Sage Collins's Reviews > The Star Thief

The Star Thief by Jamie Grey
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it was ok
bookshelves: for-review, kindle, new-adult

I received a copy of the eARC in return for an honest review.

I was pulled in by the cover of The Star Thief, one of the most impressive covers I've seen on an "indie published" book. The description seemed pretty cool, though I was a little surprised to see "frak" used in the description, and not about gas extraction (then again, there's also a sonic screwdriver in the first chapter or so, so it became clear that there was no fear of borrowing from other sci-fis.)

The book starts out with high action, and it doesn't fail to keep this pace pretty well throughout. And Renna is that snarky female character I tend to love.

But while I promised I'd read with a reader's eye not a writer's, I couldn't help getting distracted by technical issues as I read. Now, I'm not talking bout a misplaced comma or calling the major "captain" once or using "sent" when it should be "scent," or "discrete" instead of "distinct." Those things happen, but they happen all the time in books (especially ebooks). But there were too many instances where the wrong word was used, changing the meaning. Or where Renna, our POV character, would mention something, then act like she didn't notice or remember it a second later. We'd be told that a character was a certain way, but we'd be shown something completely different..but Renna would keep acting as if what she was told was the truth. We'd get multiple accounts of characters and situations. In one scene, Renna always needs to sit by the door in case she needs a quick escape. In the very next scene, she has to be separate from everyone else, even though it puts her far from the door, and she doesn't give that a second thought. At some point the MYTH characters claim that they can't contact anyone else because different branches are kept separate (security reasons), but later they do contact some other branch of MYTH, and towards the end Finn feels it's impossible that he wouldn't recognize a name from a member of MYTH. Keva does nothing but fight against Renna for the first half of the book (well, and show off her rack, apparently), but in the 2nd half, Renna comments that she's "finally" showing some backbone as if she spent the first half cowering or something. And the word "promise," which seems to flow of Renna's tongue, despite the fact that she claims she never makes any. These are just some examples of where what we're told changes or isn't what we're shown. And while there are unreliable narrators out there, these are not presented as if Renna's unreliable about them (or whoever is telling us them).

While the second half was better, the first half of the novel was difficult for me to get through for 3 major reasons:

1) The set-up. The entire novel is set up based on the job Renna was first hired to do. She is hired to steal some tech. In the process, she stumbles over a boy in a box who she may (or may not--because she's unclear on it) have heard whimper and that her implant, which her employers don't know about, tells her is there. It turns out that she was actually hired to rescue this boy by a military organization called MYTH. Wait a second. MYTH doesn't know about the implant, so they don't know she can find a heat signature. They may or may not have known the boy was near the tech (they are contradictory on whether they thought they could rescue him themselves or not). They don't trust Renna. So they hire her through a third part to steal some tech and hope she'll happen upon the boy and hope she'll put her neck on the line to rescue him? It seems farfetched, but it's never refuted, and in fact is rehashed over and over again in the first half of the book, making me roll my eyes and wait for the "psych!" that never comes.

2) Bodies. There's sex in this book, and that's just fine. I'm not well-read in books with sex this explicit, so I'm not great at judging it. (Although, it must be said that there was a certain description of a male body part that I know is a joke among romance writers). But Renna spends an awful lot of the first half thinking about her body (and Keva's too, tbh), and how she could seduce her way out of her situation, though she only employs it once. She grows out of this reaction in the second half of the book, and thoughts of sex remain personal, not strategic. So which one is the real Renna?

3) Renna vs. Finn. I love me a good love/hate relationship. But Renna and Finn's interactions for the first half of the book go like this:
Finn: I don't trust you after what you did before.
Renna: [insert snarky retort] And, by the way, you were a mercenary too.
Finn: Shut up. I left that life. *storms away*
And a while later Renna would wonder what he meant about what she did before. Also Finn's constantly angry at her, but nobody seems to see it except Keva once remaking that he's usually so unflappable, and Renna taking that as gospel truth, even though a) he'd been flapping the whole book so far, and b) she knew him well from before.

The second half goes more smoothly. There are some inconsistencies still, word-choice issues, and things that make me raise an eyebrow (you're seizing and nauseous, and smiling makes your head hurt, but you want to have sex right then?), but it's easier to go along for the ride. I also liked the characters more (once we got to know Finn, he was a decently appealing character, but we weren't given the chance behind all that snarking back and forth)

I'm the first to admit that most readers aren't writers, and they may not care about the technical things. And if you can suspend your disbelief about the opening mission, then the first half, despite all the rehashing and inconsistencies, may appeal more to you than it did me.

Recommended for fans of: NA sci-fi; snarky females, love/hate relationships, contradictions (some on purpose, some not); thieves; cybernetics and robots; protect-the-young-character plots; and frakking ;)
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Reading Progress

January 18, 2014 – Started Reading
January 18, 2014 – Shelved
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: for-review
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: kindle
January 20, 2014 –
3.0% "*raises eyebrow* A sonic screwdriver? Really?"
January 20, 2014 –
4.0% "If I were betaing this, instead of reviewing, I would have noted a few instances already where the MC mentions things then acts like she didn't notice or was only now remembering them a paragraph or 2 later. It's her POV. Either she noticed/remembered them or they shouldn't be mentioned."
January 20, 2014 –
9.0% "Didn't she already recognize this guy, like a few pages ago?"
January 21, 2014 –
17.0% "Save the galaxy? Does she know something we haven't been told yet? They were keeping her in the dark about the mission."
January 21, 2014 –
31.0% "It's hilarious to see "swollen member" in an actual book"
January 21, 2014 –
33.0% "From time to time a one-liner is thrown in that negates what we've been shown about the characters. The guy we've only ever seen be angry, is at one time called "unflappable," and then later said to have "mood swings." The girl who's considered seducing every male she's encountered, thinks "a girl's gotta have morals" in the middle of actually doing it, & is disappointed not to get sex after all. Be consistent"
February 3, 2014 –
43.0% "I really think mercenary is being used here differently from how it usually is."
February 3, 2014 –
48.0% "For someone who was so suspicious about the guy fixing her implant, she sure isn't acting like it. Apparently it gave her a headache, but that doesn't appear to concern her. And after the guy says "Don't use it against me," she turns around & uses it against him. Either she's an idiot or fixing the implant was too convenient."
February 4, 2014 –
64.0% "Considering she's stolen this amazing jewel & has not foreseen a problem with selling it & making a fortune, this subplot of stealing this tech to sell to live off of feels like it's there simply so she can feel guilty & probably to get her into trouble later."
February 4, 2014 –
66.0% "For someone who never makes promises, the word sure rolls off her tongue easily."
February 4, 2014 –
77.0% "Bombs are falling & we couldn't hail the ship, so we decided the fourth floor of the building was a perfectly safe place to hang out & keep trying."
February 5, 2014 –
89.0% "Is this where we finally find out why Aldani fixed her implant?"
February 5, 2014 –
89.0% "See, if she could jump from the bed, I would've expected her to do it before"
February 5, 2014 –
94.0% ""That's not possible." Finn, there are like 3 different, easy-to-see ways that that's possible."
February 5, 2014 –
100.0%
February 5, 2014 – Finished Reading
February 7, 2014 – Shelved as: new-adult

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