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Thieves at Heart: The Valley of Ten Crescents Paperback – September 28, 2011
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Attention Science Fiction Fans
Man vs. machine, humans vs. aliens, paranormal activities – discover the best of science fiction with these collectible books. Learn More.
From the Inside Flap
Other books by Tristan J. Tarwater:
- Little Girl Lost
- Self Made Scoundrel
- Botanica Blues
About the Author
Tristan J Tarwater is the author of The Valley of Ten Crescents series, as well as several other stories that hope to see the light of day. Born and raised in New York City she remembers reading a lot, visiting Museums and the Aquarium frequently and wanting to be a writer from a very early age. Her love of fantasy and sci-fi spills over into what she reads and watches in her free time as well as the collection of dice, books and small metal figurines that reside in her home. She currently lives in Central California with her Admin, Small Boss, a cat that knows it's a multipass and Azrael.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is basically the story of how Tavera, the little elf girl grows up. I see other reviewers referenced rough transitions in the plot. I didn’t see it that way. The story is a series of scenes from the girl’s life. In fact, the story is much more straightforward than most books. Tavera occasionally remembers a scene from earlier in her life, but there aren’t a lot of flashbacks to earlier times, and the main scenes progress in chronological order, although there are some years skipped between some of them. The only real difference is that there isn’t a boring connecting phrase like, ‘Two years later,’ or ‘In the spring of her eighteenth year,’ or whatever.
Also, there weren’t a lot of extraneous characters to have to keep up with. Except for Prisca the Tart – the woman Tavera’s new father, Derk, takes her from – and the woman they call ‘Old Gam’, who appears to be his main girlfriend and who serves as sort of a substitute mother to Tavera on one or two occasions, most of the other characters show up for a single chapter or episode in Tavera’s life, and then they are gone. Derk and Tavi are loosely associated with a group of thieves – something like a Thieves Guild, I guess – that calls itself ‘The Cup of Cream’. They consider themselves the best of the best of the thieves, and Derk actively trains Tavi so that she will one day qualify for full membership in this group.
One interesting facet of life in the Valley of the Ten Crescents is their religion. They apparently worship a moon goddess of some sort. There is a temple to this goddess in every city, and Tavi and Derk occasionally go to prayers there without feeling any discomfort or embarrassment about it, although once Tavi wonders why there are laws against stealing since the goddess herself sanctioned thievery by stealing light from her brother, the sun. ‘Old Gam’ takes Tavi to the temple for some sort of ritual when she has her first menstrual period (this is a tough interlude for a single father), and it is at one of these temples that Derk and Tavi go for a formal adoption ceremony after they have been together for several years.
A lot is hinted at around the edges of Tavi and Derk’s life together that is not fully explained. I already bought the other books in the series hoping to find out more. All in all, an interesting story.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review.
I shan't be picking up the following books, though.
Not that it's BAD - far from it - but it's not particularly great, wither.
The society in which the action is is set is not well-drawn; it's vaguely unpleasant, with children routinely sold (as we find out in the prequel novelette, "Little Girl Lost", also available in a free Kindle version) for slave labour in an organised market to whatever brutal (or otherwise) masters come along. (I may be inferring beyond what the author intended to imply, but it sounded to me as if a sausage-maker who has bought several children - one at a time - may have disposed of previous children she had bought in a logical manner when they were no longer able to work.) It's basically "Generic Medieval Society # 1B" - dirty and unpleasant for commoners, dirty and somewhat more pleasant for nobles and the well-to-do, active Thieves' Guild, Goddess-worship but no evident magic in use, city-states with no (evident) strong central authority, and elves as a somewhat unliked minority.
Basically, it resembles a Terry Gilliam (Jabberwocky [q.v.])/Monty Python version of the feudal world.
Tavera, the protagonist, a half-elf, is not at all likable (to me, anyway). She is very self-centered (not surprising, someone with a similar background in what we laughingly refer to as the Real World would probably be, too) and really doesn't seem to have any endearing characteristics.
The most sympathetic characters are the master-thief who takes her on as his apprentice and his sometimes-girlfriend. I'm fairly sure that, if i were to read the later books, i would discover that her mentor has unstated motives for adopting her (NOT sexual, i hasten to say) and for putting up with her. I certainly wouldn't.
The narrative skips forward in time with no warning several times - you have to figure out from (sparse) contextual clues when it has happened. The fact that this relatively short book covers more than seven years pretty well requires the skips, of course.
Not a BAD book - just not one that leads me to read any more of the author's work. I don't regret having read it - and at least i read the whole thing; there's more than one book that is popular that i couldn't even finish.
Doubtless it will appeal to a fair number of readers, and heaven knows i eagerly read stuff that others might well describe in less flattering terms that i've described this book, so don't decide whether to read it based on this review alone - read my other reviews to see if you agree with me, or read other reviews of this book to see if it sounds as if you might like it.
It's a quick, entertaining read. I'm not sure I'd say there's anything deep to the story; it doesn't feel like something with a profound message. Of course, many books are just written to be entertainment and that's good, too. It does speak, I think, to experiences a lot of women have as they're coming of age (I can only speculate here, as I am not a woman). Thieves at Heart does this in a way that doesn't feel cheap or exploitative. It feels real.
I may be ovethinking or overanalyzing. I enjoyed Thieves at Heart. I was curious to see how the author's long-form fiction was since I enjoy the webcomic she writes. Give Thieves at Heart a shot, you might enjoy it, too.
I really like Tavi and this really different setting of her story and I love Derk the Lurk!! Needless to say I'm ready to read the next book in the series when I can afford it. Thanx for the great book!!