July 21, 2014

Review: Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne

Title: Midnight Thief (Midnight Thief #1)
Author: Livia Blackburne
Release Date: July 8th, 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Page Count: 368
Source: ARC from Publisher
(I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest
review. No favors were exchanged, my opinions are my own.)

First Reaction: *First 300 pages* Awesome, loving this, GREAT. *Last 68 pages* I will have none of this. Good day I say, Mr. Book.
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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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]


Midnight Thief starts off with just Kyra. She's this thief who runs around trying to scrounge up a living for herself and for these orphans she favors, but she never seems to have enough. So then, when she meets James, the head of the Assassins Guild, and he promises her lots of gold if she helps out, Kyra agrees. Or, well, she agrees after James assures her she won't have to do any killing, just thieving (spoilers: assassins are liars).

Then there's Tristam. He's a knight who would rather be a patrolman like the rest of his family than get involved with bigger picture stuff at the palace, but when his best friend is murdered by the Demon Riders, Tristam feels the need to get more involved to stop said Demon Riders. Of course, the Assassin's Guild is the natural enemy of the current government and seeks to take it down. This means Kyra's thieving missions usually get in the way of Tristam's knightly missions. Until, of course, Tristam catches Kyra and she's forced to cooperate with the enemy or end up in prison - or worse.

But Krya isn't really sure who to trust at this point. The Assassins Guild has made her do some things she doesn't want to do (see the spoiler above) and she gets the feeling they're up to really serious no good, but can she trust the ruling party? She clearly can't trust the Assassins Guild either, so that's not promising. And what about these Demon Riders? How do they play into all of this? How is Kyra going to make it through this book and what about Tristam?

And I bet you're thinking: "Gosh, Gaby, that's a lot of stuff in that summary. And boy, you just asked a whole lot of unconnected questions." To which I say: "Yeah. It is a lot of stuff and those are a lot of questions - too much stuff and too many unrelated questions." And I didn't mind that the book had too much plot until the plot stopped explaining itself. Instead of working with what it had, this book kept throwing on more and leaving so many unfinished lines of thought. Yes, I know this is a series, but no, I don't care to read anymore after all of this stuff that's been dropped on my head.

Also, my last question about Tristam kind of peters out because, well, I didn't really care for his point of view. I didn't realize it until the end of the book but the only reason I could think of for his POV is for the star-crossed lovers element - which is kinda weak because nothing really happens between Kyra and Tristam here (and the same nothing happens between Kyra and James early on in the story, so I kind of don't care of Kyra's taste since James is gross).

I think my real problem with this book, though, is that it wants to be The Song of the Lioness Quartet (by Tamora Pierce). At first that familiarity was nice. But then certain situations and themes were too close to the events in Tamora Pierce's books and I was like, "Alanna did this better, I'll just re-read that." Because, as much as we all say we want more of our favorites, we don't mean that we want rip offs of our favorites. We don't even want the same stories told again. We want more in the spirit of, y'know? (Or at least I do.) And this book was kind of the same story told again. And not even as close to as good.

I will say, I did like the first 300 pages or so and I really enjoyed the world building. I was totally in it. But the last bit of the book really switched tone, I think. Kyra suddenly stopped being the strong character she was at the start. And the last of the too-many plots were thrown in. I don't know. It just took a turn for the "huh WUT?" and I got so mad I really almost DNFed. It was a gut reaction, really, which I never have. I usually have to talk myself into DNFing something. So this was a weird one for me... *sigh*

The long and short of it?

Plot: There is A LOT of plot here. A lot.
World Building: I actually liked the world building. It felt very true to the genre.
Character Development: Everything was hunky dory... until the last 1/4 of the book when I didn't recognize the main character anymore.
Prose: Very fantasy.
Would I Recommend This Book?: This book is perfect for anyone who like LOTS of plot and good world building in their fantasy.

WOMP. Did you like this one better than me? Better yet, did you see the Tamora Pierce similarities? Talk to me in the comments below!