The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green- Blog Tour Review

thesmokethievesThe Smoke Thieves
By: Sally Green
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Viking

My Rating:
star

Summary:
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.

In Brigant, Princess Catherine prepares for a loveless political marriage arranged by her brutal and ambitious father. In Calidor, downtrodden servant March seeks revenge on the prince who betrayed his people. In Pitoria, feckless Edyon steals cheap baubles for cheaper thrills as he drifts from town to town. And in the barren northern territories, thirteen-year-old Tash is running for her life as she plays bait for the gruff demon hunter Gravell.

As alliances shift and shatter, and old certainties are overturned, our four heroes find their past lives transformed and their futures inextricably linked by the unpredictable tides of magic and war. Who will rise and who will fall? And who will claim the ultimate prize?

My Thoughts:
I have been so excited about Sally Green’s newest book, The Smoke Thieves. That summary! The cover! I just knew I had to read it as soon as I could. I am so excited to be part of the blog tour and share my thoughts about this book with you.

This book was written with multiple point of views which really helped to get a great look at the cast of characters. We follow several characters on their journeys- I believe my favorite was Princess Catherine. I enjoyed seeing the world from her view. Her father was overbearing and thought very little of her. She was a pawn for him to use to strengthen his own reign. It was hard reading about how she was treated by him and even her brother. Her one bright spot was her relationship with her hand maids and Ambrose, her body guard. Like her, I clung to these little moments she could find of happiness. As the story progressed she really grew and found her voice. I am so excited to see where her character goes in the next book.

Tash was such a fun character- she was essentially demon bait. She helped lure demons into a trap where they are killed and their essence was captured. When they die they release a smoke that if captured and then inhaled by humans has drug-like effects. Her scenes had a lot of action and she was very mature for her age. I got the impression she was very young but her rough life had her dealing with far more than her age  group should be dealing with. Her dialog with her boss as well as her scenes were some of the most fun in the book- though I did feel that she was a tad less developed as some of the others. I’m hoping we get a lot more from her in the next book.

March was a hard one for me to really connect to. He was out for revenge after his people were virtually wiped out. I felt that his people as well as himself were a bit less delved into. I want to know much much more. I did like seeing him have to grapple with his feelings versus the goals he had set for himself.

With comparisons to Game of Thrones you will  expect a sweeping fantasy with a lot of characters, lands and motives. Don’t expect the level of violence you’d find in Game of Thrones but there was a lot going on and I imagine as the series continues the stakes will be raised and there will be a lot more political intrigue.

Final Thoughts:
The Smoke Thieves will give fantasy readers characters they will love and a world they’ll want to know more about. I loved that Green added demons into the mix- not often do we get them in books. I hope eventually we’ll learn more about why the demons are around and if they have thoughts, feelings and plans.

Blog Tour Review for Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

ashprincessAsh Princess
By: Laura Sebastian
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Summary:
Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Queen of Flame and Fury, was murdered before her eyes. Ten years later, Theo has learned to survive under the relentless abuse of the Kaiser and his court as the ridiculed “Ash Princess.” Pretending to be empty-headed and naive when she’s not enduring brutal whippings, she pushes down all other thoughts but one: Keep the Kaiser happy and he will keep you safe.

When the Kaiser forces her to execute her last hope of rescue, Theo can’t keep her feelings and memories pushed down any longer. She vows revenge, throwing herself into a plot to seduce and murder the Kaiser’s warrior son with the help of a group of magically gifted and volatile rebels. But Theo doesn’t expect to develop feelings for the Prinz. Or for her rebel allies to challenge her friendship with the one person who’s been kind to her throughout the last hopeless decade: her heart’s sister, Cress.

Cornered into impossible choices and unable to trust even those who are on her side, Theo will have to decide how far she’s willing to go to save her people and how much of herself she’s willing to sacrifice to become queen.

My Thoughts:
There are some books that just resonate so well with me and this is one of them. From the start Ash Princess hit me just right. I loved the world, characters and writing. I especially loved how dark this book was. I didn’t expect such an emotional read with beautifully executed scenes that are just so raw and really moved me.

I can’t imagine what Theo has had to go through- her country was invaded and she had to witness her family murdered. Then she was kept captive and forced to live among her enemies. Every time the Kaiser had reason to be angry with her people he publicly raged at Theo. She was forced to bear the brunt of his anger and also be his public demonstration of hate for her people. Every major gathering she was forced to wear a crown made of ashes. These scenes were so, so vivid and just wow. So powerful. I can’t imagine how angry and lonely she would be. I loved this aspect because instead of crumbling she had a spark of hope and fight within her. I loved watching that spark grow and seeing her form relationships even with those she should hate.

I felt all the characters were beautifully complex. The relationships were my favorite aspect. Since Theo has been raised with her enemies she can’t help but have made friends with the daughter of one of her captors. It is such a complex situation Theo finds herself in. I couldn’t help but wonder what I would do in her situation.

Be aware- since Theo lives with her family’s murders there are some brutal whippings and she withstands a lot of abuse at the hand of the Kaiser. It isn’t pleasant to read but I felt it was done very well. This book deals with a lot of heavy themes but I didn’t have trouble reading it and in fact I felt it was a very compulsive read and I couldn’t’ stop reading. I had to know what would happen next.

Final Thoughts:
I loved Ash Princess and I am desperate to read more of Theo’s story. I was so impressed with Sebastian’s writing and the inner struggles of her characters. This book wasn’t a happy read but it was beautifully done and very emotional.