Thiefs. Assassins. Knights. Warriors that ride giant, man-eating wildcats. Yeah, it’s easy to get excited about Midnight Thief by fellow Fourteenery member Livia Blackburne. I was so psyched to dive into Kyra’s world and it was even better than I could have expected. But in case you need a little more info, here are my reasons why you should read Midnight Thief:
1. Morality and Mortality
Kyra is a smart, complex heroine who’s confronted with major moral choices–and I mean major. I don’t want to do into too much detail here because hello spoilers, but I loved seeing her grapple with doing what’s right and doing what can help her (and the people she loves) survive.
2. And Action!
Fight scenes and chases may pull a reader along at breakneck speed, but they are so hard to write. Major kudos to Livia for constructing exciting scenes and compelling action scenes that also move the plot and develop the characters.
3. Climb On
Because of this awesome action, I’m inspired to go do cool things like rock climbing. You know how Katniss inspired a lot of kids to take up archery? I’m thinking Kyra will do the same with climbing.
4. In Which I Want to Write Midnight Thief Fanfic
Let’s count all the minor characters I loved in Midnight Thief–Flick and Bella and Lettie and Idalee and Brendal and Pashla and James and oh my lord, everyone. Even if they get less page time than Kyra and Tristam, they’re all well-crafted characters with rich lives of their own. Seriously, guys, I’m ready to start writing Flick fanfic.
5. Real Romance
Midnight Thief has some romance, but it comes naturally from the characters and doesn’t feel like an unnecessary addition to the plot. I love seeing this in YA–characters getting to know each other and falling for one another gradually in a way that makes sense for who they are as people.
6. Stuck Between a Rock and a Giant Man-Eating Wildcat
Kyra’s in the middle of a struggle between the palace and the Assassins Guild and the Demon Riders–and can’t really trust any of them. I love that each side makes valid points about its reasoning and still has major flaws. It’s not an easy case of good vs. evil, and that makes for some awesome conflicts for Kyra.
7. The World at Large
Livia’s crafted a cool world in the Forge and its surrounding areas. The city, with its walled-off class-restricted areas, feels real and I love the glimpses at the world beyond (especially through songs and traveler’s tales). The world feels expansive without wasting a lot of reader time mapping things out.
8. Alanna and Kyra
On her Goodreads page, Livia said Midnight Thief is an “homage to the medieval fantasies I grew up reading…notably, Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness…” I definitely got that sense reading Midnight Thief and I mean that as the highest compliment. Just like I fell in love with Tortall and Alanna, I’m already attached to Kyra and her life in Forge. I’m so excited that there are new readers who get to grow up with both Alanna and Kyra.
9. Livia Is Made of Awesome
Things Livia Blackburne knows about: neuroscience; jujitsu; writing awesome fantasy novels. In Fourteenery email threads, you can count on her to share useful information and hilarious quips. If she were also secretly a wizard, I wouldn’t be at all surprised.
10. Poison Dance
My reaction to finishing Midnight Thief: “Wait…no. More pages! I want more pages!” Fortunately, Livia’s got me covered–she’s written a prequel to Midnight Thief! Poison Dance is a prequel novella about James, who’s captivating in Midnight Thief as the leader of the Assassins Guild. Even better–it’s available right now. So go buy it already!
Midnight Thief is due for publication in 2014, so make sure to add it to your Goodreads list.