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Thief Eyes Hardcover – April 27, 2010


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More on the Book
Read an excerpt from Thief Eyes by Janni Lee Simner [PDF].

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375866701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375866708
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #888,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7–10—Sixteen-year-old Haley has traveled to Iceland with her geologist father to see where her mother disappeared a year before. Hoping to retrace her mother's steps in order to find her, she is drawn into the magical legend and life of her Nordic ancestors, beginning with Hallgerd, a young woman skilled in sorcery who was determined not to be forced into a loveless marriage. The repercussions of Hallgerd's actions affect all of her female descendants from her own daughter to Haley. Simner has done her homework. This appealing novel centers around and embellishes Icelandic legend—specifically Njal's Saga. Simner takes the old stories and brings them into the 21st century in this cyclical novel about the powerful relationship between mothers and daughters. It would be great to pair it with Jonathan Stroud's Heroes of the Valley (Hyperion, 2009) for an examination of Norse mythology.—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

About the Author

Janni Lee Simner first became fascinated with the Icelandic sagas—and with the woman whose uncle said she had the eyes of a thief—during a visit to Iceland. Standing in the rift valley of Thingvellir with a battered copy of Njal's Saga in her backpack, she realized the characters she was reading about had walked the same ground. As the wind blew around her, she sat down and wrote the opening scene of Thief Eyes.

Janni lives more than four thousand miles from Iceland in Tucson, Arizona, where the hot, dry desert weather is about as unlike Iceland as one can get and still be on the same planet. She's also the author of four books for younger readers and more than thirty short stories. Janni is currently working on the sequel to her first young adult novel, Bones of Faerie.

To learn more about Janni, visit her Web site at www.simner.com.

More About the Author

To learn more about Janni Lee Simner, please visit her web site at www.simner.com or her blog at janni.livejournal.com!

Customer Reviews

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See all 23 customer reviews
The characters felt very real, and it was easy for me to get into the book.
Kindle-aholic
One second I am trying to get to know a character and the next she is suddenly speaking to birds and animals as if it were no big deal.
RPK
I desperately wanted to read this book because I absolutely loved Janni Lee Simner's "Bones of Faerie".
Park-Avenue Princess

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Park-Avenue Princess VINE VOICE on March 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I desperately wanted to read this book because I absolutely loved Janni Lee Simner's "Bones of Faerie". I figured if this book was half as good as that one, then I wouldn't be able to put it down.

The things I loved about this book. The fact that the author used Icelandic Mythology and weaved a story that brought that aspect and modern day together. These parts I found fascinating and wanted to know more. This alone could've made the story brilliant. Unfortuately, that didn't happpen.

I wish I could say that I really connected with the characters, the plot, story, but I can't. For a fairly short book, it seemed to take me forever to get through this one. I found myself trying to read quickly just to get through it, but then having to go back to find out what was really going on. I tried skimming over the parts that seemed "average" at best. That still wasn't working. I am all for stories where I can cheer on the characters that I've grown to love throughout and thier relationships with each other.

Haley and her father had a very seemed like they hardly knew each other and the "love and passion" felt between Haley and Ari, well let's just say I couldn't feel it.

This book had all the potential of being wonderful. I really felt as though the author sold herself short by not giving the characters more depth and using the mythology to make a plot line that would run deep and rich.

I want to point out that this book could easily be a Young Adult/Adult crossover and that this book may be a little too mature for the younger side of the YA audience.

Not Janni Lee Simner's best work, but it certainly wouldn't stop me from picking up another one of her books. I mentioned earlier in the review just how much I loved "Bones of Faerie" so I know that this author is a talented writer. Maybe the book itself just wasn't for me. If you're also a Simner fan, it may be worth giving this one a try.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Phaedrus on March 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Young adult fiction" covers a lot of ground. At one end of the scale, it can be a simple children's story, with a little sex and violence thrown in to make it "mature" and "edgy". Thief Eyes is at the other end of the scale: it's a sophisticated, extremely well-crafted novel, which just so happens to be written in a way that teenagers will find approachable and enjoyable. I had planned to read it a few chapters at a time, but wound up going cover to cover in one sitting.

I won't describe the plot in detail, because it seems like that might spoil it. But it works on two levels -- as an adventure based on the building blocks of Norse mythology, and as a relationship story about family and about the awkward places in between friendship and romance. The Norse elements are handled very nicely -- there's enough detail to intrigue the reader, but not so much that it would bog down the story (though the author's note thoughtfully provides a reading list for those left wanting to know more). And the climax is emotionally wrenching, especially because the reader can empathize with nearly everyone involved on both sides of the conflict.

Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tabitha VINE VOICE on July 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The retelling of Icelandic sagas and Scandinavian mythology is what drew me to this story. There are hardly any of these retellings, which is a shame because there's so much great material there. So I eagerly awaited my copy of Thief Eyes.

Overall, it was interesting. The author's spin on Hallgerd's story is clever and intriguing, and shows Hallgerd as more than the evil, selfish girl painted by history/lore. The magical aspect of the story, however, is a bit too confusing. I couldn't figure out why the story unfolded the way it did, except that it *had* to.

I did like that the other magical characters were individuals with their own agendas and purposes. Even though some of them helped Haley, they were still working toward their own goals. It added a layer of believable and interesting tension. Though I didn't understand the purpose of bringing Odin into the story, since his appearance is very brief and there are no consequences as a result. It seemed like an extreme way to get rid of the uncle.

The one aspect of the story that I couldn't get around, though, was the way Haley interacted with Ari. She scorned her father for cheating on her mother, and now she's basically cheating on her boyfriend. I think introducing these feelings to her was a very good thing, but they were never explored. It should have created an understanding of her father's actions, and how stupid things happen sometimes. It also should have made her angry at herself for doing exactly what she hated her father for. Instead, she went with it, and then magically worked things out with her boyfriend so that everyone is happy. Life is never that neat.

Still, it was a pretty enjoyable read. I think the language could have been toned down because the story's content isn't edgy enough for it, and that could have opened up the audience to younger teens.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By CCGal VINE VOICE on April 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I found this book to be spellbinding and thrilling. Teens and `tweens will enjoy this fabulous fantasy about a young girl who is coming out of her shell and trying to discover the secret to her mother's disappearance. As the story weaves from current reality into another dimension, Norse mythology and magic interlace to create a well transitioned move from reality to fantasy. Vivid descriptions and simplistic conversation allow the reader to follow the thoughts and growth of the young heroine. This story is not without romantic interests and emotional turmoil - every teen's favorite topic. This is a great read for youth looking for a female lead dealing with typical adolescent changes - much like the interesting, yet innocent scenes from the Twilight saga.
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