Friday, June 26, 2015

Book Review: A Book of Spirits and Thieves (Spirits and Thieves #1)

Release Date: June 23, 2015
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Publisher: Razorbill
Length: 368 pages

Modern-day sisters discover deadly ancient magic in book 1 of this Falling Kingdoms spin-off series!

Worlds collide in this suspenseful, page-turning Falling Kingdoms spin-off series, which explores a whole new side of Mytica—and an even darker version of its magic.

Crystal Hatcher, Modern-day Toronto: It’s a normal afternoon in her mother’s antique bookshop when Crys witnesses the unthinkable: her little sister Becca collapses into a coma after becoming mesmerized by a mysterious book written in an unrecognizable language.

Maddox Corso, Ancient Mytica: Maddox Corso doesn’t think much of it when he spots an unfamiliar girl in his small village. Until, that is, he realizes that she is a spirit, and he is the only one who can see or hear her. Her name is Becca Hatcher, and she needs Maddox to help get her home.

Farrell Grayson, Modern-day Toronto: Rich and aimless Farrell Grayson is thrilled when the mysterious leader of the ultra-secret Hawkspear Society invites him into the fold. But when he learns exactly what he has to do to prove himself, Farrell starts to question everything he thought he knew about family, loyalty, and himself….

Fate has brought these young people together, but ancient magic threatens to rip them apart.



Characters: This tale is told from three different perspectives, though if we're being technical, then there are actually four main characters. You have Crystal, her sister Becca, Maddox and Farrell. Crys, the older of the two sisters is going through a bit of a rebellious artist phase. She's skipping class, avoiding her responsibilities and spending all her free time taking pictures. I was kind of annoyed at Crys at first, it wasn't that she was necessarily a bad character or that she specifically did anything wrong, but her attitude wasn't the best in her first couple chapters. However over time a different side of her came out, a fierce and resilient side that I grew to really like. Then we have Becca the bookish younger sister who's spirit is sucked into the world of ancient Mytica, she's a perfectly fine character I guess, but other than a few expositional moments and being a sort of invisible friend to Maddox, she doesn't really do all that much, which I hope will change in future installments. Maddox is a boy from ancient Mytica who hasn't had the best life, he's a bit too gullible and yet still self-deprecating. Over time he too develops into a stronger more confident character. Then there's Farrell, what can I say about Farrell, well he's rich, a tad too entitled, has serious issues, and yet somehow there's a part of me that's rooting for him. I know we're supposed to be rooting for him, but I really didn't expect him to be as much of an unconscious antagonist as he is. I'll be interested to see his development in the future.

Romance: Another thing I didn't expect of this book was the extreme subtlety of the romance. I mean it's there and at times it's plain to see, but most of the time the interactions between these couples seems more like platonic bonding than anything romantic. There isn't that much romantic tension between the couples, though a lot of chemistry, which makes me wonder if the author is saving the good stuff for later. However, with the lack of romance there's a lot more attention and detail focused into the plot which was very well done.

World-Building; So this tale is told between two world tied together through magical means. We have ancient Mytica where the Becca/Maddox storyline takes place, and then present day Toronto, Canada (which by the way I loved reading a book not set in the US) which involves the Crys/Farrell storyline. The Mytica we see is one ruled over by Valoria and Cleiona, and best of all we learn some juicy details about them as well as their sister Eva. If I had one complaint is was that we didn't get to see all that much of it. Since there are three narrators and Maddox is the only one in Mytica, we got to see, at most, Mytica in 1/3 of the book, if that. The other storyline involves a dangerous secret society, lies, deceit, betrayal, and some very, very, shocking revelations tied not only to this storyline, but the Mytican one as well. While I was a bit bummed about the fact that we only got to see a small portion of Mytica, I'm all on board to see what's to come next in this world and how it may connect with the second half of the Falling Kingdoms series.

Predictability: Holy twists and turns, Batman! I have to say the very few twists and shockers I saw coming in this book, I really only saw moments before they were revealed. I can't count how many times this book nearly floored me with the magnificently woven twists and foreshadowing. The foreshadowing we get is very subtle and it's really only after the truth has been revealed that it even makes sense. There's some possible foreshadowing for future installments that I'll be interested to see if they pan out.

Ending; So this ending was not what I expected at all. Really pretty much the entire thing I could very easily say was not what I envisioned. It was kind of amazing that way. Rhodes wrote a fantastic end to this book, one that is really only the beginning of this series, as cheesy as that may sound. The final confrontations were phenomenal, very high octane and full of tension and suspense, and while I wouldn't necessarily say that this book ended in a cliffhanger, I will say that after finishing it I found myself needing the second book as soon as possible. I can't wait to find out how everything goes down in the sequel.


So I will say I debated on giving this book five stars or four and a half, because I did feel like the book could have benefited with some more Mytica, but after my deliberation, I found that I couldn't fault this fantastic book just because I wanted more. It's a great read and I'm sure any Falling Kingdoms fan would fall in love with it like I have.


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