Friday, February 10, 2012

Thief's Covenant - Ari Marmell

About the book

Once she was Adrienne Satti. An orphan of Davillon, she had somehow escaped destitution and climbed to the ranks of the city’s aristocracy in a rags-to-riches story straight from an ancient fairy tale. Until one horrid night, when a conspiracy of forces—human and other—stole it all away in a flurry of blood and murder.
Today she is Widdershins, a thief making her way through Davillon’s underbelly with a sharp blade, a sharper wit, and the mystical aid of Olgun, a foreign god with no other worshippers but Widdershins herself. It’s not a great life, certainly nothing compared to the one she once had, but it’s hers. 

But now, in the midst of Davillon’s political turmoil, an array of hands are once again rising up against her, prepared to tear down all that she’s built. The City Guard wants her in prison. Members of her own Guild want her dead. And something horrid, something dark, something ancient is reaching out for her, a past that refuses to let her go. Widdershins and Olgun are going to find answers, and justice, for what happened to her—but only if those who almost destroyed her in those years gone by don’t finish the job first.

240 pages (hardcover)
Published on: February 14, 2012
Published by: Pyr
Author’s webpage

Thanks to Pyr for sending me a copy of this book to review.

In the past I have been rather vocal about my dislike of the young adult genre. I think having a baby is changing me. While I still struggle with some young adult books, I’m enjoying them more now than I ever have before. I read young adult books and think of the ones I’d like my daughter to read when she’s old enough. That makes it fun for me and has changed my overall feeling toward the subgenre. Furthermore, I am always pleased with the books Pyr publishes, so their new young adult collection is something that has me pretty excited.

Many readers will feel that Theif’s Covenant is rather familiar. The main character, Widdershins, is a resourceful street urchin who seems destined for more despite the odds stacked against her. There’s nothing new with that. Furthermore, N.K. Jemisin popularized the idea of gods walking among men, so that aspect of the story isn’t as unique as it would have been several years ago. However, despite that, Theif’s Covenant is filled with gripping, fast paced action and a heroine that readers can really cheer for.

Widdershins is a delightful character to follow. She’s smart and resourceful and never seems to let go of her slightly understated humor. Theif’s Covenant takes place in a familiar fantasy world which mirrors many other medieval fantasy worlds that many books use. This is both a strength and a drawback. The familiarity of the world will allow many readers to become absorbed in the story easily, while others might yearn for something a little more unique. Furthermore, the timeline can get rather confusing as chapters switch between now to two years ago, four years ago and more. It’s hard to keep track of how old Widdershins must be during many of these chapters, and I often felt that she didn’t seem as young as she should have been in many of these flashback chapters. These flashbacks can often serve to distract the reader from the overall character development.

Despite my few reservations, Theif’s Covenant is fast paced and the opening chapter sets the reader up for some high stakes action. Widdershins really shines, despite the fact that her rags-to-riches-to-rags story is rather familiar. Most of the book is told from her perspective though it does switch to others. Widdershins is the most developed character, while others often pale beside her. Some of the secondary and opposing characters are a bit too stereotypical, but the fast paced, action filled plot will serve to help many overlook any character qualms that might arise as they read.

Despite the familiarity many may feel regarding the secondary world in Theif’s Covenant is vibrant and often times Marmell utilizes incredible atmosphere to set the stage for further action/plot twists. The rich atmosphere and the well realized world really succeed at making Theif’s Covenant read well for young adults and adults alike.

Theif’s Covenant is a quick read. It is a young adult book that adults will feel comfortable with. The world is vibrant and the atmosphere is wonderful. Widdershins is an entertaining character to follow, despite the fact that her story is a rather familiar one. Theif’s Covenant is an excellent foundation for a vibrant young adult fantasy series.

3/5 stars

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