Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Smoke Thief - Shana Abe

For centuries they've lived in secret among northern England's green and misted hills. Creatures of extraordinary beauty, power, and sensuality, they possess the ability to shape-shift from human to dragon and back again. Now their secret-and their survival-is threatened by a temptation that will break every boundary....

Dubbed the Smoke Thief, a daring jewel thief is confounding the London police. His wealthy victims claim the master burglar can walk through walls and vanish into thin air. But Christoff, the charismatic Marquess of Langford, knows the truth: the thief is no ordinary human but a "runner" who's fled Darkfrith without permission. As Alpha leader of the dra´kon, it's Kit's duty to capture the fugitive before the secrets of the tribe are revealed to mortals. But not even Kit suspects that the Smoke Thief could be a woman. Clarissa Rue Hawthorne knew her dangerous exploits would attract the attention of the dra´kon. But she didn't expect Christoff himself to come to London, dangling the tribe's most valuable jewel-the Langford Diamond-as bait. For as long as she could remember, Rue had lived the life of a halfling-half dra´kon, half mortal-and an outcast in both worlds. She'd always loved the handsome and willful Kit from the only place it was safe: from afar. But now she was no longer the shy, timid girl she'd once been. She was the first woman capable of making the Turn in four generations. So why did she still feel the same dizzying sense of vulnerability whenever he was near?From the moment he saw her, Kit knew that the alluring and powerful beauty was every bit his Alpha equal and destined to be his bride. And by the harsh laws of the dra´kon, Rue knew that she was the property of the marquess. But they will risk banishment and worse for a chance at something greater. For now Rue is his prisoner, the diamond has disappeared, and she's made the kind of dangerous proposition a man like Kit cannot resist....
Since I greatly enjoyed some of the fantasy books I read recently I decided to try this one since it had been sitting in my TBR pile for some time.

The story is set in an alternate Victorian world where people shapeshift as dragons, or drakons as they are called here, and live secretly in a secluded place. The heroine, Clarissa, is half drakon- half human, she was raised by her drakon mother but, not feeling accepted, she ran away when she turned 18. The hero, Kit, is the leader, the alpha of the drakons. When he hears a suspected drakon is stealing jewels in London he has no other chance than to go after him to maintain their existence a secret. He is pleasantly surprised that the thief is actually Clarissa and that she is his equal, thus his mate.

Clarissa is not that happy! The drakon society seems pretty rigid and restraining where women are concerned. When Clarissa was young she adored Kit from afar but he never recognised his future mate in her. He used to spend all his time with a mean girl who kept harassing Clarissa. So, after having run away from all that, Clarissa has been quite happy on her own, she likes being an independent woman and refuses to go back with Kit till he forces her to.

My main problem with the story was that I found the drakon world very confusing and not at all appealing. I could totally understand why Clarissa did not want to go back. Even if in the end she chooses to be with Kit I felt she would have to give up too much of her freedom to be totally happy in that world. The story dragged a bit, especially in the first half, which also made me take longer to read it than I usually do. I did like Clarissa coming into her own powers but not enough to continue the series.

Grade: 3.5/5

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