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I Belong


Review: Thief’s Cunning by Sarah Ahiers

Title: Thief’s Cunning

Author: Sarah Ahiers

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Assassin’s Heart (Book #2)

Publication Date: June 13, 2017

Format: Hardcover, 416 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062363832 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062363831 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Kristie

Synopsis:

The companion novel to Assassin’s Heart—a riveting fantasy that Printz Award-winning author Laura Ruby said “will keep you turning the pages all night long”—Thief’s Cunning picks up eighteen years later and follows Allegra Saldana as she uncovers the secrets about the line of killers she descends from.

Allegra Saldana has always had to look over her shoulder. As the niece of the infamous assassin Lea Saldana, Allegra is used to hiding from people who want her dead. Once the strongest clipper family in the Kingdom of Lovero, the Saldanas—or what’s left of them—are now the most hunted. Their number one enemy is the Da Vias, whose thirst for retaliation is almost two decades in the making.

At least that’s what Lea has told Allegra her whole life, but lately Allegra’s been feeling like things are being kept from her—including her parents’ identity. So when Allegra finally learns the truth—I’m a Da Via—her world crumbles. Feeling betrayed by the people she trusted the most, Allegra turns to Nev, a Traveler boy whose presence makes her feel alive in ways she’s only dreamed of. But getting caught up in Nev’s world has consequences Allegra never saw coming.

In this dark and enthralling fantasy that fans of Sarah Maas and Leigh Bardugo will devour, one girl must decide whether she’s destined to pay for the wrongs of her family’s past…or if the future is hers for the taking.

Quick & Dirty: Creative fantasy setting but ultimately, I couldn’t stand the main character.

Opening Sentence: I didn’t fit.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Thief’s Cunning is the second book in the Assassin’s Heart series. It is a companion novel set eighteen years after the events of the first novel, Assassin’s Heart. I would recommend that you read the first novel because the entire situation with Allegra revolves around the ending. Also, aspects of the world are set up better in the first novel i.e. understanding the ghost situation. Lea and Les do appear throughout this novel while it is told in the first-person point of view of Allegra, Lea’s niece.

The novel begins on Allegra’s eighteenth birthday and they are celebrating as only a clipper family would. Life is Yvain isn’t much fun when they don’t celebrate Clippers or death/reincarnation. Allegra just doesn’t feel like she fits in in Yvain or with her family. She is severely disappointed when Lea announces that she is going back to Lovero for a celebration and Allegra isn’t allowed to go. Allegra won’t take no for an answer. After a somewhat botched assassination, Allegra is allowed to go to Lovero but Lea has a good reason for Allegra not going. If you’ve read Assassin’s Heart then you know why Lea doesn’t want Allegra going. Although as a reader, I do have a huge beef with how the end played out and what is happening here but I won’t say more because of spoilers.

On Allegra’s first night in Lovero, she quickly finds the answers that she’s been looking for her entire life. She’s conflicted yet excited. She’s found somewhere she belongs. She also meets a strangely hot Traveler boy with whom she spends the night with. The next night Allegra finds herself the target of assassination but after a strange encounter she survives. A series of unfortunate events ensue and Allegra finds that the future she had envisioned for herself has now been taken away from her.

The first line of the novel is “I didn’t fit.” It refers to Allegra not being able to fit through a window but it also reflects Allegra Saldana’s feelings about her family and her life. She doesn’t feel like she fits. She repeats this over and over throughout the novel. She whines and complains that her life was taken away from her, whatever that life may have been because Lea won’t tell her. She keeps arguing about how she will leave her old life for her new life, old family for new family. At first, she isn’t even remorseful about it eventually her feelings begin to change. I just didn’t like how ungrateful she was towards Lea.

Thief’s Cunning is a novel that held quite a bit of action and definitely kept me in suspense most of the time. I had no idea where the events would lead to as the course of the story played out.  Things just kept happening to Allegra that I didn’t entirely see coming. The moral lesson isn’t a surprise. I do really like the aesthetics and creativity of this world. It is terrifying and definitely not a world I would want to live in especially the worshipping of a goddess of death. In the end, I did feel like some things may have been left unfinished but that could have just been me thinking there was more of a story in some of the things that happened with Allegra.

Overall, I enjoyed delving back into this world even if I did find Allegra a wee bit annoying. I would recommend checking out this series if you like fantasy novels and your young adult novels a little on the darker side.

Notable Scene:

Lea exhaled slowly through her nose. “I took you,” she said. “I took you from your crib and we walked out of that house and I never once looked back and never regretted it. You want to call me a child thief, then go ahead, but it was the right thing to do and I would do it again.”

Her words hit me like a bucket of canal water. I closed my eyes and rocked back on my heels. Dumb. I was so, so dumb. All my life I’d been living a lie. I was a stolen child and now to have any sort of relationship with my mother, with the Family I’d been stolen from, I would have to give up the Family I was raised in, give up the people I’d spent my entire life loving.

It was unfair.

But I’d never fit with them. And I never would.

Assassin’s Heart Series:

1. Assassin’s Heart

2. Thief’s Cunning

FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Thief’s Cunning. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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