Friday, December 8, 2017

Saturday #Review - Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne #YALit #Fantasy

Series: Midnight Thief # 1
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy

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.

In her arresting debut novel, Livia Blackburne creates a captivating world where intrigue prowls around every corner-and danger is a way of life.

Midnight Thief, by author Livia Blackburne, is the first installment in the authors Midnight Thief  series. 17-year old Kyra has spent a lifetime living on the streets struggling to eke out a living. She has the uncanny ability of scaling walls and getting into places that other thief's wouldn't dare to tread. After being sought out by a man name James, who just happens to be the leader of the Assassin's Guild, Kyra finds an entirely different calling. She's told that she will never again have to struggle to find food, or lodging, or lack anything ever again.

Even though the Guild is filled with Assassins, Kyra finds herself mapping and breaking into the palace which allows the Guild to enter and steal items without worrying about being caught. But, things aren't as straight as one might think. James is using Kyra for nefarious reasons, and it isn't until after she accidentally kills someone, that her hopes of finding a true calling among the Guild are dashed. Inevitably, Tristam of Brancel and Kyra's worlds collide, and both are forced to re-examine their alliances.

It is a journey ripe with danger, intrigue, and hidden history. After she's captured by the Palace Guard, she soon realizes that her actions have helped the Guild's alliance with the Demon Riders, a group of rebel barbarians responsible for brutal attacks in the countryside. An uneasy alliance forms between Kyra and Tristam. One that will lead them to uncover some very revealing and shocking secrets. Secrets that will lead Kyra to an entirely different sort of character who really never knew who she really was, or what she is capable of being. 

For me, Kyra is an appealing heroine. She's confident in her physical prowess, but insecure in her identity. She helps care for Lettie and Idalee, sisters who attempt to eke out a living even further down Forge's economic strata. The romance between Kyra and Tristam unfolds like an aged wine. Slowly. When Kyra meets the Demon Riders-magical beings that enjoy the strength and protection of fierce, enormous cats-impels-her whole world turns into a desire to learn what she is capable of and a journey of self-discovery. 

Blackburne became known to me after reading Rosemarked earlier this year. I chose to request this book from my local library to see how the author's writing has evolved from this series to Rosemarked. Much of Blackburne's story is not new; however, it is well executed. Kyra and Tristam, as well as most of the essential secondary characters, are effectively drawn, if not terribly original. Blackburne's strong suit is her plotting, which moves along quickly. The book offers the clever wit, action, and true social awareness, but with a totally new premise, and an ending you won't see coming.

Twists and turns kept me satisfied. The plot is as conniving as the book's villain, James, the head of the Assassins' Guild. Relatable, kick-ass heroine with foibles and feats to her name will have readers falling in love with her empathy and in awe of her grace and skill. The story contains dual POV's between Kyra, and Tristam, a knight who keeps the intrigue and tensions high. I am pondering continuing this series as long as the next book is available via my library.

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