Usually I make a point of blogging about a book I just read and then reading the reviews that have already been written, but I did it backwards for this book.
I picked The Smoke Thief a week ago. Started the prologue and thought, hmm, I’ll just jump to the first chapter and see if that snags me. (I put down quite a number of books these days, I’ll admit.)
I was entirely taken by the first chapter, and kept reading. The writing is lovely. There is a superb balance between the historical and paranormal in this book. There are some schools of thought that the historical-paranormal subgenre doesn’t entirely work because you actually only need one of them to present a different world and/or mind set for the reader. And I do think for some books it ends up feeling like overkill, or the one somehow erases aspects of the other.
But Shana Abe manages to use both together in a way that makes the book stronger. There’s an otherworldly feel to the book because it’s set in Georgian times and because the hero and heroine are Drakon (dragons). I did enjoy the ruthless nature of these characters.
I also admired the way Abe took these characters, who can turn from human to smoke to dragon, and convinced me of this ability. I was kinda expecting this transformation to be clunky or to feel forced. I think it’s a testament to her writing.
The heroine, Rue, is a runner, that is she’s left the Drakon hold and lives on her own in London (after faking her death). Usually leaving is punishable by death, but she’s a rarity, a female who can Turn, and they bring her back so the Kit can claim her as his wife (since he’s the Alpha). The hero is at first overbearing and has an unfair advantage, but Rue the heroine comes into her own, fighting him tooth and nail, and, as the story unfolds, saving his life and forcing him to act differently than he would have. I thought the development of their relationship was really well done.
There are two secondary characters who I wanted to know more about. I don’t want to say too much and spoil the book, but I hope to learn more about both of them. I’ll be picking up The Dream Thief soon.