My reading tips this week is the wonderful, adorable and adventurous The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green.
This is the first book in a new series that takes place in a fantasy world that resembles Game of Thrones quite a bit, with fights for power, wars between kingdoms and a magic twist with demons and the hunting for demon smoke. The story is told from five different POVs; Princess Catherine, royal guard Ambrose, servant March, thirteen-year-old demon hunter Tash and thief and royal bastard Edyon.
Five POVs might seem a little too much, but I really loved all of these different POVs and how they made the story more dynamic and interesting. I didn’t connect that much with March and Edyon, but I absolutely adored the two strong female main characters Princess Catherine and demon hunter Tash, as well as the honorable and gorgeous Ambrose!
I just have to be clear though, that this series is very different from Sally Green’s previous the Half Bad series. I loved that series so much, and had hoped for something similar when it comes to the writing style and sense of rawness, but The Smoke Thieves is more of a traditional fantasy. Very good, but nowhere near the uniqueness of Half Bad.
The writing, the characters and the plot was really good and there was a lot of action going on. I especially loved Princess Catherine’s character and how she adapted to living in a world of female oppression without losing her fierceness and self-confidence. I also really shipped the romance between her and Ambrose, even if the ending of the book hinted to that romance probably being challenged by Prince Tzsayn in the sequel. (I really liked Prince Tzsayn too, so I’m not too depressed by that fact though.) And demon hunter Tash was such a badass, strong and shining character, it was impossible not to fall in love with her completely. I’m so eager to know what Sally has in store for her in the sequel, it really feels like there is so much more to explore for her character-wise.
All in all, I really enjoyed this wonderful book and am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series, dying to know what will happen to the characters!
I give this book 4.5 magical stars!
Find out more about the book and the author here: Sally Green
This reading tips this week is actually three, the darkly, magical Half Bad trilogy by Sally Green – “Half Bad”, “Half Wild” and “Half Lost”. I absolutely loved the books. This trilogy is so unique and original that I almost don’t want to try and explain it; I’m afraid to spoil the magic of the books that way. Sally Green tells an amazing story. The books are gripping, fast-paced and tragically marvellous. I just finished reading the last book in the trilogy and I am so gonna miss Nathan! And Gabriel and…
This trilogy is absolutely unique and original, both in the way it's written and in the darkness of the story itself. The writing is really different, it flips back and forth from second to first person. The timeline is also not quite linear, instead it flips back in time every now and then to explain the current. I loved it, as it's makes the book stand out and also makes you feel really close to the characters. I’m glad I started reading the series when all three books were published; I literally could not put the books down until I’d finished all of them.
Also, the series is kind of brutal, to say the least. It’s set in modern-day Europe, where witches secretly lives alongside humans (fains). The witches are either white (good) or black (bad), aside from 17-year-old Nathan who is half of both. His absent father is the most notorious black witch alive and his mother is dead. It’s as gloomy as it sounds. When we first meet Nathan he is trapped in a cage and abused. Actually, a lot of the book looks back at how Nathan has been mistreated, even tortured, from a very young age because of who his father is, and how eventually he is trapped by the Council of White Witches and put in a cage for cruel tests. Nathan desperately has to escape before his seventeenth birthday, to receive three gifts from his father and his magical ability and become a full-fledged witch. Otherwise, he will die.
Nathan is such a wonderful character. He goes through some absolutely terrible things, but he always has hope and never gives up. Nathan receives help from a series of characters, notably the black witch Gabriel who has lost his powers due to an accident.
In the second installment, “Half Wild”, Nathan has escaped and managed to gets his gifts. Now he must decide whether to join the rebelling alliance of free witches and stop the white witch counsel from suppressing and experimenting on black witches, or live a lonely, but free, life. Nathan’s story then comes to close in “Half Lost”, where the battle is continued and Nathan is being hunted by both sides. I’m not gonna tell too much about the ending, more than that Sally Green definitely knows how to write an epic finale that will shock you.
Of all three books, the second one, “Half Wild” is my favorite. This is where the love story between Nathan and Gabriel finally takes off for real. It’s such a sweet, wonderful, love story in the midst of all the terrible things going on. It's also something of a surprise, as inititially Nathan's love life seems to be heading in another (Annalise) direction.
Some of the best things with the Half Bad Trilogy is the surprising love story between Nathan and Gabe, and that it plays with "grey areas". White witches aren't just good and black witches aren't just bad. Strangely enough, even though Half Bad is about witches, there's not much magic in it, which is actually a good thing. The story is magical enough in itself.
Find out more about the Half Bad World and the author Sally Green here: Penguin authors Sally Green
Hi! I'm Annie, a Swedish bookworm, YA addict and coffee lover, who writes romantic YA books in English. I'm the author of the Angelheart Saga series (First Came Forever and Forever Disguised).
I love YA books and want to share what I read with you too, so check out my reading tips here!
Below you can find the reviews per author as well.