|Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne|
(Midnight Thief #1)
July 8, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Source: eARC from publisher for Honest 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.
Midnight Thief is the first book of a new young adult fantasy series, set in a medieval atmosphere. I'll admit, it took me a bit to get into this book. I had to set it aside temporarily because I kept trying to compare it to another YA fantasy series involving a female assassin that I love, and I didn't want that affecting my judgment. Once I resumed my reading, I found that Midnight Thief had many aspects all its own and I enjoyed the plot twists and storyline, and how the characters were involved.
I will not go into depth on the story itself because there are too many opportunities for spoilers. Blackburne was able to combine and integrate several common themes in the fantasy genre, but brought her own twist to things, making the read unique in its own regard and creating a world with some interesting aspects. We have a societal hierarchy, orphans and thieves, an Assassin's Guild, Demon Riders, bloodthirsty wildcats, and a light romance. The strength of the story lay with Kyra's mysterious background, her unique abilities, and her questionable choices and their consequences. I found both Kyra and Tristam's situations very compelling and was curious on how they would turn out.
The characters were compelling and interesting to get in the heads of. I enjoyed learning about their backstory, getting more perspective on them, and seeing how their strengths and weaknesses would play out in the story. Kyra is a strong female character, yet she holds certain vulnerabilities that make her more real. Tristam, as well, is a strong male, just receiving his knighthood, yet he has a compassionate human side that played into the story well. James was a mixed bag, and if you've read the prequel novella Poison Dance (which I read afterwards), you'll notice how his life circumstances have affected his ambitions.
While I did enjoy Midnight Thief, there were aspects that kept me from loving it. I found the pacing slow at times, even boring in parts when the storyline would take a turn. There were a lot of things involved in the story, but their integration didn't always flow well for me. I like to be completely engrossed in a book, and this one at times felt like I could put it down with too much ease. Fortunately, there were enough compelling bits to keep me going, but I never had that feeling that it was unputdownable. I also found the Demon Rider aspect unclear and not completely fleshed out. Perhaps that is because the next book will go into more depth, but I found some things with them odd and uncertain and too much was left unclear.
Midnight Thief was a good read. It was entertaining and interesting, with a nice twist on medieval fantasy, a strong female lead, a light romance, and some compelling twists and turns. The end wrapped up fairly well, without a cliffhanger, though it appears that it will be a series. There are enough open-ended questions in the end that I can imagine what may be approached next and can see the potential of an exciting sequel.