Middle school students have reading interests that run the gamut from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Twilight. Sometimes as a parent it is hard to know what is age appropriate for your child. Through this blog, I will try to help parents make informed decisions about what is available in our library. I am hoping that this blog will be a resource for our parents, and that we can all work together to make our students life-long readers!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Midnight Thief

Midnight Thief
by Livia Blackburne
From the publisher:
"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."

Midnight Thief is exciting and original. I liked the characters - I was able to feel their pain, understand their motives, and hope for the best for them. I thought the world building was good, with the caveat that more gets explained in the next book (and possibly the prequel), because I did have some questions about things like the Council and the Far Lands. How do the Far Lands differ from where Tristam is from? Why is serving Forge so important to him when he's not even from there? How do the different cities work? Are they all under different leadership or combined together somehow? I don't get too excited about these kinds of things in first books because I assume the author will clear those questions up in succeeding books. In fact, I appreciate not getting too bogged down by the minutiae in the first book. I hate fact-dumping, just give me the story and explain as things go on. 

Back to the characters - I really liked the main character, Kyra. Even though she was an orphan who grew up on the streets, she still had a moral filter (well, thievery didn't factor into that, but the filter was still there) and a kind of innocence. I loved her make-shift family and how protective she was of them, and just the fact that she had someone who cared about her and for her. I'm interested to find out who her parents are and why she grew up the way she did. 
At the beginning of the book I had a hard time deciding which male character was going to be the love interest. I like to know who to root for, so that was a little jarring for me. And then I thought that there were going to be 3 different love interests and that made me mad. However, I appreciate that the love interest turned out to be obvious and that a best friend can just be a best friend and a villain can be interesting and intriguing but still remain the villain. And no insta-love! Thank you, Livia Blackburne, for not making us read the same YA tropes that we're so used to. I hope that continues into the next book. 

This is a book that the more I think about it the more I like it. If it makes that kind of impression on you, it is definitely worth the read. 

Areas of concern:
*I don't think there was any cussing. That's pretty impressive because there are a lot of intense situations.
*Very mild romance towards the end of the book. 
*Violence abounds. Assassins are at work and strange beasts are ripping apart animals and people.

Suggested Ages:
Kirkus Reviews - Ages 12-18
School Library Journal - Grades 7-10

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