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Midnight Thief, Book 1 Midnight Thief Hardcover – July 8, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Seventeen and long orphaned, Kyra has grown up using her natural speed and stealth to thieve her way through life on Forge's streets. James, the Assassins Guild's attractive and politically minded young leader, recruits Kyra with handsome rewards for herself and her friends, but at what cost? Kyra's dangerous new job turns deadly, and she finds her mission entangled with that of a Palace knight, Tristam, who seeks vengeance for his friend killed by Demon Riders, barbarians who ride on the backs of vicious wildcats. Third-person alternating narratives between Kyra and Tristam effectively set the pace and tension leading up to their unlikely alliance and thrilling discovery of Kyra's heritage. External conflict among the assassins, nobles, and Demon Riders is balanced by Kyra's internal conflict as she faces harrowing moral decisions that make her question her true nature and the measures she will take to protect loved ones. While earlier chapters read more like medieval-era historical fiction and may not appeal to the most reluctant readers, Blackburne's fast-paced fantasy will please fans of Leigh Bardugo and Tamora Pierce. This page-turning debut answers immediate questions and provides satisfying character development, while leaving ample room for additional installments.—Hannah Farmer, Austin Public Library, TX
3Q 4P J S Independent and self-assured Kyra is happy to continue her life as a thief, creeping catlike around the city of Forge, but her silence and strength have captured the attention of the Assassin's Guild. The relationship, which includes penetrating the city's innermost circles, will involve more risk, but it will also afford her greater security and the ability to care for Lettie and Idalee, sisters who attempt to eke out a living even further down Forge's economic strata. Similarly, an attack by the Demon Riders-magical beings that enjoy the strength and protection of fierce, enormous cats-impels Tristam to take on a more dangerous position in the Ministry of Defense. Inevitably, Tristam and Kyra's worlds collide, and both are forced to re-examine their alliances-a journey ripe with danger, intrigue, and hidden history. 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. The characters' language reads unevenly; the occasional "milady" and "make way" do not mix well with the more colloquial "Tell you what," "Really?" and "Wow." Blackburne's strong suit is her plotting, which moves along quickly. She does not waste time weaving Tristam and Kyra's stories into one and making evident the dilemmas they face. None of the twists are especially stunning, but they are well timed and make for a compelling read. Best of all, Kyra is a strong, capable female character not in search of a rescue, and Tristam is not in search of a distressed damsel either. On the whole, this is a satisfying read with the promise of a sequel. Put this in the hands of fans of Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth.-Lauri J. Vaughan VOYA"
Gr 7 Up Seventeen and long orphaned, Kyra has grown up using her natural speed and stealth to thieve her way through life on Forge's streets. James, the Assassins Guild's attractive and politically minded young leader, recruits Kyra with handsome rewards for herself and her friends, but at what cost? Kyra's dangerous new job turns deadly, and she finds her mission entangled with that of a Palace knight, Tristam, who seeks vengeance for his friend killed by Demon Riders, barbarians who ride on the backs of vicious wildcats. Third-person alternating narratives between Kyra and Tristam effectively set the pace and tension leading up to their unlikely alliance and thrilling discovery of Kyra's heritage. External conflict among the assassins, nobles, and Demon Riders is balanced by Kyra's internal conflict as she faces harrowing moral decisions that make her question her true nature and the measures she will take to protect loved ones. While earlier chapters read more like medieval-era historical fiction and may not appeal to the most reluctant readers, Blackburne's fast-paced fantasy will please fans of Leigh Bardugo and Tamora Pierce. This page-turning debut answers immediate questions and provides satisfying character development, while leaving ample room for additional installments. Hannah Farmer, Austin Public Library, TX SLJ"
Kyra, a daring and stealthy thief from the poor part of the city, is smarty, quick on her feet, and a bit of a wisecracker. Tristam, a noble squire and soon-to-be-knight, wants nothing than to ride on road patrols and live in his family's manor in the forest. As Kyra is trying to sneak into the palace while working for the Assassin's Guild, Tristam catches her and puts her in prison. Their paths cross again when Tristam seeks out the mysterious Demon Riders who killed his friend, and this time Kyra is the one with the power. The two couldn't be more different, but as they unite to fight a common enemy, they realize how much they need each other. Alternating between Kyra's and Tristam's stories, debut author Blackburne's high fantasy is expansive, with entertaining characters and a well-constructed world. While the slow-burn pace may be off-putting for some, fans of Tamora Pierce and other classic fantasy authors will appreciate this solid example of the genre. Stacey Comfort Booklist"
A lifetime of thieving to make ends meet on the streets of Forge has left seventeen-year-old Kyra a bit morally flexible, so when she's approached by the leader of the Assassins Guild to put her sneaking skills to use fighting the "fatpurse" nobles, she accepts. Her first kill, however, sends her into a guilt-ridden tailspin and she flees. When she's eventually captured by the Palace Guard, she realizes (along with the help of a handsome young knight) that her activities with the Guild were actually assisting the advancement of the Demon Riders, a group of rebel barbarians responsible for brutal attacks in the countryside. Blackburne offers up a complex world where no one is entirely evil or good, and even those wrestling for power through less than civil means are inspired by noble intentions. Kyra is an appealing heroine, confident in her physical prowess but insecure in her identity, and teenagers in particular may relate to her increasing frustration as her attempts to establish her independence and her own beliefs are constantly thwarted by the powers that be. The romance between Kyra and Tristam, the knight, unfolds sweetly, but it's Kyra's journey toward self-discovery, especially as her childhood connection to the Demon Riders is revealed, that takes precedence. There are plenty of narrow escapes, thrilling chases, and tender kisses to accompany the more thoughtful elements here, too, and readers will be pleased with a satisfactory conclusion that leaves room for a sequel or two. KQG BCCB"
A debut fantasy spins standard tropes into a dark, morally complex adventure. Fearless former "gutter rat" Kyra gleefully steals from the wealthy, while the upright knight Tristam pledges to defend the city of Forge against the marauding Demon Riders. When the charismatic James persuades Kyra to aid the Assassins Guild in their effort to undermine the corrupt aristocracy, the ensuing plots and counterplots strain loyalties and threaten the entire city. Hoary genre clich s are refreshed by nuanced portrayal: Forge appears a typical medieval-ish fantasy city, but it's rife with oppression and festering resentments; the Demon Riders' wildcats, the only magical element, feel convincingly alien. Kyra, at first seeming a tiresome rehash of the "thief with a heart of gold" type, has her na vet ripped away with a shockingly brutal choice that sends repercussions reverberating throughout the story. James, introduced as a charmingly seductive bad boy, loses his romantic appeal with his cynical manipulations. Even Tristam, the most conventionally virtuous protagonist, finds that base methods in pursuit of laudable ends have tragic consequences. Each character must choose between bad and worse options, and not all make the "right" decision. While both Kyra and Tristam achieve redemption (of a sort) by the end, they pay a cruel price-and neither is altogether certain it was worth the cost. While this volume comes to a satisfying conclusion, thoughtful readers will keep pondering the future of Forge and its people. (Fantasy. 12-18) Kirkus"
Top customer reviews
Kyra, the protagonist, is a well written and interesting character. she gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘cat burglar’. I love thief stories, and this is an original one. It also has a fantasy element without letting it take over and make everything in the book fantasy. Kyra is smart, resourceful, and a survivor. She learned to be self sufficient, even helping street kids when she has no coin. She is caring. One of the things that gets her into trouble is her big heart. She pretends to be tough and hardened, but she is kind and an idealist. Even after growing up alone on the streets, she still views the world as a closet optimist. When given the chance, she chooses to do something about the injustices happening around her, to right the wrongs done to the people of her city. Some might say she is naive, but I think she is just a bit innocent and even when she is told when she fights for is unrealistic in a cruel way, she still tries to change things for the better.
Not a lot of romance. The story was about Kyra and her journey to find out her past, and where she fits in the world. A lot of YA books have romance as the main story line, and everything else feels like an afterthought just to round out the story. Even though Kyra kicks herself for being fooled by a man once, she learns from the mistake and is strong enough to stop that from happening again. She isn’t a simpering girl who pines over any guy who shows her attention.
Even the supporting characters have more to them than is usual for a book. I really enjoyed reading about James. He was a wild card in the story. It took courage for the author to write him like that. But it really worked out. He is essential to the story and if this character were to be removed from the story line or changed, I feel like there would be this gaping hole in the plot. I enjoy to love to hate an antagonist.
One of the things I loved about this books is that it isn’t clear who the ‘bad guy’ is. Kyra learns that even when she is on the same side as someone, it doesn’t mean that they are good. No one is all good or all bad. In a lot of books, the good characters don’t have huge faults, and the bad guys have don't redeeming qualities that make it hard to not see things from their perspective like Midnight Thief. Kyra finds out that lesson the hard way. That is how the world really works. Everyone in this book is multidimensional.
All in all, I recommend Midnight Thief to anyone who is bored by all the YA books out there that have flat story lines and characters. It was refreshing to be surprised by a book. That hasn’t happened for a while. After a while all the books seem to follow the basic theme: character is introduced, character meets love interest, someone in characters life is jealous, love triangle, conflict ensues, character solves conflict with help of the person he/she realizes is ‘the one’, resolution. This book has plot twists that are big and small. Some you can see coming and some surprise you.
Read this book.
Tristam serves as a Palace knight, defending against fearsome Demon Riders, warriors with giant cats who terrorize the people. When important documents begin inexplicably disappearing from the Palace, Tristam uncovers the identity of a thief who may be the best chance at bringing down the Assassins Guild. If he can convince her to betray them.
I’ve been curious about this book since before it came out. I started trying to read it once before, and just didn’t get hooked enough to continue. I must have been really tired or something, because this time when I started reading, I didn’t want to stop. Kyra’s character captured me from the first page. She’s too smart for her own good, with a soft heart and a deep loyalty to her friends. Loved her. I loved her best friend, Flick. I really wanted him or James to be the big romantic interest, but it was clear (because he has his own point-of-view) that Tristam was going to be the hero. He grew on me. At first he was too clean and neat and predictable.
The plot moved really quickly and I kept turning pages to see what would happen next. There were several revelations that I didn’t see coming. The resolution was satisfying but also left me eager to pick up the sequel. I liked that there were moments that turned my perceptions of characters and situation on their heads. I feel like that’s a pretty true-to-life experience (things not being what they initially seem), so I’m always interested when I find that in literature.
Would I pick up the second book in the series? Yes. I’m curious what happens next to Kyra, Tristam and their friends, but I’m not so desperate that I have to read it right now. I think it was a good book definitely worth reading. I think especially fans of Robin McKinley will enjoy this story.
Most recent customer reviews
This was a great book that actually grew on my the more I read it.Read more