The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green
The Smoke Thieves is altogether a fascinating and enchanting book. Sally Green transports us to another world where political tensions are high and we become immersed within the three main kingdoms of Brigant, Pitoria and Calidor. The chapters chop and change between the viewpoint of Princess Catherine, March, Edyon, Ambrose and Tash. These five characters stories start of separately and as the book goes on, intertwine. The danger is always, when writing about a new world that cracks will begin to appear and you will see faults in the fluidity of the setting but none of these appear within The Smoke Thieves. We are completely submerged in this world from start to end which provides a refreshing perspective from other YA novels.
The characters for me really made the book alive. Each character’s story is relatable and the atmosphere and emotions within the story are very vivid. I particularly enjoyed the way Sally Green portrayed relationships within the novel as they were always realistic and heart-warming.
I particularly loved the character of Catherine, as the way a Princess is portrayed within the novel is unique to many other Princess storylines I have read. Sally Green gives us a girl who likes her dresses and her fashion but alongside doing what she’s told, has her own curiosity and independent ambitions. I think this will really pull in and inspire young feminist readers as it is very rare to see a Princess character portrayed in this light. I also loved the way that the side characters had as much realism as the main characters and although they were not always centre stage there story was solid and relatable.
I felt that the swearing within the novel was mostly unnecessary, as I didn’t think it aided my understanding of a character. I can see however that she used it when more rogue characters were involved but I don’t think it really added anything to the novel or the characters personality.
Overall The Smoke Thieves is one of my favourite novels and it gives YA readers a refreshing perspective from other novels of the same genre. The Smoke Thieves will leave you begging for more and I think the way it is set out with the character change within chapters is clever as you have to keep reading to follow the storyline of your favourite characters. The book is full of suspense, twists and very rocky turns. There is never a dull moment! I would highly recommend it to particularly fantasy lovers, as this book really is jam packed full of it. The novel ends on a cliff-hanger so be prepared for a lot of wondering what happens next! All I can say is I absolutely cannot wait to visit the Kingdoms of Brigant, Calidor and Pitoria for the sequel!
Book Review by Pupil Librarian J (Year 9)
The Smoke Thieves is published by Penguin and will be available from 3rd May.