Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Week 8 ~ The Smoke Thief

Week 8 ~ Feb 19-25, 2007

The Smoke Thief

by Shana Abe
(fantasy, some romance)

I expected to like this book when I read the blurbs in my Sci-fi/Fantasy book club pamphlet. But then I read the prologue, and I wasn't sure. The style of the prologue is nice, but a bit omniscient for my tastes. And then I read the first chapter. And I was hooked.

I guess it makes sense that the prologue is more omniscient than I generally like, since it's giving the rather long background of a mythical people. These people, the drakon, are magical beings. (And I feel really stupid for not reading it aloud and realizing early on in the book that "drakon" = "dragon". I thought they were just similar.) The drakon are very good at adapting to avoid persecution, and when the story starts their rulers are concerned that they have gotten *too* good at it. None of the females can Turn. (From human to dragon. They have both forms, as well as an in-between one. Smoke.)

(The book is set in 18th century England, in a world that has magic without realizing it. The drakon value their secrecy, and the average Londoner has no clue the dragons exist. For a casual observer - me - it all stands up nicely to reality. For a history major, who knows?)

Over the course of the book, we follow the hero, Kit, and the heroine, Rue. They both have to learn how to deal with another Alpha - Kit, as the ruler of the drakon, is the Alpha male; Rue, as the only female who can Turn, by default becomes the Alpha female. Some of the happenings in the book (like the identity of the Smoke Thief and the happy ending) come as no surprise. However, the wonderful voice that Shana uses to tell the story makes the obvious parts of the plot very enjoyable, and there are still twists that have the potential to confuse.

I'm very glad there's a sequel. I can't wait to read more.