This is the place for book reviews and book-related round-ups or lists. I read all sorts of things, but book reviews here will mostly be of the science fiction, fantasy, YA, historical fiction, or contemporary fiction variety. My reviews are based on a) how much I enjoyed reading a book and b) the quality of the writing; there is not an exact balance or recipe for how I come up with my final rating, but those are the points I consider. Also, I read a LOT more books than I do full reviews on, so if you want the full rundown of activity, find me on Goodreads. You can also check out my list of Recommended Reads.
The Smoke Thieves is the first book in a new young adult fantasy series, featuring an ensemble cast of (you guessed it) young adults from different countries and walks of life, whose paths and fates converge in unexpected ways. You’ve got a princess, a thief, a demon hunter, a servant, and a soldier who all play important parts in events as kingdoms come to a clash in a new war. Their choices will affect not just their own lives (and hearts) but the course of nations.
This was an enjoyable read. This is definitely a fantasy series with more of a human motivation/political intrigue angle than and wizards-and-fireballs angle. The human side of the world is interesting in its own right, and then how the author worked demons and magic into it adds a twist I hadn’t really seen before. The characters you’re supposed to like are all likable/relatable enough. The villain(s) are clear from the get-go. Maybe a little too clear; I do like my villains to operate more in a gray area than just being outright vile, but it works for this book. The story has a good pace. It’s a nice mix of action, romance, intrigue, and introspection. As the author jumps around to different characters with each chapter, you get to see events converge from several angles, which I appreciate when done well (and this is).
It does have a few problems. Some of the “main” characters tended toward being a bit one-dimensional, while one of the secondary characters is actually (so far, to me) the most interesting character in the story. It’s got the dreaded YA love triangle. And I have some questions about the big reveal regarding the magical stuff; namely, how this is only now becoming known/an issue when its been around for centuries. (This vagueness is me attempting to avoid spoilers).
But overall, if you like fantasy intrigue and you’re looking for a somewhat unique and lighter YA read, give this a try. It just came out this week, and I’m already waiting for book 2.
I give it 3.5/5 stars.
I received an advanced reading copy (ARC) of this book from Penguin Random House First Reads in exchange for an honest review.
Well, hi there! I know, I know… it got quiet on here for a little while. But I’m back! And never fear, books have still been devoured and enjoyed in the mean time. Here’s a few noteworthies I’ve read lately: The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett. Humanity has spread through the stars, but that doesn’t stop a virus from wiping out most of humanity. What happens when you’re maybe the only person left on your planet? The premise of this was promising, right at that crossroads for big ideas and human experience. And the human part played out […]
Hey! Yes, it’s been awhile. Life kind of got hectic there for a bit. I’ve still been reading, though, never fear. Here’s what I’ve gotten into lately: Within the Sanctuary of Wings (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #5) by Marie Brennan. This is the final book in the wonderful Lady Trent series, and it did not disappoint. She visits another remote locale chasing after a legend, and makes another discovery regarding dragons – the biggest one yet by far. It had just the right blend of adventure, honestly human moments, and Lady Trent’s signature acerbic commentary. I thoroughly enjoyed it, […]
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. After being attacked and abducted, physics professor Jason Dessen wakes up in a life that is not his. Or at least, not his life as he remembers it. It’s a version of what his life could’ve been if, say, 15 years ago different decisions had been made. Trying to navigate this new life while figuring our how he got there, if the life he remembers is real, and whether he can get back to it and the family he loves soon lands him in worlds of trouble. Literally and figuratively. What follows is a tense […]
Fledgling by Octavia Butler. This could be your typical girl-wakes-up-hurt-with amnesia story, except for one significant difference: this girl is a vampire. Imagine waking up alone, injured, with strange cravings, and not only having no recollection of who you are or how you got there, but no idea what you are either. To have to have the concept of a vampire explained to you by a human. This is how Fledgling starts off. Shori, the girl, looks like a kid of about 12, but is actually a 53-year-old vampire. After waking up alone in the forest, she has to find […]
Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) by Jay Kristoff. Girl’s family is killed. Girl narrowly escapes with her life. Girl ends up on the streets. Girl wants revenge, and is taken in by an old assassin and trained as his new protege in preparation for going to assassin school. Naturally. Then she has to find the school/temple of assassins, be admitted, learn all the things, and compete with her fellow trainees for a limited number of spots in the ranks of assassin proper. What could go wrong when you have a bunch of hormonal teenage assassins-in-training cooped up and pitted against […]
The Star-Touched Queen The Star-Touched Queen (#1) A Crown of Wishes (#2) By Roshani Chokshi. Book 1 follows the story of Maya, who has been cursed since birth with a horoscope that predicts a marriage of death and destruction. Shunned by the entire kingdom, she lives only for her books and her little sister Gauri. Then, against all expectations, her father announces she will be wed- a political arrangement to quell unrest. One particular suitor catches her eye, and she finds herself queen of a land called Akaran, and wed to a man who gives her respect, power and […]