Published by Disney Hyperion on Jul 8, 2014
Genres: High Fantasy, Romance, YA
Find the book: Amazon, Goodreads
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.
I’d been looking forward to reading this book for a long time and I was counting down the days until it came out, but I ended underwhelmed. The plot is actually pretty interesting and as I was reading it I was thinking, I should be engrossed by this, I should be on the edge of my seat, but I never got there.
The writing in this book is very simplistic, and I didn’t get a real sense of personality or voice from it. There weren’t any clever turns of phrase, no attitude in the narration at all. When I’m reading a book, I like details so I can visualize characters and places, I like personality so I feel like I know the character and connect with them. I remember reading a book that had a line “a half smile walked across his face,” and I remember the way one author described a row of houses as colorful cakes. That’s the kind of thing that makes a story come alive for me, and I just didn’t get anything from this book.
Because the writing was pretty bland, so were the characters. Kyra, the female lead, is your basic Strong Female, and Tristam is your basic Good Guy. It annoyed me too that Kyra, who’s supposed to have lived on the streets all her life, gets very upset when a man gets beat up, and when the man running the Assassins Guild turns out to have questionable morals. It’s not that I think violence and murder are OK, but is seems like Kyra would be more used to these things as they’ve been happening around her all her life.
The plot is decent, but because the characters were so flat I didn’t buy in to any of their motivations for doing anything. And frankly I didn’t care either. It didn’t matter to me what happened to these characters because they never once felt real. The action and death in this book is also pretty bloodless. It’s all very PG, and it feel all that dramatic or even important.
I appreciate what the author was trying to do. The villains and heroes are designed to be morally ambiguous. If the characters has felt more three dimensional, I think this would have been very interesting, but even the moral ambiguity is kind of cliché. I’ve seen the noble head of the guards who works in a corrupt system and the thief with the heart of gold plenty of times before.
The world is also sort of ill defined. It seems like your basic Stock Medieval Kingdom. I assume there’s a king and queen ruling, but it never comes up. I don’t need to read pages and pages detailing a system of government, but if you’re going to have a subplot about rebellion, wouldn’t it make sense to outline the current rule a little more clearly?
I could tell right away this story wasn’t for me and I almost didn’t finish it. Even when things that should have been exciting were happening, I just didn’t care. However, I happen to like a more quirky writing style and more attention to characterization. Not everybody likes that though. If you prefer writing that’s more straightforward and a story that’s more plot driven, I could totally see why people would enjoy this book. It just wasn’t for me.