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Thieves at Heart (The Valley of Ten Crescents #1)

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  193 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Get the short story prequel - Little Girl Lost, for free - click here to find out more >>> (just copy and paste into your browser)


As an orphaned half-elf in a city of humans Tavera lives in a world where she doesn't belong - until a cunning thief named Derk catches her trying to steal
ebook, epub, 208 pages
Published September 28th 2011 by Back That Elf Up (first published March 9th 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Caytlin Vilbrandt
Oct 25, 2011 Caytlin Vilbrandt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let me preface this by saying I'm not a fan of traditional fantasy. Elves are usually not my thing, and the plots that tend to come with fantasy bore me. For whatever reason, I just can't often get into a fantasy book.

But I just finished Thieves at Heart and it was the first fantasy book that's held my attention the whole way through. It doesn't exactly have a plot -- that is, external happenings driving the story -- but it holds up very well as a story driven by the characters. Well-- that's no
Daniel Swensen
Oct 16, 2011 Daniel Swensen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, indies
The story of Thieves at Heart revolves around Tavi, a young girl who is adopted by a thief named Derk and is indoctrinated into a group of ne'er do wells known as the Cup of Cream.

I have rather mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I think the story has potential. The author has a good eye for sensory detail and has clearly put a lot of thought into the setting. The prose itself is solid enough, but there's a problem: not much happens.

Thieves at Heart doesn't feel like a complete story.
Mar 23, 2011 Mandy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2011
I really enjoyed this book. It had interesting characters and was set in an interesting world. I can't wait to read more of Tavi's adventures. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy.
What is it about some books that make them great? What elusive element exists within their written word that makes them stand out amongst so many others out there?

It's obviously the talent of the author, but there's lots of talented authors who can't quite seem to enchant the mind quite like Tristan J. Tarwater does in Thieves at Heart: The Valley of Ten Crescents. Unfortunately for reviewers it's a certain something that defies explanation. If it was explainable every author out there would be
Maria Violante
Dec 18, 2011 Maria Violante rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thieves at Heart, by Tristan J. Tarwater, is a skillfully written, well-pondered fantasy memoir-of-sorts, following the rescue and coming of age of a young female thief by the name of Tavera. Please note that given some of the language and situations involved, it’s not appropriate for children or most young adults.

My complaints with the book were few. At times, the writing gets a little unwieldy – uber-long sentences and the occasional awkward passage. Some of the transitions are clumsy. And yup
Oct 23, 2011 Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This was a great first offering from Tristan J. Tarwater, and I'm looking forward to reading more from this author. This was an enjoyable fantasy, a fun read.
I have to know what the future holds for Tavera, the protagonist. My heart went out to little Tavi. I wanted to adopt her and take her out of her circumstances.
Fun, interesting characters. This book was good for laying the foundation and backgrounds for the adventures which are yet to come. Hope to get to meet Tavi again soon.

Apr 25, 2011 Hybridhopes rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Hybridhopes by: Friend and cousin
Shelves: fantasy, humor, ebooks
Good enough to want to read more by this author!
May 11, 2011 Daniel rated it really liked it
A vivid world, interesting characters, no boring passages, I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to read more from this author!
Splash Of Our Worlds *Yiota*
Can you believe a book with such a well done cover is from an indie author? And wait to have it at your hands! It's definitely one of the best books in a matter of a creation i had in hands. It's so well done and i just had to mention it. I know we should not judge a book by its cover, but for first impression i was just so extremely excited to read it because i felt like the inside will be the same as good.

And to talk about the inside, yes it was as good. Simple and light writing which keep you
Ray Bliss
I received the book for free through

I love fantasy books and “Thieves at Heart”, by Tristan J. Tarwater, is a good book. However it didn’t engage me enough to be considered as a serious page turner.

“Thieves at Heart” is about a young half-elf girl, Tavara, who gets picked up by elite thieves. There are no vivid descriptions of “jobs” being done except for a shell game and a scene or two of planning jobs. The story mostly meanders from chapter to chapter. There was not much of a p
Oct 16, 2011 Darlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting read. Is my universe rocked by this novel? No. But it was nice to not have a lot of suspense while peeking into this young half-elf's life.

While full in description of the place and physical characteristics of the populace, I felt I wasn't given enough emotional flesh to understand the main character. I was glad to see that certain topics avoided by most authors were presented here, i.e. menstruation, and others.

I have to agree with Caytlin Vilbrandt in her assessment of the book.
Maribella Smith
Ok so I thought that the father daughter dynamic was cute, but there is plot. And the climax of the book was the last 3 pages. Literally, 3 pages. And it was stupid. Also I feel like the main character keeps changing? I'm not talking character development, I'm talking she's doing things completely opposite of what she would do...and then she goes back and forth and it's confusing. It's like she's 4 different characters. LIKE WHAT WAS THIS STORY EVEN ABOUT?
Oct 23, 2011 Alyssa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

This book needs a LOT of editing in terms of typo's, run-on-sentences, and sometimes it just doesn't make sense. There's not much of a plot, and the timeline is really vague and unclear. That being said, it was still interesting to see the main character Tavi grow up, and the cliffhanger at the end leaves you wanting more.
Liz Murphy
I did not enjoy this book. I found it poorly written; the story jumping around (skipping stuff I thought would be interesting while giving lots of writing to little things like getting her period). then it just ends. I barely found a storyline. it was like it was still the setting up the characters. there was no conflict or anything. like I said earlier: what could've been the interesting plot point or conflict was glanced over as a "so this happened yesterday..." Overall, not impressed and I wi ...more
Ryan M
I really enjoyed this book it had a very Oliver Twist feel to it in a fantastical world. I was really drawn into the story and wish to see more of the backstories of the other characters. The main character goes from a scrawny child to a young adult in her late teens, raised in the art of thievery to make a living. Throughout the story, she struggles with moral questions and ponders living to a code. Constantly trying to proof her worth to the elite Cream of the Cup and make her guardian an adop ...more
Tavera, or Tavi as most people call her, is a half-elf in a world of humans. When we first meet her, she is hiding in the shadows of her mother’s luxurious chambers. Her mother, or well, the woman Tavi was sold to, works as a prostitute, and whenever she can, Tavi steals money from the customers. Tavi’s thieving actions catch the attention of an elite thief, Derk “The Lurk”. Derk buys Tavi and introduces her to his lifestyle. While taking care of Tavi, Derk soon grows to be a father figure, and ...more
Apr 29, 2015 Carrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"Thieves at Heart" is the second book in Tristan J. Tarwater's "Ten Crescent" novels. It is also the sequel if you will to the first book in the series titled, "Little Girl Lost". (which I also wrote a review for)

Now this book picks up from where the last one ended: Tavera, or Tavi, as she is nicknamed, has been rescued from certain death and life on the streets. She has found refuge, affection and a what she thought was a sense of purpose in the local brothel. Her life changes forever when she
Maya Lantz
Jun 10, 2012 Maya Lantz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very excited to read Thieves at Heart and find out more about Tavera after reading Little Girl Lost. This book picked up shortly after the prequel ended which was nice, it almost felt like I was still reading the same book, only now it was a full length novel rather than a short story. After reading about all the horrible things that had happened to Tavera in her short little life I kept assuming that Derk had ulterior motives as her new “pa” and it took me about half the book to realize h ...more
Review brought to you by OBS staff member Annabell

Beware of spoilers!!

I had been very curious about this book from the moment I read the synopsis. I thought the idea of a girl being raised in a world of thieves would be filled with action and adventure. Thieves at Heart was not that tale which was a big disappointment considering how much I was looking forward to reading about Tavera’s world.

Thieves at Heart starts off in a very interesting place with Tavera acting as a thief for the woman she w
Sep 07, 2013 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Born in poverty, a half-elf in a human city, Tavera lives in a world where she doesn't belong -- until the day she meets Derk.” This is an entertaining coming of age story for the beginning of this series. The plot is character driven and realistic for the time setting. The only true fantasy element is the fact that Tavi is half-elf in nature, a Forester. There were no real magical elements, which made the suspension of disbelief easy to achieve. The characters were well developed, believable, ...more
Aug 08, 2012 Annabell rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had been very curious about this book from the moment I read the synopsis. I thought the idea of a girl being raised in a world of thieves would be filled with action and adventure. Thieves at Heart was not that tale which was a big disappointment considering how much I was looking forward to reading about Tavera’s world.

Thieves at Heart starts off in a very interesting place with Tavera acting as a thief for the woman she was sold to who happens to also be a prostitute. Tavera is soon sold t
Noshin Rahman
It started off sooo good. And it ended sooo... not quite as good.

The book starts off with Tavera as a little 6 or 7 year old girl assisting her mother who is a prostitute. She's then adopted by a young man, a thief who happens to notice her skills when she tries to steal from him.

The first third of the book was fantastic, the pace was fast but easy to follow along, you watch Tavera grow up through the years while also get a taste of what the side characters are like. But all of a sudden, the boo
Alysa H.
This has some interesting world-building and characters, and very inventive language. But having read the short-story prequel "Little Girl Lost", I was expecting... more? This book does make good on its rather feminist promise to have the development of its protagonist, Tavera, at its core -- "the development of a young woman... as a story all its own" -- but it does so at the expense of a strong narrative arc. There just isn't much plot, isn't much to drive the story forward, and so I found mys ...more
Paula  Phillips
Apr 07, 2012 Paula Phillips rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I opened this book, I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of the age group it was meant for but as I got started from the cover into the first chapter , it became apparent . The Thieves at Heart is the perfect novel for those young fantasy readers who are in between the I'm too old to read Junior Fiction and the I'm too young to read Teen Fiction.
Thieves at Heart takes us into the life of Tavera , a half-elf who hasn't had the greatest of upbringings as her father tried to kill her and then
Lauren Smith
Jan 09, 2012 Lauren Smith rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, indie
Tavera, affectionately known as Tavi, is a young half-elf with a talent for theft. She’s been working for Prisca the Tart but then gets recruited by Derk the Lurk – a career thief and a member of The Cup of Cream, an elite club of thieves. Derk takes Tavi under his wing, caring for her as a father would a daughter and teaching her to steal in the hope that she will one day earn a position in The Cup of Cream as well. In Derk’s company, Tavi grows from a scruffy, cowering little girl into a smart ...more
Mar 08, 2016 Debbie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a quick read, with the characters developed fairly well. It just didn't draw me in as much as I hoped it would. The pace seemed uneven as did the writing. The main character, Tavi, is quite young in the beginning and ages quite a bit considering the length of the book. I didn't have any trouble with the jumps forward in years, in fact it was a nice change not to have to live a character's life in tedious detail. I felt like this could have been aimed to young readers except for the very ...more
Dec 19, 2011 Tressa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thieves at Heart is a young thief's coming of age story.

Not something I would pick out in a million years, but it's a light-hearted read to break the monotony of so many cookie-cutter fantasy novels of which this is not. My issues with this book are the same as in some other reviews (elsewhere), so I'm not really wanting to beat a dead horse by rehashing them (here). I hope the next book brings a little more true depth of character, (not just the icks of growing up with no real emotional umph to
Jan 19, 2014 Niffer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy, ebook
I picked up this book because it sounded interesting. As I was reading it I was kind of enjoying it--the characters were likeable enough, if a little two dimensional. But as I read it there was just something bothering me the whole way through. It wasn't until I was about 90 pages in that I realized the problem was that there was no plot.

This is a coming of age story and it's okay, but it is basically the story of a young girl raised by a thief to be his apprenticd. It is entirely a story about
Jul 12, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, however it left an emptiness as it ended abruptly.

Tavera is bought by Derk and he becomes her father as she calls him. He is a theif and she goes into training to become a theif.

They travel back and forth to neighboring towns to meet up with other thieves in their group that is referred to as the Cup. Tavi is accepted into the group as she is adept as a theif.

Tavi becomes a woman and towards the end of the book it goes into detail about her getting her period, becoming int
Nov 12, 2014 Asia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of fantasy, lovers of suspense
I bought this book at Geek Girl Con from Tristan herself. She gave me a brief summary of the book, as I was familiar with her webcomic "A Fistful of Lunars". This book was so engaging that it was hard to put down, but I told myself I'd only read it at work on my breaks because I'm trying to do the whole remove-cellphone-from-face thing.

The thought she put into creating her entire world is absolutely stunning. There's in-depth explanations about the religion, the culture, everything. She really t
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Tristan J. Tarwater is a writer of fantasy, comics and RPG bits. Her titles include The Valley of Ten Crescents series, Shamsee: A Fistful of Lunars,Hen & Chick and Reality Makes the Best Fantasy. She has also worked for both Pelgrane Press and Onyx Path. Born and raised in NYC, she now considers Portland, OR her home. When she's not making stuff up, she is usually reading a comic book, cookin ...more
More about Tristan J. Tarwater...

Other Books in the Series

The Valley of Ten Crescents (3 books)
  • Self-Made Scoundrel (The Valley of Ten Crescents, #2)
  • Red Moon Rising (The Valley of Ten Crescents, #3)

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