Shannon (Giraffe Days)'s Reviews > The Smoke Thief

The Smoke Thief by Shana Abe
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's review
Jan 15, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, historical-romance, 2008, paranormal, romance
Read in July, 2008

It is the mid 18th century and females who can Turn are few and far between. One such is halfbreed Clarissa Rue Hawthorne, who on her 17th birthday fakes her death and runs away to London, where she becomes a master cat burglar with an impressive reputation as the Smoke Thief. After about 8 years of living away from the Tribe, the Tribe comes for her - and as soon as Christoff, Marquis of Langford, discovers she can Turn and is the female Alpha, he is determined that she be his.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this - mostly because I found it in the romance section - but it was an enjoyable story with interesting characters set against an original concept.

The fantasy elements really just form the framework for an historical romance - a species older than humans, the drakon can take the form of smoke and a dragon - Turning, they call it. With the rise of people they found themselves persecuted and eventually fled their fastness in the Carpathian Mountains. Only a few were left behind. Those who fled settled in the north of England, led by an Alpha, an aristocrat who is Marquis of Langford.

I liked Rue, she's a skillful, intelligent, resourceful heroine, and Christoff has strength and charisma. They had solid chemistry, though the 'graphic' side of the story is a lot sparser than most romance books. The prologue is confusing but if you can get past it the book itself is well written, adventurous and entertaining. There's some good banter and it's generally historically accurate - though I very much doubt the British of the 1750s used "jackass" as an insult. It had great atmosphere, especially the scenes set in London, and some wonderful descriptions, like when Christoff first sees Rue in London.

The next book, The Dream Thief, is about Rue and Christoff's daughter, and that's all I know.

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