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Released: September 7 2021
Genre: Young Adult
Published by Gallery / Saga Press
“…reminiscent of Leah Bardugo’s The Six of Crows”~ Under the Covers
Among Thieves by M.J Kuhn follows the story of Ryia Cautella, a deadly assassin in Carrowwick. Beneath her lethal skills and sharp wit Ryia has been carrying a secret that has kept her hiding, doing whatever it takes to stay a step ahead of the Guildmaster, the sovereign ruler of the five kingdoms of Thamorr. His loyal servants follow her everywhere she turns. Ryia’s path brings her directly into the stronghold of the person she has been doing everything in her power to avoid for the past six years. Though, it is not a path she will have to walk alone. She is required to team up with a team of miscreants to help her succeed, but she has to watch her every step as her new alliances are fragile, each with plans of their own.
The setting of Among Thieves is reminiscent of Leah Bardugo’s The Six of Crows—criminal gangs vying for territory and power in a city’s underbelly. No one is trustworthy. The three main gangs in Carrowwick are The Saints, The Harpies, and The Crowns. Ryia, known throughout Carrowwick as The Butcher, works for Cal, the head of The Saints, as a mercenary while trying to stay one step ahead of the Guildmaster. Apart from Ryia, the reader is introduced to other members of this unusual band of thieves through a multi-person point of view. Tristan is hiding his real identity and is being blackmailed by The Harpies as they have learned his secret. Now, he has to betray The Saints if he wants his secret to remain a secret. Ivan is secretly trying to get enough money to go back home and save his brother from prison. Evelyn is helping because Cal promised her that she could bring Riya to justice to regain her position as captain of the guard. And Nash, though selfish motivations intact, has feelings for Ivan.
The magic system is simple to grasp. Some people are born with magical abilities: they are either Sensers, people that can smell people and their intents, or Kinetics, people that can make things move with their minds. Kuhn excels at consistently flipping the tables end over end, smattering them with axes, and then hurling expletives at them until they finally give up the ghost. While the dialogue is funny, the writing is compelling. There was a lack of relatability to the characters for me. The lack of character connection had me struggling to turn the page and remain invested in the novel as much as I expected after the onset chapter. The story of the book was a little slower to unravel. Ryia’s story was the one that stuck with me the most.
Overall, Among Thieves is a well-written novel with a fast pace and just enough complexity, betrayals, and unexpected twists to keep the reader occupied.
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