Disclaimer:- I swore when I signed up to this site I would be very tight with my 5 star ratings. Surely to get a perfect score the book has to be perf...moreDisclaimer:- I swore when I signed up to this site I would be very tight with my 5 star ratings. Surely to get a perfect score the book has to be perfect, and seeing as that is impossible a 5 star rating should never be given. That said I just couldn't bring myself to give this a 4.
Among Thieves follows Drothe, a sardonic and intelligent nose, on what starts out as a simple job that goes rather wrong rather fast.
Among Thieves is written in the first person, this can be a risky move. When done well (see Eisenhorn (Eisenhorn Omnibus)) books written in the first person are compelling and damn hard to put down. When done badly books written in the first person are almost unreadable.
A book written in the first person lives and dies by its lead, they fall into two categories: Leads that are just close enough to a blank slate to allow the reader to project into them, a good example of this is Bella from the Twilight saga. The second category is leads that are so likeable we don't project ourselves into their place, we want to listen to their story, they are superbly characterised well written and rounded people. Drothe falls firmly into the second category.
Drothe is cool, there's no two ways about it. He is funny in a dry, witty Jack Dee way and most importantly, despite how farfetched the plot gets, he remains believable. In an age where the lead in an action book/film/programme/zoetrope has to be a superman it's refreshing to see a character struggle at times. Drothe is not untouchable once he draws his rapier, he gets through most of his fights by luck and relying on his infinitely more skilled companion Bronze Degan. It works, why would a thief and a nose, who does his job by staying out of trouble, be an expert swordsman?
So, we've established that the lead is cool, what about the story? You'll be pleased to hear that the story is also great. It flows well from the first act where we see what Drothe's life is like, to the second act where everything goes wrong, to the third act where he pulls it all together. At no point do you stop to think 'hey wait, how or why did that happen?'
The word in which the story takes place is also well written and very filled out with minimal expositional information dumps. There is one in the third act when Drothe meets one of the big players and they talk about the empire and the emperor, but it fits, because not only is it bringing us up to speed, but it is bringing Drothe up to speed as well.
The supporting players are brilliantly written as well, from the small time characters like Fowler to the bigger, more important people like Degan and Christiana. They are more than vehicles to drive the plot, they are people.
So, is this book worth your time and money? Yes. Yes it is. Simple as.(less)
Having devoured the first Demon Trappers book I absolutely could not wait to get my hands on the second instalment in the series. The result: A resoun...moreHaving devoured the first Demon Trappers book I absolutely could not wait to get my hands on the second instalment in the series. The result: A resounding ehhh.
Don't get me wrong, it's not at all a bad book, but Riley seems to spend most of the book floundering around accomplishing nothing, the plot of this book is slightly flimsy compared to that of the first book.
One thing this book does well, and better than a lot of recent books I have read, is give us time with the characters. Luckily Jana Oliver has written characters it's easy to care about.
Beck is by far my favourite character and he gets a lot of time in this book. We spend a lot of time in his head in this book and none of it is wasted and most importantly the crappy hand he's dealt isn't the same crappy hand every other character in every other YA book is dealt.
Which leads me nicely to Riley. The loosing parents thing is so overdone in YA fiction at the moment that it has become trite to the point of tedium. But if you can ignore that particular complaint then Riley is a likeable character who at least tries to tackle her problems head on rather than sit in the corner and cry about them.
Then we've got the cast of supporting characters all of whom have their own arcs. There's Ori, Harper, Simon and Peter, all of whom grow over the course of the book. Although be prepared to despise Simon, and for no adequately explained reason. Jana Oliver has thrown Simon to the wolves for no other reason than to move the plot along, I hope it is explained more in the next book.
That's the characters out of the way, so what actually happens in the book? That's the problem, not very much happens at all. The plot only actually moves along in the last quarter of the book. It seems that way in the middle of most trilogies now, but this book seems to suffer from it worse than others. What little plot advancement that does happen though is strong. There's a nice twist about half way through the book which is treated with scepticism by Beck, and consequently by the reader. The twist only actually gets confirmed right at the end when Riley does something very stupid indeed.
So, I've been quite hard on this book, it could easily have been a four star book, but I don't think it did quite enough to earn that fourth star. The first book got four, and this one isn't as good as that, so three seems like the correct rating. But don't take from the rating that this book isn't worth your time, because it absolutely is. If you like the first book then this is more or less required reading. The characters are well written and you'll enjoy spending time with them, just a shame that they don't do much advancing of the plot.(less)