Thick as Thieves
When Darcy becomes a thief for a crooked pawnshop owner who has the power to save her sister, she's thrown into a world of magic, mystery and romance. Once it's discovered that she herself can wield magic, Darcy and her sister are uprooted from their home and brought to the Palace to train. There, they must learn to control their new powers if they wish to stay safe in this unfamiliar realm. However, when Darcy teams up with a boy struggling to overcome his cursed past, she must decide what she is willing to fight for.
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Obligatory note that the story is still in its early stages, so my review will reflect that fact.
Starting with style: The writer is very description oriented, with large portions of the 3 chapters as they exist now focused on surroundings. It works well though, and has a natural flow to it. That being said, a few sections pulled me out of what I was reading, such as one scene where Darcy notices the other thief's bulging pockets, and then within a couple more paragraphs again referred to his pockets as being bulging. The repetition is not inherently a bad thing, just something to keep any eye out for. There were also quite a few sentences that felt like they went on for ages, with multiple ands and buts in them that could have just as easily been broken up. All in all, I quite enjoyed the flow of what I was reading.
Story time boys and girls, gather around: The premise of this one is really interesting. There's been some foreshadowing of Darcy possibly having innate magical abilities, as well as her mother possibly not telling her kids everything about her past. How exactly did someone who apparently lived in Ring 4 meet up with someone from Ring 7? Why was their mother so against anything that seemed remotely magical, warning her children about the "magic" of Lovers Lane and telling stories about how you should never trust a magician? It's all good, and I look forward to the inevitable payoff when it comes around. As early as it is, the book has started off well, from its typical origins of insert poor gender person who has to do illegal thing to help their sibling. For a rehash, I liked it.
Grammar Police Sirens are silent here: I actually didn't notice any major grammar concerns here as I was reading it, normally I find them much more prevelant to the eye. Story is written in first person past tense, and stays pretty consistent to it throughout.
Characters: So, there are really only 5 characters established so far unless you count the dead dad and mother. I'm not including the dead mother, even if she is quite distinct so far, because aside from being a narrative device as well as foreshadowing, she isn't likely to impact the actual story much more than she already is. So, out of the 5 I'd say I can distinctly picture 3 of them. The two that suffer from the least characterization is Sen and Haster. Both are basically non factors besides a few callbacks from Darcy, and a light description of Haster. That being said, they don't talk much, so I expect they will be fleshed out further as it continues. Our main character, I feel like I have a strong grasp on motivations and that's really good. The Magician and Fil are also starting off pretty well, and there's definitely room for growth.
Overall I really liked it, and I'll be following along with it as it expands outwards. Only real gripe I have is that it is a story being written on the side, and so updates are going to be infrequent. All the more reason to follow I guess haha. Never really been good with endings, but I'm excited to see more.
I'll get right to the point, this is a well thought out, immeservive, and wonderful story set in a world that draws the reader in and told by a writer with skill. If you're a fan of fantasy, dystopian, or YA, this is probably going to hit every button. It's well worth the read.
Alexa gets first person and how to really delve into the mind of a character. As the reader, we're engulphed in both Darcy's mental/emotional landscape and the physical world that surrounds here. The details of the world--the magic of it--are woven together to create something beautiful. It's as if the reader is looking through her eyes, and because of that, what happens to her has an emotional impact. It's one of my favorite stylistic choices.
Folks who prefer a quicker paced and more action filled story might find this one a little on the slow side, but I am all about stories with slower paces that drag me deeper and deeper into the world and intrigue of it with every chapter.
I've only noticed a couple of small errors here and there while so absorbed in the story I didn't remember to go back and mark them. It's a well crafted story and Alexa knows how to wield worlds.
Dystopian society? Check! Out of touch ruling class and struggling lower class? Check! A region that's been at war for so long most people can't even remember why? Check! Those of us who eat, drink, and breathe these genres will recognize many of these elements. It's easy for authors to use the tropes as a crutch to carry a story forward, but Alexa brings depth. There's subtlety here. I find myself questioning motives, questioning who is good and who is bad, and staring into the cracks of this society looking for the middle ground between one side an the other.
There is an understanding of human nature built into the storytelling and the story itself, and an understanding that there are nuances and grey areas when society goes wrong. It takes skill to take common tropes, craft a world that feels wonderous and fresh on top of them, and not lose that hint of realism when it comes to the way people are so--peopley.
I think the characters are where this story comes to life. It's so easy in a dystopia to make grim, jaded characters. The world is heavy these days and I am tired of angry, cantankerous main characters. Darcy is a good person. She wants to do the right thing for the right reasons but lives in a world where survival of herself and the people she loves most sometimes means *not* doing the right thing. It sometimes means breaking the law or hurting other people.
The characters around her are decent people too. They may not be good people all of the time. They may take advantage of a situation that falls in their lap, but they look out for each other, and I think they mostly mean well. I'm sure, sometime soon, I'm going to meet someone who is decidedly not good, and there are whispers of it by chapter 13, but it is so refreshing to read a story with well-rounded, emotionally-mature characters.
The story hits beats I’ve seen before; an orphan turned thief with a good moral compass. However, the world is intriguing and the detailing is ambitious. I would say for anyone looking for a lighter YA novel this is the perfect fit. The dystopian society, lovable characters, and fantasy elements are the perfect concoction for a best seller.
First person past tense. The style is very detail focused, describing many things in the environment and the world. There is definitely some foreshadow laced into the story that does interest me, keeping the style feeling fresh, and keeping me hooked. The descriptions tend to be in large paragraphs and dialogue tends to go on for large amounts of time with little to no description. Much like a script.
The beginning has heavy exposition and has a slow pace, but the world building is top notch. Enough to keep me intrigued to see what the story has in line. The story itself seems to be about two sisters. The main character, being the older sister, is trying to get money to save her little sister who is sick. The orphan to thief story hits a few similar beats but manages to be original enough and daring enough to keep me interested. Especially in the main characters who are written very well. The magic is the best written part of the story and grows much more interesting through it.
I found no errors or annoyances in the grammar. They must have edited it, and it shows. The story reads very well.
Darcy is the main character and Sen is her little sister. Darcy’s loyalty to her sister is admirable and she seems to be a pretty smart and cautious MC. Filian and Haster are pickpockets who help Darcy. Mandia is a magician and fence for stolen goods although she seems to have a heart of gold. The characters are all written very well.
This is the tale of a orphan who must turn to a life of thievery to support her younger sister. The author does a wonderful job of pulling heart strings and upholding a sense of danger to rip those sweet moments away.
Style: The style of writing is superb. The reader has a smooth time with the reading flow. Exposition isn't forced down our throat nor does it go on forever. Though there are couple moments where information is given that doesn't seem to go anywhere that could be potentially removed. All and all, I could see this being published traditionly.
Story: Who doesn't love a plot about protecting a sibling? The story is a slow burn, with a lot of hints of where it could go. So far it hasn't thrown any expections to far, so I am interested to see where it goes. I couldn't give it a full five stars, as currently it is solid, but hasn't turned off the worn road yet.
Grammer: Mostly spot on, but there are a couple rough patches that just some more editing could take care of.
Character: This where the story really shines, Darcy and her sister Sen are fantastic. No one could read this story and not love their dynamic. There is a bit of over use of navity on Darcy, but fairly well balanced with her being informed on other subjects. Other characters have some potential, but it's really all about the sisters so far.
Overall, fantastic story and I expect it to catch the eye of a lot more people. It deserves that.
I thought I'd give it a quick read. But the story really capitvated me. Though I'm still starting out, I feel a lot of potential from this story. The depth of characters and their interactions are really great. Would continue reading this.
Grammer: Grammer was really good as I did not find any errors at all. The conversations and the flow was great as well. Though one thing I felt is that some of the paragraphs could be smaller. Everything else was great. So kudos on that.
Story: As I mentioned already, story is still beginning but you can see the potential for something great in here. You can also sense some big plot twist coming along. Looking forward to what might come next.
Character: The characters are what drew me in. The depth of all of them are really great. You get attached to them really fast and you can't wait to see more of them. Can't wait to see more characters developing in the story.
Style: Style is good as well. The story has good pacing which carries you through it. Wonder how the magic us going to develop through the story
Overall a great story which I would recommend everyone to give a try
The story has an intriguing premise building on classic dystopian tropes. The dialogue is solid, but the first couple chapters are a bit heavy with exposition. Starting around Chapter 3 the story starts to really rev up and pacing/flow thereafter is pretty tight. The Magician is a very enigmatic (and ominous) character and I look forward to seeing how more of her character. Lastly, maybe I'm just a heartless bastard, but more could be done to make Sen a compelling and sympathetic character; so far it feels like she's very much in the background.
Overall, the story shows promise! I would recommend revising Chapters 1 and 2 to help speed along the plot. The cliffhangers could also be spruced up to really hook readers and pull them into the next chapter.
Grammar and spelling both seem impeccable. Nothing really stood out to me.
Finally, maybe it's just me, but the title puts me in mind of fantasy heist stories like Lies of Locke Lamora, and the cover puts me in mind of non-Fantasy YA Romance. The blurb does a good job explaining that the story is a Fantasy Dystopian Romance, but the title and cover may need a rework to draw in fans of that genre.
TL;DR – It’s a bomb book. Go read it. Totally worth it.
Spoiler-free Review: Thick as Thieves is written in First Person-Past tense. It’s a Dystopian-Fantasy YA novel with romance as a subplot. (Because what’s a YA novel without romance am I right?)
Reviewed at 20,000 words.
Story: Arguably its strongest point. We’re thrown into a dystopian world with two orphaned girls, Darcy and her little sister Sen, who’s unfortunately suffering from a terminal illness. From the very beginning, it’s made clear that our main characters are poor and can’t afford medicine or treatment. Sen is dying. Her illness is constantly getting worse and there’s nothing her sister Darcy can do to save her. This is where our story begins. A young girl, simply trying to save her little sister from dying and struggling with the inability to do so. Yet Darcy refuses to accept such a fate for her sister and journeys into a world of magic and intrigue that forces us to be compelled at every turn. It’s in this simple concept that the story finds its strongest plot point.
Alexa does a beautiful job of weaving magic into her story without making it feel unnatural. Magic is a key point in the world and it plays an integral part in the lives of the people, whether the lack thereof, or the abundance of said magic. It affects everything. Our main characters live in a city where the separation of socioeconomics is shown through what is referred to as “rings”. These “9 rings” are prevalent throughout the story and are referred to often, but they’re more of a socioeconomic separation than actual barriers separating each ring in the city. And because of this we’re able to see a stark contrast between each society within the rings and the implications that has for the people around them. Case in point, our main character, Darcy, who has to struggle at every turn, and fight to defend what little she has. To me this creates such an element of depth to the story that I felt it was worthy of note in my review.
Thick as Thieves has a charm of humanity in it, and it’s in that simplicity, that I find myself being most moved by.
Style: When I think of style, I think of point of view. I think of tenses and tonality. A conscious choice made by an author to express their story. Alexa’s writing style is unique in the sense that it makes me forget that I’m reading a book, and instead makes me feel like I’m enveloped in a world of magic and dystopia. We're in first-person, and that makes it feel more personal. When written poorly, first-person can feel like a mess, but Alexa has written it incredibly well here. We feel like we're in Darcy's head, following her journey through her eyes every single step of the way, albeit through a bit of heavy exposition in the first two chapters. The way Alexa has written Darcy’s character allows her to give us insight into the world without making it feel forced or unnatural. She’s woven knowledge of the world into Darcy’s character seamlessly and it makes her feel alive and human. Following alongside Darcy and her journey in this world is something that has a special charm to it because Alexa has done an excellent job of creating a unique tone for her female lead.
Character: We have a small cast of characters, which is a huge departure from her other fiction, “For Irision”, but that doesn’t take away from the story as a whole. In reality, I feel like it was a smart decision by Alexa and allows us to form connections with the cast that we otherwise wouldn’t have had. We don’t bounce from new character to new character and have introductions left and right. Instead, we follow a small cast of likeable characters that feel human and relatable. A good example is Darcy’s love for her sister. It’s shown, not told. Darcy will do whatever it takes to protect her sister, no matter the cost. That trait alone not only makes her an admirable character who I can personally relate to, but also a vulnerable character who has a weakness. And Alexa doesn’t stop there, she continues to give us special traits that make Darcy feel human yet young and naive like a sixteen-year old should be. Sen is no exception to this and the entire cast feels deep and colorful, albeit with the exception of a few. Looking at you Haster.
Grammar: When I look at grammar, I always look to see if it distracts me from reading a story. If I notice it, and it draws me away from the world that the author has created. Alexa has done an incredible job of writing here and from what I’ve read, the grammar has been flawless. Nothing stood out to me and made me reread it to understand it more clearly. I basically never have to think about it and that is the single best thing an author can do for a reader.