Pitorian Sea. Catherine from Brigant, is a Princess who is due to marry into the Pitorian Royal family, and take as her husband a man she has never met. Meanwhile Tash, a young girl from Pitoria, travels to the Northlands and faces danger every day in her job as hunter for the prized demon smoke. March, a servant from Calidor, turns against his master and seeks revenge for his family and homeland, Abask.

These three characters and two others, tell the story of the Pitorian Lands, taking it in turns to star in their own chapters throughout the book. This works well, even though at first one wonders how Sally Green will bring five such disparate story threads together. I particularly like the lead women in The Smoke Thieves, with the strength and poise of Princess Catherine contrasting brilliantly with the artfulness of the hunter girl, Tash. Both are fearless and principled heroines of this tale.

In true adventure story style, though, we soon meet the mean spirited and ruthless anti-heroes, Catherine's brother and father. Their thirst for power is all consuming and they are plotting relentlessly throughout the story. I like the way Sally Greene manages to weave in a little of the history of the Pitorian Lands, and it is a dark and cruel one. This is nicely in contrast to some of the lighter hearted characters, for instance, Edyon, who is a young adult enjoying life with a travelling fair.

The Smoke Thieves is a pacey read and gets gripping early on so the reader is encouraged to keep turning the pages. There are twists and turns along the way and suspense is expertly built. I was worried I might not like the constantly changing points of view as the main characters take each chapter in turn, but in the end I found I was happy to move between protagonists and find out how their adventures were going, like re-meeting old friends throughout the book. I think it takes a very skilled story teller to achieve this effect and I am longing to lay my hands on book two.

An excellent read for fans of epic fantasy tales such as The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien or the Song of Fire and Ice series (e.g. A Feast for Crows by George R R Martin.

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Buy The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green at


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