winged reviews
Review, Young Adult / March 4, 2015
Midnight Thief by Livia BlackburneMidnight Thief
Author: Livia Blackburne
Series: Midnight Thief #1
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Date: July 2014
384 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy
Buy the BookGoodreads

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.

There was a lot of hype around this book at the 2014 Book Expo America (BEA) and the reviews I read made me want get my hands on this book on release day. I was lucky enough to find an actual print copy at a resell book shop 3 weeks before it was scheduled to be released. I felt it was my lucky day! I raced home to start on what I had hoped would be an amazing adventure into mystery and fantasy. Alas, my expectations were probably greater than what the story could deliver.

The story starts off with the sad background of young Kyra and her rough life being alone and learning how to use her natural speed and strength to survive on the streets of Forge. Kyra seems to have a huge heart and wants to take care of the few people that are close to her. That is a weakness that makes her naive and clouds her judgement to the point that you just roll your eyes. She just makes dumb decisions when her emotions are scattered.

When not battling her teenage emotions, Kyra is a spit-fire, feisty young girl who is tough, very talented, and happens to catch the attention of the local Assassins Guild. The Assassins Guild is only a feared rumor that turns out to be very, very true. The leader, James, makes Kyra an offer to join him with the promise of handsome rewards, more than she could ever dream of making on her own. Kyra does not realize that this will turn out to be a very deadly and dangerous decision, for her and her family. The missions Kyra goes are adventurous and very well written, I devoured this part of the book.

Kyra becomes entangled with a Palace knight, Tristam, who is seeking vengeance for the death of his friend who was killed by Demon Riders, barbarians who ride on the backs of vicious wildcats. I instantly felt warm fuzzies when Tristam came into the story. I really liked how his character is defined and he didn’t stray from who he is. What I didn’t like so much is how Kyra battles her emotions as they switch from liking James to liking Tristam. James = bad guy and Tristam = good guy. She wants both but cannot have both so that is a constant conflict for her.

Kyra and Tristam form an unlikely alliance that sets them both on a magical and unexpected adventure, which leads to the discovery of Kyra’s heritage. Now this is the part of the story that almost lost me. When Kyra’s heritage is revealed, it was nearly too much for me and I almost put the book down. I almost walked away. I simply did not like this part of the story and thought it should have been done completely differently. Yes, it answers a lot of the unanswered questions, but to me it was just too far-fetched. I know that nearly every other blogger loved every word of this book but it just didn’t end right in my eyes. I did make myself finish the story because I needed to know how the story ended. The writing was so good that I still had complete the first installment in this new series.

Overall, this is a very fast-paced story and a quick read. Readers who enjoy stories by Leigh Bardugo should really enjoy Midnight Thief. Livia Blackburne has done an outstanding job of setting the stage for, what is sure to be, a well received book series.

2.5 Stars

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