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.

Review of Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

onceandforallOnce and for All
By: Sarah Dessen
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating
star

Summary:
As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

My Thoughts:
I haven’t read many contemporary novels and this was my first Sarah Dessen book! It was such a fun read and a really wonderful break from my usual fantasty/science fiction. This novel was fast paced, heart felt and really adorable.

I’m not a huge wedding type person- I’m a rare soul that doesn’t like attending them, didn’t really want my own and I’m just not all crazy for the entire thing. But, regardless of my none obsession with weddings this book had me early on. I loved the humor and Louna was so easy to read about. I was impressed with the depth of the characters early on and how much back story we learned.

The weddings we see in this book were actually so much fun and the entire atmosphere of the book was overall uplifting although there was some aspects that were heavy. The novel jumps back and forth from Louna’s past to present day. She has a very emotional past and first love. These bits were very well done and had me so immersed.

The characters had great chemistry and I loved the relationships we get glimpses of. I of course loved watching Louna grow to appreciate the cocky, flirtatious Ambrose. I thought they really brought out some great things about one another and their dialog was often very funny.

Where the book sort of lost me was in the ending. Things felt rushed to me and the last few chapters felt a bit disjointed and not nearly as developed as the rest of the book.

Final Thoughts:
I think fans of contemporary fiction will really enjoy this read especially if they want to see a bit more about what goes into wedding planning. I will try another Dessen novel in the future and I’m happy that I read this one.