The Smoke Thief is a fantasy novel set in Victorian England. Dragons exist, but they are dying out. Hunted for ages to near extinction, they now hide in plain sight disguised as ordinary humans in a secluded village. But like Brigadoon, not everyone is happy in this little hamlet. Class distinctions are fierce and opportunities are limited. Naturally some try to leave. It becomes the duty of the Alpha leader of the village, Kit, to capture and return dragons to their home. If the escapee cannot be returned, he or she must be destroyed for fear of revealing that dragons are real. However one managed to escape and hide her existence. Now, Clarissa Rue Hawthorne makes her living as a jewel thief in London. Her actions have brought her to the attention of the village and Kit must return her or kill her.
This is an entertaining and light read. The dialog is snappy and humorous especially when Clarissa and Kit are on the same page. Shanna Abe has built a great world and defined how dragons fit in and work in the human world. She provides great detail in upper class London. The dresses and the parties are sumptuous and the upper class comes across as vapid as ever. She ties in London’s underworld. She has not provided as much detail here although her accent in dialog is a marvel. There is the expected romance (albeit one that is unconventional – dragons are into dominance it seems and Kit and Clarissa are both used to being on top). But the hunt for the Smoke Thief is what is key. The story reads as a mystery – how to catch the real thief. The story points one way and then the next. The finalle was an excellent twist that was not predictable, but not out of left field.
For those who like a little romance with their fantasy, this is a fun, light read and the first in a series that looks be more fun the search for dragon history grows. She has many interesting books. Here is her website for more information Shanna Abe