Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Thief's Cunning by Sarah Ahiers

Title: Thief's Cunning (Assassin's Heart #2)
Author: Sarah Ahiers
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Source: Harlequin Teen Aus

The companion novel to Assassin’s Heart—an action-packed fantasy that Printz Award winner 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 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.

But lately Allegra’s getting fed up with everything being kept from her—including her parents’ identity. When she finally learns the truth about her family, though—that she’s 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 if she’s destined to pay for the wrongs of her family’s past—whether Saldana or Da Via—or if the future is hers for the taking.
Review by Nara

I was slightly wary going into Thief's Cunning, as I knew the story would be about a character that I felt was not treated ethically in Assassin's Heart. I won't go into specifics in case you haven't read the book, but basically there was a big decision at the end that the main character Lea made that I completely disagreed with. The character that was impacted most by that decision is Allegra, the main character of Thief's Cunning.

Taking a step back from this particular plot point, I thought the book was relatively well written overall. The story is engaging and fast paced. We see different aspects of the fantasy world that Ahiers has built, and it's a well developed one. I found the different gods and different magics of the cultures quite interesting, and definitely wouldn't mind seeing another book set in the same world.

In terms of the negatives, the main one was probably that Allegra was, to be frank, a bit of a brat. She was the classic rebellious teen that we all hear about, but she's also (unlike most rebellious teens in the real world) a prime target for many rival clipper (assassin) families. She made a lot of poor choices which could have ended pretty badly, and refused to listen to her surrogate parents who mostly gave her some pretty reasonable advice. I also wasn't sure about how much I liked the romance as it was pretty fast.

Overall, the book was a decent follow up to Assassin's Heart. I would recommend reading that novel first before reading this one so that you have a better understanding of the world that is presented.

Liked it
Overall: 7/10
Plot: 3/5
Romance: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
World Building: 3.5/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 4/5