Monday, June 30, 2014

Me on Midnight Thief

Title: Midnight Thief
Author: Livia Blackburne
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Growing up on Forge's streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that's not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs. But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she's not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he's persistent, and darkly attractive, and Kyra can't quite resist his pull. Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease. When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival, and vengeance, might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra's past that threatens to reshape both their lives.

Midnight Thief is mysterious and intriguing, a curious tale of secrets, plots, and plans. A tale of one girl trying to fix her mistakes and save lives before even more are lost. A girl who discovers there's more about the world, and herself, than she thought possible.

Kyra spends her days and nights trying to survive. She has friends, those who would support her, but she's mostly alone in the city of Forge. She struggles to steal and scrape together enough coins to eat and sleep and be safe. When James comes along with his offer, she's wary but she's interested. There's looking a step ahead, and there's looking three or four ahead of that. Some can't see that far, can't piece together situations that quickly, and so Kyra falls in with people far more dangerous and ruthless than she expected. But she tries to make it better, she tries to fix her mistakes. She's foolish, stubborn, but not careless. She cannot be faulted for giving up, for stopping and going back to fix what's gone wrong.

Tristam, by contrast, is a loyal by-the-book knight, intelligent and straight-forward. Maybe he's a little more soft in the heart than some, a little more compassionate. Those traits are at odds with each other, the caring and the following orders with a cool head, but he's still trying. He believes in the old ways, the old methods, the basic codes of conduct and behaviour. It's just too bad that people have their own motives and with push the rules around in the mud.

Kyra's world feels familiar in that it's a fantasy world with knights and thieves, palaces and taverns, orphans wandering the street looking for scraps of food, and hints of magic here and there. Even out in the forests it feels familiar, but it's the characters that set it apart. Their motives and plans, their decisions. Their encounters with the Demon Riders and their wildcats.

This book reminded me of a Tamora Pearce fantasy novel. Hints of magic and intrigue, characters with shadowed pasts and evil plans, a slowly moving tale. There is tension and action, yes, but it doesn't necessarily happen that quickly. There's no rush for Kyra to discover the truth behind her missions for the assassins, no rush for Tristam to stop the Demon Riders and their repeated attacks. Well, there is somewhat of a need for those things, but it feels like they were given time to figure things out as opposed to being rushed into a dangerous situation. After how this book ended, I'm very curious as to what will happen to Kyra in the next book, what other secrets she might discover about herself.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Disney-Hyperion through NetGalley.)

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