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An Illusion of Thieves

(Chimera #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,003 ratings  ·  240 reviews
In Cantagna, being a sorcerer is a death sentence.

Romy escapes her hardscrabble upbringing when she becomes courtesan to the Shadow Lord, a revolutionary noble who brings laws and comforts once reserved for the wealthy to all. When her brother, Neri, is caught thieving with the aid of magic, Romy's aristocratic influence is the only thing that can spare his life—and the pr
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published May 21st 2019 by Tor Books
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Carol Berg There are echoes of past romance, visible throughout. But the story is fantasy adventure.
There are echoes of past romance, visible throughout. But the story is fantasy adventure.
Mackay It's adult, and very welcome at that.…moreIt's adult, and very welcome at that.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,003 ratings  ·  240 reviews

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Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This sucked me in right away- not so much because of the plot, but I loved the characters and the world building/setting.  The setting is inspired by renaissance Italy.  Although we could detract points for it being a European setting, I do think Italy is one of the rarer European settings, and I also felt like Glass did an excellent job of it making it unique (this is a godless empire for starters, which was kind of refreshing).  Cantagna has seen it’s share of tyrant rulers and strife, so a de ...more
Athena (OneReadingNurse)
Thank you so much to MacMillan - Tor/Forge, Tor Books for the e-ARC of An Illusion of Thieves by Cate Glass. Provided through NetGalley, all opinions are my own!

An Illusion of Thieves is a refreshing new (appropriate for young adult, but not, my bad) novel about a sister and brother who must first learn to coexist, and then foil an attempt by a rival group to start a civil war.

*description omitted here*

So I really enjoyed this book for a couple of reasons, first being that I am sick of romance
May 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019-read, fantasy
My protection, my notice, and my interest in you and yours is ended. Cataline of the Moon House is dead.
Romy has risen from poverty and destitution to a life of privilege and wealth as the mistress of the Shadow Lord, the de facto ruler of their fantasy-Italian city-state. But when Romy intercedes on behalf of her thieving brother, the Shadow Lord banishes Romy from his house and esteem. Having risen to her city’s highest heights and fallen to its lowest lows, Romy must now slowly, painfully,
Maja Ingrid
May 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Oh well. This wasn’t what I expected.

This is a new fantasy adventure written by well-known author Carol Berg under the pen-name Cate Glass. Not sure why she (or her publishers) decided to put it under a pen-name because it doesn’t deviate from her other fantasy books (and authors/publishers usually do pen-names to separate themselves in different genres or age categories).

The book is set in an Italian inspired world and I actually really liked it. It’s imaginative and easy to picture. In thi
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Strong 4 stars from me. There is a lot to like about this novel and it has many elements I love in fantasy work -especially politics and magic. But for the most part it is a story of ex-courtesan who is threw in an ordinary life to take care of her brother. Living in luxury for 9 years, Romy is suddenly forced to learn how to earn for life in a world without priveleges and connections and she has to prevent her younger brother from getting arrested. They both have special abilities, but she is r ...more
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: epic, netgalley
An Illusion of Thieves opens a new epic series written by Carol Berg under her new pen name Cate Glass. Set in the world reminiscent of Italian Renaissance, it blends political intrigue, skullduggery, heist, and magic.

Significant conflicts and conspiracies start id dining rooms and artisan workshops. The city of Cantagna is a hotbed of issues, social, economic, and political. Despite internal conflicts and differences, everyone agrees that magic is evil and any person carrying the taint should b
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Full review is here, on my blog!~

This story follows the exploits of Romy, who is the eldest daughter of a law scribe in the poorest part of the city of Cantagna. Magic is anathema in this world. It is evil, and forbidden, and so Romy has to hide her magical abilities for fear of her life. She was sold by her mother to a brothel when she was ten, and since then has risen in the ranks of the courtesans of the city to the point where she has become the mistress of the Shadow Lord, the feared leader
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
2 and a half stars

There is a point in time where I would have quite enjoyed this book. This, unfortunately, was not that time. This book has cropped up again and again on lists of best heist books, and that was what I was looking forward to most when I picked this up. The heist, however, isn't even hinted at until page 200 of a 350 page book, and in the end it is fairly inconsequential.

The bulk of this book is spent wallowing in poverty as the main character goes from riches to rags and has to
Adah Udechukwu
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An Illusion of Thieves is a great novel. The series has great potential.
Chelsies Reading Escape
I didnt know this was classified as an adult fantasy when I requested it, but I really enjoyed following a character a little older than what I normally read. Romy is a 24 year old courtesan who was sold to the Moon House because of her mothers fear and hate of her daughters forbidden magic. Romy has a great deal of knowledge from her courtesan training and she has great problem solving skills. Im still unsure how she knew so much about metalwork though. With their parents banished from the city ...more
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review from Tenacious Reader:

I really enjoyed this one. It was an impulse request because when I was looking for my next book to read, it just sounded like a better fit for what I was in the mood for than anything I had on hand. I started reading it immediately and am quite glad I did. Turns out there’s a great story here.

As with so many books I love, this features a strong female protagonist. Romy started life in Beggar’s Ring, the poorest and most downt
May 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019-reads
***I received a free e-ARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review***

Actual Rating: 2.5 stars

Welp, this book turned out to be a lot different than I thought it was going to be. The writing style didn’t sit well with me, nor did the character relationships. An Illusion of Thieves held an interesting premise, but ultimately wasn’t for me.

In An Illusion of Thieves, an act of theft by her brother Neri, and Romy finds herself outcast from her role as the esteemed mistress of t
Jun 25, 2019 rated it liked it
2.5* Just a pass for me. Didnt buy this myself. Was given it as a gift. Although I love fantasy, this wouldnt have been something I jumped at. Just never got that interested in the Italian style fantasy world. Lynch did it better. Also I felt like the magic system was little too simple for me. I wanted some more complexity to it.
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-s-read
Where did the true evil lay? In the intent, or in the magic itself, or in the soul that made use of magic?

An Illusion of Thieves was a tough book to rate. Up until about 91% of the book I still wasn't sure what I was going to rate it, but then the ending happened and I had my mind made up for me quite quickly.

I'm not going to lie, going into this I thought it was a YA book, but very early on it was made quite clear that this was an adult book. There is a fair bit of brutality in this book and a
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I loved this book! By far the most stand-out quality was the characters. Everyone is wonderfully balanced as people - no one is pure good or pure evil, they're just real people making the best choices they can while navigating complicated situations. All of the relationships, but particularly Romy and Neri's, are believable. The realism gives them so much more emotional weight. Each setback is keenly felt; each little bit of progress is worth a celebration. The plot is well paced, the world is r ...more
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Highly enjoyable fantasy. With an interesting cast of characters and intriguing world and plot, there's a lot of room to grow! I'm keen to see where this goes in the next book. ...more
This was a lot of fun. Using Italy and its warring city states as a template, which recalled a pre- Renaissance Italy (Romy mentions a plague devastating the population in the not so distant past), Cate Glass crafts a tale of political intrigue and espionage, anti-magic-based bigotry and violence, and a risky heist with a high stakes outcome if it results in failure.
Romy and her younger brother Neri both have magic, which they have to keep deeply hidden or they'd be killed. After Neri steals som
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was actually a pretty good book, my er documented frustrations aside, and I'm sure the sequel will be even better.
Review to come
Ninosy  (Wonder Woman)
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
2 stars
DNF 80%

Started very well then the story shifted to the protagonist and her brother and I kept going but eventually lost interest...
MEH! 😣😣😣
Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard

This was just a weird book. The structure was weird. The sort of romance was weird. The pacing was weird. The magic was weird. The relationships were weird. The heist was weird.

There's a lot of elements that I liked but they were just so oddly combined and it didn't work for me. The characters were all flat, the plot was flimsy, the pacing was oddly slow. I don't know how to explain it other than I felt uncomfortable for a lot of the book.

It's definitely set up for a sequel but I don't see
Lynn Graham
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed this book, and am eagerly looking forward to the next installment. Don't worry this book wont leave you hanging, but it does give a great set up for the next book. I won't give any spoilers here, Im just going to say that you should read this book if you are into fantasy, magic or intrigue, and if you like all of that? I'd slide this to a must read. ...more
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
3 1/2 stars. I knew very little about An Illusion of Thieves when I requested it from Netgalley. Honestly, it was the divine cover that drew me in and I was happy to escape to a new, Italian inspired fantasy world.

An Illusion of Thieves was especially enjoyable because Cate Glass spends a lot of time developing the characters. I loved how the author not only focused on developing the main character, but didn’t neglect to develop her side characters as well. I really came to care for the struggle
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, sf
Just to get this out of the way: it's EXTREMELY funny that her name is Catiline. I don't think it's intentional; I was on the lookout for parallels. But either way, I laughed a Lot. Anyway.

I think the thing that is so frustrating to me about this book is that a lot of it is really good!! I like the characters and I like their relationships; the relationship between the protagonist and her brother is especially well done. The world is well-developed; the magic is mysterious and intriguing; I real
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This is one of those books you just can't put down! I hadn't intended to read it in just one weekend, but ended up doing so regardless! I can't wait for the next book! (Assuming there will be one.) ...more
Virginja ↢ 99% imp
Nov 06, 2020 rated it really liked it

Full review to come. Again this year (for the THIRD TIME) I find myself wishing for half stars really, really bad. Know that I rounded the rating at four just because I think this book is very valid and needs more audience.
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars it wasn't bad but I'm not really looking forward to the next book? Its much more, sherlock than I thought it was going to be lol ...more
May 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Good read! Like cold maple syrup, the story is slow but delicious. Not spicy enough for my taste but I still relished the Italian flavor. Looking forward to the second course.
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
How fun! Leverage in an Italian renaissance setting :)
an extremely middling three-star fantasy
Raven_Blake (dreamy addictions)
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2019, adult
Same Review Also Posted On My Blog: Dreamy Addictions

This book was an enjoyable ride! I’ve never read Cate Glass aka Carol Berg’s fantasy books so I don’t know what to expect from this book but I really loved the synopsis so I couldn’t resist it. At the beginning, I couldn’t get into the story and I was nearly going to DNF it, but I’m glad that I still continued because I ended up loving it. It was a unique read and I really liked the characters. Usually, I’m not into slow books, but I found thi
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Cate Glass is a writer of the fantasy adventure series Chimera. Cate Glass is also a pen name of Carol Berg, award-winning and bestselling author of fifteen epic fantasy novels and half a dozen novellas and short stories.

Though Cate's home has a great view of the Colorado Rockies, she has lived a large portion of her life in realms of mystery and adventure - Middle Earth, Camelot, Amber, Wonderlan

Other books in the series

Chimera (3 books)
  • A Conjuring of Assassins (Chimera #2)
  • A Summoning of Demons

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