Smoke Thieves
by Green, Sally

A shrewd princess, a loyal servant, a streetwise demon smoke hunter and a charming thief find their lives unexpectedly intersecting when war breaks out, compelling their effort to unify and defend the kingdom against a tyrant in possession of an ominous magic weapon. By the author of the Half Bad trilogy. Simultaneous eBook.

Sally Green lives in Cheshire, England. She has had various jobs, but in 2010 she started writing a novel and that turned into a new career. She is the author of the Half Bad trilogy. She likes to run and most of her books feature a character who runs. Follow her on Twitter @Sa11eGreen.

The author of the darkly magical Half Bad series launches a complex new trilogy with this ambitious title. Five characters, each with his or her own narrative thread, become entangled as Green explores their medieval-like world, where royals clash, political schemes turn lethal, and demons are on the prowl. In Brigant, Catherine stoically accepts her impending marriage to a prince she's never met, in spite of her growing affection for her guard, Ambrose. Elsewhere, 13-year-old Tash is a demon hunter endeavoring to track down the opium-like (and illegal) demon smoke that was stolen from her. And in Calidor, March plots revenge against the prince he serves, only to have his plans hit a snag after meeting Edyon, an attractive thief and unwitting royal bastard. With its many plots in play, Green creates something akin to a YA Game of Thrones that pits power against love, conviction against convention. Tense and well paced, the five characters' paths begin to converge into a unified narrative, primed to become an epic saga by the novel's end. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A floor display and national tour are in the works for Green, whose Half Bad trilogy was an international best-seller. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Five teenagers who have nothing in common—a hunter, a soldier, a servant, a princess, and a thief—soon find themselves at the center of a war thanks to new discoveries about demon smoke, an opiumlike drug. King Aloysius is still bitter over the war he lost to Calidor and will stop at nothing to exact revenge: This is the catalyst for our five heroes' journeys, whether they at first realize it or not. With each chapter told from a different character's perspective, readers get a feel for the various worlds within the story but are still left sensing that something is lacking: Rather than an immersive fantasy world, it is a medieval world with a spattering of underdeveloped fantasy thrown in. Aloysius and his son are comically, mustache-twirlingly evil. The two love stories (one between two boys, and one a classic love triangle between a girl and two boys) feel halfhearted due in part to the relationships not being fully fleshed out. With so many characters, none ge t the full attention they deserve. Ethnic diversity, including multiracial identities (one major character has blue eyes, blonde dreadlocks, and brown skin), both mirrors reality as well as featuring fantasy races. With expletives and violence that seem more for shock value than to advance the story, and plenty of action but an abrupt ending, readers will hope for more meat in the next volume. (Fantasy. 15-18) Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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