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A Thief & a Gentlewoman (Counterfeit Contessa Book 1) Kindle Edition
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- ASIN : B07GNNM6LT
- Publication date : August 19, 2018
- Language : English
- File size : 1830 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 462 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #211,249 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes N.K. Jamisin, Kathrine Arden, Sarah J. Mass etc. Who is fond of historical YA fantasy, detective stories and a bit of romance.
This is a story of a young woman in her twenties, Quin, who with her trusty ensemble is going for the con of her life. Like Robin Hood, they steal from the rich and try to make life better for people in the Gutter Streets. Usually they go after lower standing aristos (books slang for aristocrats) but this time they plan to go after the Sultanas cousin, Atesh.
The story unfolds as one might have guessed with Quin and Atesh developing feelings for each other; she trying to hide behind an aristo facade, he seeing the women beneath. But you soon discover that the love story is just a backdrop for a much deeper and a lot more intriguing plot around the Sultana. A plot which is also entwined with Quins past as well as Atesh.
The author, Clare Sager, has a superb eye for writing characters with depth, making them interesting and believable. They have their strengths and weakness and are very much human, and you get to not only understand their actions but also feel with them. You can be sure that Mrs Sager has a back story for each of them, and from time to time she gives us small flashbacks in the book.
The same goes for the world this story is set in; the land and cities comes easily to life in your imagination. Already in the first chapter you get caught by the noises and smells of the market and the gruesome event which takes place. Also the way magic has been added in to this world, where everyone has access to it but far from all are able to dig deep, is entirely new and works very well. I must say that I like how it is only used on seldom occasions.
I love fantasy YA romance novels, as well as low and high fantasy books. I have been through most famous ones but also a lot of self published indie ones. And I must say that Clare Sager has given us a fantastic world and characters which I would gladly admit has a place among the best of them. I am very much looking forward for the next books in this series.
This is a self published book by the author, so if you like this book, please do write a review, do share it <3
Overall, I thought this was a fun read. I liked the characters, world building, and general plot. I would say the world building was my favorite. I loved that it was not pseudo European like so much fantasy.
On the down side- The guilty party and their motivation was way too obvious and I don't get why Quin kept dismissing really obvious clues. Also, part two really dragged and could have shorter.
Even so, I'm looking forward to the next book.
It covered some topics that I don’t enjoy reading about, which in the end is why, though this is a very accomplished writer, that I won’t be reading more of their books.
I am really looking forward to the continuation of the series.
Top reviews from other countries
How do I describe it? It's like some kind of Lady Locke Lamora tossed up with the world building and romance skills of Trudi Canavan, only less magic-orientated. It is the "I never meant to actually love you" trope done in such a way it's fun and exciting despite it's epic length - 600 pages is a daunting prospect but the pacing means everything is so well timed that not one moment of it drags. There's murder, there's mystery, there's action, secrets, mayhem, a love that's not over the top and all-consuming even if it does drive the story. It's also a first in series AND a self-contained story. No cliff-hangers here, but plenty of room for follow up. All in all, one epic read worthy of the time you'll put into reading it.
It's the story of Quinta, a well-trained thief playing the role of a gentlewoman to get close to her marks. She's returned to her home city, Arianople, which is a beautiful mess of Mediterranean cultures laced with the softest undertone of magic. Her next target isn't just some lordling, oh no, it's the cousin of the Sultana herself. Snaring the fortune of Atesh, the Pasha with green eyes and an artistic flare, will be her crowning achievement. She'll take his marriage proposal much as she's done with others, take the ring and vanish into the night... But not before giving a little back to those who come from the same lowly background as her. She never planned to actually fall in love. She has her friend Derry and mentor Ariston to care for amoungst other things... But it turns out forbidden, impossible love isn't the only thing she needs to worry about. The City of Cities has a long and grim history, and now the tangles of the past are coming back to ensnare everyone be they royal or not.
Quin isn't just one of those "strong female characters" - she's complex, compelling, cunning, clever, not to mention as quick with a rapier as she is with her wit. Far from being a swooning maiden even when romance does come into play, her softer side is still tempered with steely resolve. Atesh gets his own chapters as well, giving us an insight into his situation without giving too much away. Side characters such as Derry and Ariston have their own dramas and secrets that make them so much more than just convenient extras. Even the villains are far more interesting than they deserve to be (boo, hiss!)
The setting is gorgeous. It's very obviously inspired by Turkey and Greece with a heavy Renaissance flavour. A tiny gripe would be not explaining some things quite quick enough, like what a sabrecat was until Quin was actually riding one (aha, they're horse-substitutes!) or why Quin mentioned Cards (the world's inventive Tarotish magic system is beautifully light-touch - it exists but isn't the be-all and end-all of the world's charm). Descriptions of the costumes and setting are just as much as they need to be to evoke the feel of a world not quite our own but still familiar. Those little touches, like the smell and texture of various foodstuffs, are enough to spark the imagination.
I didn't expect to love this book as much as I did, given it's so long and billed as a romance. But by the time the mystery aspect came into play, I could barely put the Kindle down. I had to know the who, the how, the why... And that's the mark of a really epic story teller. I cared so much for the characters and how they were going to resolve everything (because come on, you knew they would). I am so pleased to find a book that told such a great story with closure and yet promises that there's so much more to discover about the world and the characters...
Very much looking forward to answering a few more of those hows and whys with this series. I can't recommend this one highly enough.
The pacing was a bit on the slow side, and the middle section left me missing the interactions between the protagonist and other important character, I do wish there was more of it given thatvits 600+ pages and a great portion was missing what I loved most. However, that also proves how easily I fell in love with certain characters.
One gripe I do have is with the antagonist, I would have liked more set up and context for the their motives, but I have a feeling more will be revealed in the future!
All in all, it was super enjoyable, and I'll definitely be waiting to read the next one!
I also read the prequel novella Mudlark.
It is also a stand alone, but it gives you Quin's origins. Both books are beautifully dovetailed and I cannot wait for the arrival of the next book in this series. It is already prebooked.