‘The Smoke Thieves’ – Sally Green

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.

Four key characters, and we switch perspectives so it can seem slow on occasion. However, the story puts in place a promising idea for the next part in the series.
We are introduced in turn to Tash (a young demon-hunter who risks her life every time she goes out), princess Catherine (a young girl forced to marry someone she’s never met), March (a servant who is determined to avenge the suffering of his people) and the bastard son of the prince, Edyon (a common thief).

It takes some time for us to work out what’s going on, and the crux of the story isn’t revealed until very near the end so it could leave some readers a little disappointed. I felt it took time to establish the voices of the different characters, and the mix of viewpoints inevitably left me feeling they weren’t as fleshed out as I’d have liked.

That said, the world is reasonably presented and there is plenty here to get your attention. The rather obvious love triangle seems unnecessary – I’d hope Catherine will come into her own as the series continues – and I remain unconvinced by the attempts to depict a relationship that is not heterosexual. However, the premise of the story and some of the secondary characters more than make up for the areas that don’t seem so successful.

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