A Book I Struggled to Connect Wit
I received an ARC from Penguin Random House India in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.
Game of Thrones meets a Leigh Bardugo book? YES, PLEASE.
I HAD HIGH HOPES GOING INTO THIS BOOK. I absolutely loved Sally Green’s Half Bad and her gorgeous writing style and this new book (and series) sounded EVEN BETTER.
In retrospect, perhaps I expected TOO MUCH from this book because when I actually read The Smoke Thieves, I struggled to connect with the characters, the plot, the pace or really, anything at all.
I mean, it was a mediocre sort of fantasy that I had no real problems with, except for the fact that it BORED ME? There was absolutely nothing I was really invested in, no villain I really feared, no character whose growth felt substantial or real to me and when I look at this book, ALL I FEEL IS DISAPPOINTMENT that it promised so much and delivered so little.
Let’s break it down:
1. THIS WAS A 500+ PAGE BOOK WITH FIVE VIEWPOINTS. In other words, this book was LONG and then even longer and well, NOTHING HAPPENED. The book promised political machinations but THERE REALLY WERE NONE.
2. I absolutely HATED Brigant and their backwards views on women (think along the lines of ‘it’s required of a man to discipline his woman with all kinds of punishments INCLUDING physical violence, starvation and locking woman in a box.’) EVEN THOUGH this story line is probably leading up to a feminist revolution by the Princess of that country, READING SOMETHING LIKE THAT MAKES ME SO MAD.
3. I DO QUITE LOVE the UK cover for this book – it’s so simple and intriguing and I quite like looking at it.
4. I also liked each of the main characters a certain amount, but I had no real favourite and also, I wouldn’t really mourn anyone if something happened to them.
5. I felt like all the secondary character deaths that happened were brushed over SO SO FAST. There was no emotion wafting out of the book, and their fictional killings, from a plot/ writer’s angle felt so methodical instead of necessary to the plot. I didn’t care about the five protagonists, much less the SECONDARY characters, and their deaths meant very little to me, nor were they written very well.
6. THE ROMANCE WAS NOT WELL DONE AT ALL. There was ABSOLUTELY NO CHEMISTRY and NO SUBSTANCE and I did not ship Catherine and Ambrose.
7. I really liked the premise of demon smoke, but I feel like for a series titles The Smoke Thieves, we should have seen more of the actual smoke. I love what we learnt about the smoke, and I am excited to see where it might go, but not 100% sure that I'll pick it up to read.
In conclusion, I probably expected too much from this book, but it also DEFINITELY could have better paced and filled with more twists and turns. I’m not 100% sure if I’ll read the sequel. 2.75 stars.