Series: Midnight Thief #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion on July 8, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.
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.
A little bit of stabby stab, a little bit of sneakity sneak, and a lot of snatch and grab
In Midnight Thief, Kyra is a thief, and a very good one at that. She grew up on the streets of the city Forge and managed to crawl her way out of the gutter with the help from her best friend and his aunt. She is has a soft spot for all the other street kids and tries to look out for them whenever she can. But money is tight for everyone what with the Demon Riders that are terrorizing the surrounding countryside stealing livestock and raiding trade goods caravans. So she cuts a deal with the head of the assassins guild to join up in order to keep food in her belly and a roof over her head.
Tristan is a knight, and one with honor and morals – who would have thought such a thing could exist? At least in Forge they seem to be few and far between. His plans to patrol the roads like his father and brothers before him all change when an unexpected tragedy occurs caused by the Demon Riders. Now he is out for revenge and is determined to protect the city from these ever encroaching raiders. Somewhere along the their paths will cross for better or worse.
Plans within plans, and always with the secrets.
Told from the dual perspective of Kyra and Tristam we know that these two characters are going to tango in some big way. The are both such strongly developed characters that you want to root for both of them. But they seem to be on opposing sides. Or is it that Kyra is really just on her own side and the side of those she seeks to look after. They have a great dynamic going on that you might expect would overwhelm the story like most typical YA but it doesn’t. Blackburne takes a realistic approach to the development of their interactions and the slow building trust that grows between them. Then of course there is James – what a mystery he is being the leader of the assassins guild. (I recommend reading Poison Dance the prequel that is told from his perspective.) This book is very good at making it clear that there really isn’t a black and white, good and evil but instead all those shades of grey. Everyone is the champion of their own morality and it makes you question what would you do for what you believe in?
Rub my belly like the contented kitten I am
Can you tell yet that I am happy reader with this one? I have to say I’ve been very displeased lately with the young adult books I’ve been picking up – but Midnight Thief hit many good notes and managed to stay away from many of the bad ones. Was there a dark broody mysterious possible romantic interest? – yes – but it was done well. Was there the hint that there might be more than one love interest? – yes – but again it well done and there was no hokey triangle madness like you so frequently see in almost every YA book that rolls through the door. But how can there be more than one possible romantic interest and it NOT be a triangle!? I’m just telling you romance is not the focus of this book, there is a smidge of it present but thankfully it is not key and no way dominates the plot. Moving on, I believe it is perfectly fine to use common tropes in a novel as long as they are done well and made fresh with the author’s style of storytelling and that was certainly accomplished here. Especially since there were some unexpected things that just well I can’t tell you about but they delighted me! There is an excellent stand alone quality about this novel. I don’t know if it will be the only one but it COULD be the only one and readers would be perfectly fine because there is a complete story in Midnight Thief. No blasted pesky cliffhangers here people. If you were to read it you’d be happy because major conflicts and plot lines are all taken care of. How often does that happen in YA? Not often I tell you.
Fantasy YA rules this roost
I think some of my love for this book might have to do with the fantasy genre itself. I tend to think the YA traditional fantasy books (in a different world not our own and in no way near being contemporary) tend to be stronger. Perhaps it’s just my preferences that’s making me feel this way BUT I don’t think so. I can enjoy a really good paranormal, dystopian, apocalyptic, sci-fi or whatever the heck else YA book under the sun that falls into the Science Fiction and Fantasy sub genres get put in my path – but I like the ones that don’t fit the mold and abuse the tropes. You can indeed use them and do them well. So with that said Midnight Thief is just well written and thankfully falls on the more mature side of YA with less angst and more focus on the plot, and less so on smoldering eyes and romance. If you love fantasy with a young resourceful heroine you can’t go wrong here.
A quickie note on Poison Dance the prequel to Midnight Thief:
It most definitely has a mature tone to it and I wouldn’t consider it to be a young adult prequel at all. I think it sets an excellent tone for Midnight Thief. It does not feature the main character Kyra from Midnight Thief – instead it is told from the perspective of James who is a secondary character in the main novel. It really helps us understand his motivations and the actions he takes in Midnight Thief. So it isn’t a must read, and in no way will you feel like you are missing information if you don’t read it but it is most definitely an enjoyable and quick read and might enhance your reading experience once you go to read Midnight Thief. (4 Stars)