Em: Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne – BOOK REVIEW

Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne
Release Date: July 8th, 2014
Disney-Hyperion, 384 Pages
Source: ARC via ALA 2014 (thank you!)
Sub-genre: Fantasy
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Midnight Thief #1
Noteworthy: 2014 YA Debut Author

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 is 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 the 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.

Livia Blackburn’s debut novel, Midnight Thief, had me hooked from the first few sentences. I have played the video game Fable II & III and all I could picture was that was how Forge (the city where the story is set) looked.

I am so thrilled to find a fantasy whose author did such a good job with world-building, character development, storyline, and pacing. The plot was exciting and unexpected with pacing done so well that I didn’t feel myself thinking, “Okay, c’mon…move along”…I wasn’t skipping paragraphs to get to the next exciting part. That is actually really rare for me to find in a book.

Blackburn’s premise of the story was something I wasn’t expecting. I purposely did not read the synopsis for the book because I wanted to make the author work for my reaction throughout. I wasn’t expecting a second POV and was thrilled to see that it took several chapters to introduce them. Kyra, one of our main characters, is the POV we are privy to for the first part of the book…then suddenly, once we’ve been given enough information about her, we are presented with a secondary MC! The two come from two very different worlds and meet quite unexpectedly.

Assassins, thieves, Demon hunters, demon cats, & knights, oh my! The many characters are all so very different from each other, and multi-faceted to boot. Kyra’s background story is shrouded in mystery. And as the book progresses, we are given a glimpse but not the whole story of how she came to be in Forge. The reader and Kyra are both kept in the dark about her origin which makes for many interesting surprises.

Ah, romance. Livia Blackburn has done a fantastic job of avoiding a love triangle and giving us just the possibility of romance. The romance in this book is not forced or rushed, which is a sweet relief from many YA novels I have read in the past. The budding romance between Kyra and another character is done sweetly and without haste, which makes the anticipation of the next installment in this series even better.

In Midnight Thief, readers can expect to find interesting characters, betrayal, redemption, and character development that keep the storyline sprinkled with attention grabbing moments and action-filled scenes. Some of the aspects of this story that I was most pleased with include:

  • Character descriptions are not overly done, so as to allow our imagination to do the rest
  • Imagery and emotions are palpable and beautifully done
  • The story isn’t tied up in a pretty bow at the end…there are still so many unanswered questions
  • There is just enough romance without making it an overbearing part of a much more interesting story

I highly recommend this well-written novel to high fantasy YA lovers who are looking for a great story with a touch of romance.

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