Title: City of Saints & Thieves
Author: Natalie C. Anderson
Genre: YA Mystery
Publication Date: January 24, 2017
Format: Hardcover, 401 Pages
ISBN-10: 0399547584 (Putnam/Penguin)
ISBN-13: 978-0399547584 (Putnam/Penguin)
Reviewed by: Kristie
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya.
In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.
With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.
Quick & Dirty: This mystery novel kept me guessing and I was completely surprised by the shocking twists.
Opening Sentence: If you’re going to be a thief, the first thing you need to know is that you don’t exist.
City of Saints and Thieves is a novel that you will want to read if you want a contemporary thriller that will really keep you on your toes. Don’t believe anything that you think will be the possible outcue because whatever you think will definitely not be how this novel plays out. It was brilliant, crazy and completely shocked me. This novel is set in a fictional city in Kenya and portrays the divide between classes of rich and poor. It also showcases the horrors of war and the aftermath that the survivors have to deal with in order to continue with their lives.
Tina is a refugee from Congo. She barely remembers her life there but she does remember leaving, going to Kenya and moving in with the rich Greyhill family with her mother as their maid. She spent several comfortable years there, making friends with the Greyhill son and even gaining a little sister whom she looks out for at all costs. That peace is shattered when Tina’s mother is murdered in the Greyhill office. Tina is convinced that Mr. Greyhill is her mother’s killer and quickly leaves the estate with her sister. Tina finds a safe school for her sister to stay while Tina contemplates her new life as a thief living on the streets.
Tina becomes a thief with the Goondas because she knows she can use those skills to stay alive and also to seek her revenge against Mr. Greyhill. She will prove one day that he killed her mother. Tina finally gets her plan in place but one thing goes terribly wrong. She gets caught. Mr. Greyhill’s son, Michael, catches Tina in the act. He doesn’t believe her claims that his father killed her mother. In fact, he knows his father is innocent. Michael and Tina enter into an uneasy pact where they will work together to uncover Tina’s mother’s real killer. Their search leads them to the streets of Sangui City to the forests of the Congo.
Tina has a set of rules that she follows, rules that she discusses as the story progresses. Tina thinks she is a really clever girl and as the story goes you just think that she’s gotten off pretty lucky. But you’ll be thinking quite differently by the end. Tina is pretty one-minded when it comes to her revenge but when Michael plants that 1% seed of doubt in her head, she wants to believe it but she won’t let herself. I really did like Tina, even though she was set on killing. She does resort to some desperate measures eventually but only in an equally desperate situation. Tina really is one lucky girl, her situation could have been so much worse but she was allowed to become a thief and fighter from the streets which really define her character at the start of this book.
City of Saints and Thieves is very much a thriller. I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who killed Tina’s mother. There are some crazy action scenes but I did feel there were some slow parts but I still enjoyed those scenes because it portrayed life in Africa and the effects of war and poverty.
Overall, this standalone story did quite a lot to surprise me in the end. The twists kept me guessing (which I’m glad I was wrong) and the ending said more about her character than I ever would have thought. Even though this is a young adult book, I highly recommend this story to readers of all ages. There are many lessons that can be taught within these pages.
Bug Eye sighs. “All right. But this time you get in and get this done. No screw-ups.”
“No screw-ups.” I count the seconds while I wait for him to respond.
“And no more running around without permission, right, Tiny Girl? Mdosi Omoko’s not a man used to being kept out of the loop. Get down to business. Get him what he wants.”
“Don’t come back.”
FTC Advisory: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers/Penguin provided me with a copy of City of Saints & Thieves. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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