Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne (2 stars)
Kel Thursday, July 09, 2015 reviewI won a beautiful hardcover of Midnight Thief almost a year ago and have felt guilty about not reading it ever since. I feel a little bad now that it only earned 2 stars, but I'm glad I finally read it. While it didn't wow me as hoped, it's not a bad story and I got through it quickly, so it did something right. :)
Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne
Series: Midnight Thief #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Published on July 8, 2014
Published by Disney Hyperion
Final Rating: 2 stars
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.
In her arresting debut novel, Livia Blackburne creates a captivating world where intrigue prowls around every corner—and danger is a way of life.
On the bright side: The MC is a girl who's a bit of a loner, talented in some areas, not so much in others, and who makes mistakes, admits to them and tries to make things right. The third person narration flows quickly and smoothly for the most part, making it a quick read. I liked some of the guard characters; they have a bit of meat to them. Tristam, our other MC, is a loyal, country boy, strategist finding out politics is a pain; Martin is a dog talker with a sense of humor; and Malikel is kind of a King Arthur (but not king)-- he leans toward the idea that everyone is equal and plays politics to protect others. Also, there is very, very little romance. :)
On the dark side: The story is kind of meandering in its plot and especially in its conflict. There is no clear main antagonist for Kyra until near the end, and the limited conflicts she faces are quickly brushed aside. Things seem to progress too quickly and too easily for her. That's the big thing; the lack of clear direction and the lack of a major conflict or conflict arc made it difficult to connect with Kyra and her story. It seemed like the most interesting parts of her life were in the past. Which shouldn't be the case, especially when the author indulges in way too much special-ness toward the end. (This is not the Lego Movie; you are not the Special).
I feel the story doesn't develop or give much screen time to most of the relationships. We're told about Kyra's connections to or growing admiration for people but, with a few exceptions, we don't see them play out, particularly the important friendships with her family (which I think are supposed to be a major point of inner conflict). Family/friends get pushed to the side pretty often. Even the antagonists wind up feeling two-dimensional. The pacing also hits a seventh inning lull and the "twist" with the Demon Riders...it isn't out of nowhere, but it doesn't feel as closely knit with the story as it could be.
To be honest, if I didn't already have an eARC of the sequel, I'd probably stop after Book 1 on this series. But, I knew getting the eARC sequel would force me to finally read the first, and it did; so my evil plan worked. ;) Regardless, Midnight Thief was a mildly entertaining, quick read, and super limited on the romance, which makes me smile. :)