Series: Midnight Thief #1
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Reading Level: Young Adult, 12+
Pages: 376 (ARC)
Source: From Publisher For Review
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.
I was really looking forward to this book and I am so happy to report that it did not disappoint! I've been in a bit of a fantasy dry spell recently. Oddly enough, I've been reading a lot of contemporary in its place, which is outright strange for me. I think that MIDNIGHT THIEF may have reinvigorated my love of my favorite genre!
Kyra is a very strong main character. She understand that she grew up poor and she takes everything one step at a time. Although she is a petty thief, she will do anything it takes to survive and ensure the survival of two younger girls she has taken under her wing--Lettie and Idalee (who has an absolutely gorgeous name). When she is approached by James, the charismatic and young leader of the Assassin's Guild, to help out on a few missions as a thief that can find her way into any building, she accepts knowing that she will make enough money to ensure housing for herself and the young girls. Kyra is an easy character to get behind, but she tends to be one of those characters that realizes her mistakes in the future because she made bad decisions in the heat of the moment. While this is frustrating, she owns what she does and will always find a way to work with it. She has an extremely clever mind and I loved being inside her head.
Occasionally, there is also a chapter in Tristam's perspective. Tristam is a knight working for the Minister of Defense after his dear friend was killed during a Demon Rider raid. I found it harder to connect to Tristam at first, but it was very easy to establish a connection after being in his head for a bit. There is the potential that his chapters started off very strong compared to Kyra's, which is what may have caused the difference. He is noble and easy to respect. He is a very good judge of character and will always do what is right, even if that means breaking orders and risking his knighthood. Again, another character to respect.
Blackburne really has a gift for characterization. Even the secondary characters were memorable. I hope that Flick comes to play a bigger role in the rest of the series. He was very prominent in book one until Kyra became slightly more independent, and I enjoyed his characterization. The young sisters, Idalee and Lettie, are adorable as well. James, leader of the guild, is very well characterized, and all of the assassins easily stand apart from one another, though, at times, they seem to be forgotten about in favor of allowing the entire plot to progress.
And then there are the Demon Riders. These creatures fascinated me. I love myth and lore and to see this unique creation invented in this novel made me jump with glee. These are powerful people that live in the forests with their giant cats. I imagine them as fierce black jaguars that are twice the size of real jaguars. These humans can whisper to their giant beasts and have great control over them. For unknown reasons, they have begun to attack Forge and they are slowly creeping deeper and deeper into the city. I don't know how else to describe them besides saying that they are really cool.
However, I have one major qualm with this story that was extremely off-putting for me. There is a huge twist later in the story, and I had it figured out in the first third of the book. I was hoping I was wrong, but as I read on I became more sure of my hunch and wasn't surprised to find out I was right. I think that this reading experience would have been a little more enjoyable if the foreshadowing of the biggest plot twist in the book wasn't so obvious to me. There is little romance in the book so most of the focus is on the plot, and when you can focus so intently on the plot it's easy to pick up on foreshadowed happenings, but these were like road signs stuck in my face. It was just very obvious.
This book can be very easily adored just as I can see people disliking it. The plot is awesome and the characters are great, but certain aspects of the plot can be immensely frustrating. You tend to see things coming before the characters do. The lack of focus on a romantic sub-plot will allow all fantasy lovers to really delve into Forge and all aspects of the world that Blackburne created. Good for readers of all ages, I am looking forward to book two!
FTC Disclaimer: I received no form of compensation in exchange for my honest review.