4 Stars for the “Enjoyable” Fantasy

by Shelee Juarez, Staff Writer

The Smoke Thieves was a cleverly plotted and constructed fantasy filled with intrigue and many active storylines. From its vast array of POVs to its wide range of participating characters, it is not a story to to read passively. Instead, it insists that you engage and follow along. As the story builds and beguiles, each characters’ purpose slowly revealed itself and it quickly became a pleasure to ride along beside.

Most enjoyable were its many characters and their individual journeys to convergence. I adored the complexities to each of them; how the world was viewed and experienced unique to their lenses and pasts, and the driving forces inside them. Secrets and lies and deceptions were aplenty and it made for an eventful and tense build. Under all of that, though, is the beauty of friendship, family, romance, and allegiance—all warring within every character differently and contrasting against their expected paths. It was easy to follow along with every player and feel the starkness of their personalities and understand their motives. And though the second half lacked the verve that the first half had, it is still an enjoyable read from start to finish that beautifully offset its battles and violence with well-written plot-building moments.

The Smoke Thieves is a fascinating story with so many intricate parts that all come together to form an exciting start to a series. The adoration I feel for many of these characters is vast, and it’s no wonder I feel so invested in each of them—Green did a wonderful job in exploring their depths and making them feel more than fiction. I don’t want the comparison to Game of Thrones to hinder how it is received—because that is a high order—but there are some mild similarities those fans of fantasy will find enjoyment in. This was a jam packed first installment, and I’m looking forward to where the next installment takes these characters.

BLURB:

Unforgiveable betrayals, devious motives, and forbidden love collide in the first installment of internationally bestselling author Sally Green’s epic new fantasy series, perfect for Game of Thrones fans. 

In a land tinged with magic and a bustling trade in an illicit supernatural substance, destiny will intertwine the fates of five players:

A visionary princess determined to forge her own path.

An idealistic solider whose heart is at odds with his duty.

A streetwise hunter tracking the most dangerous prey.

A charming thief with a powerful hidden identity.

A loyal servant on a quest to avenge his kingdom.

All are driven by ambition, honor, and desperation on the cusp of war. But who will be left standing when the smoke clears?

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