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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, nothing is quite as they expected and Darcy must follow her instincts to keep herself, and her sister, safe.
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EDIT; Changing this to an advanced review. If anything seems out of place at times, that's because it likely is.
This story tells the reader about somebody with an younger sibling. A younger sibling who needs to be cared for, needs to be tended to, and needs to be protected from the evil in the world. With parents out of the picture, there is only one who can take that role. 5/5
I applaud the style on this one. I believe the word is cinematic. The author is very good at drawing you into the experience in this one. While there are parts that might seem confusing at the start, the more that is read the more you understand where it's all coming from. The best mental image of it would be that you are given a large puzzle with only the edges at first, the longer into the story you go the more of the pieces you get. While some are not instantly possibly put somewhere, it makes more sense in the end. Nicely done on that. 5/5
Not much to say on the grammar other than the fact that it's good enough. Holds up in quality pretty decently at least. 4.5/5
Characters are good enough to feel empathy for, which is saying quite a lot. Ad they move around, the steps make sense, their actions make sense, and the way they think make sense. And, best of all, they all do it a bit differently. While some personality tropes might have been exaggerated for the sake of action or more conflict, I feel that it's all rooted in some place, in reality, letting the reader have something to hold on to. 5/5
Overall, I give this story a 5/5
Dystopianism usually isn't something I go for, but I think Thick as Thieves does a really good job with it.
From the first chapter alone, you get this intense sense of tension as the protagonist tries to find a solution to her problem. Some people might think the chapter is a little exposition heavy, but I disagree. I think that the exposition was handled very well and fit each situation appropriately.
The only real gripe I have with the world building is related to the economy, although admittedly it is largely redundent anyway so my gripe doesn't really mean all that much in the grand scheme of things.
The story has had its own share of errors and whathaveyou, but the author is very prompt in fixing them as they are pointed out and has a great attitude towards feedback and advice. The punctuation, so far as I can tell, was pretty much spot on, so it reads very wwell with TTS software.
The characters are all well developed and distinct from one another, which is great. Similarly, there are background characters introduced briefly throughout the current content, and I was very happy to find that they each recieved the same level of depth as the primary cast. Admittedly the younger sister tends to come across as somewhat generic, but that is only because the 'trope' actually fits the situation incredibly well. As the protagonist spends more time with her sister, you can see the differences starting to take form. So it is more a matter of limitation by currently released content than skill or effort.
Really enjoyed reading this series, well...listening to it with TTS. Looking forward to reading the next installment in the series.
So I'm not usually interested in YA romances, regardless of how they mix in other genres. But... I'm also a sucker for orphan thief stories, so here we are.
Frankly this story is simply a pleasure to read, and that's all there is to it. Assuming the plot progresses to a satisfying ending, this could be the sort of book I'd want to put on my shelf to reread from time to time, just because it's nice.
Style: Readable, smooth, a preference for plot and personality over exposition and description. That alone is going to encourage me to keep reading. The only portion I even felt tempted to skim through was a bedtime story told by one of the characters, and even there I really only wanted to skim in order to get back to the story.
Story: So far we have a predictable Oliver Twist plot. We've got our starving orphan, an Artful Dodger, and a Fagin. Just waiting on Mr Sikes, really. :) But even though it's an old plot, there's a lot of comfort in predictability.
The characters and dialogue are written well enough that the standard plot gets turned into anold cozy hoody instead of the usual ratty tanktop. So far I enjoy every character, every personality.
Grammar: no errors bad enough to notice.
Verdict - Thick as thieves excels in all four major categories as outlined by the site, but this is an experimental review. The overall ability to hold a consistent tone, philosophy and psychology while making the story flow in an attention retaining way makes this title a must read for a specific target audience.
Concept (2/5) - Conceptually, Thick as Thieves hasn’t come up with anything new up to now. It uses known plot devices quite well. But the magic and the fictional world is still obscure at this point, the score might change after reading more.
Experience (5/5) - As bad as it sounds, I don’t know why I like lead female characters going through tough situations and trying their best to overcome them. The journey of Darcy, the protagonist, satiates that desire to read about such characters quite masterfully. The story being written in first person further enhances that experience as we are always aware of her thoughts and emotions.
Tone (5/5) - The overall tone of the novel felt suspenseful to me up to now. The author does well to hold the tension throughout each of the chapters. An interesting example from the story I can think of is, the protagonist tells a bedtime story to her sick sister, and the author still manages to build up tension in that situation in interesting ways. Quite a rare talent. The author also does well to give some relief from the default tone from time to time so that it doesn’t become overbearing.
World (3/5) - The world of Thick as Thieves is ruthless, intriguing and at the same time quite believable. We get to see the world being slowly built up through the eyes and thoughts of the Protagonist Darcy. It is well thought out and if I am not wrong the author has a good grasp on what he/she wants this world to be. The only problem is that such worlds are not new to me. There are tags of post-apocalyptic and steampunk which haven’t been developed well enough up to now though. It may make the world more unique if those concepts were developed more in the first few chapters.
Philosophy(4/5) - Thick as Thieves felt like a work that is highly inspired from cynicism. The world and the characters express this philosophy heavily up to the part where I have read. People attuned to this philosophy might find this work much more relatable than others.
Psychology(5/5) - The author isn’t a novice. He/she understands human nature quite well and it shows in the writing style. The characters are complex and morally gray. It is often hard to differentiate between good and bad from the way the characters are written. This is indeed a mark of an adept writer and I hope that the author manages to keep this up throughout the story.
Flow(4/5) - The first person narration has its own good and bad points. It lets a writer convey the emotions and thoughts of the main character in a beautiful way. But it also makes those thoughts quite lengthy and unrealistic from time to time. The inner thoughts of Darcy, as compelling as they are, often become too lengthy that it affects immersion from time to time. The overall ability to hold a consistent tone, philosophy and psychology while making the story flow in an attention retaining way makes this title a must read for a specific target audience.
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.
***First off, this is a no spoiler review!***
The first thing that came to my mind upon finishing the first chapter of Thick as Thieves was that a lot of consideration and care had been poured into this story, this wonderful tale is of bespoke craft that truly demonstrates one facet of AlexaLee’s capacity as an author. Quite frankly, it is beautifully written.
I have reached the end of Book 1 after deliberately spreading the read over a month, every place, location and character brings forth a vivid recollection of the read. I do not hesitate to say that it stands toe-to-toe with the best.
The style used in this story is fantastic on so many levels. Descriptions are lush, atmospheric and cinematic. Scenes are painted in delicate strokes that describe the locale using multiple senses that give an immersive reading experience and make each and every location memorable. The descriptions of magic and its affects have a quality that ranges from vivid and sharp to one scene in particular that invokes the feel of a semi-intoxicated haze with a dream-like quality that both demonstrates the temptation of power and the fear of giving in to its whiles.
Another aspect that has continued to impress me is the undercurrent of tension that is being manipulated through almost every scene. A level of fear and apprehension in the main character that really emphasises the situation she finds herself in. Main and support characters are treated with the same care that brings out and demonstrates their individual qualities.
The story is well conceived and revolves around the main protagonist, Darcy and her younger sister Sen and their struggles, fears and journey into the unknown. The tale is set in a dystopian world that is well constructed and filled out incrementally and organically by applying the world-building through the protagonist’s eyes and their understandings (or misunderstandings). There is a deep history that is slowly being teased and revealed that makes you question the motivations of the society and its structure. Each and every step revealed brings up questions and a desire to know more of this world and its machinations.
The characters are the core of this story, their interactions, reactions and interpersonal relationships create a level of intrigue and empathy that draws you in and keeps you reading. The interactions and care between Darcy and Sen, especially in the early stages are heartfelt and highlight the fear of loss and the emotions that entails.
This does not end with the main characters, the support cast are also incredible. They are living and breathing in this world, none feel out of place. Each and every character in this story could well have a story of their own, they have a history that is hinted at that draws you in and makes them relatable. They are built around character traits that are masterfully applied, fragility, strength, confidence, timidness and jealousy are used to great effect.
I have no complaints on grammar, as the author goes above and beyond in the process of pre and post editing in approaching and correcting errors. Even when in its unedited state I cannot fault it due to the author’s clear and positive process. The grammar style applied lends itself to the feel of the story and is very clean.
Overall, I am truly taken with this tale. The descriptions of the world are atmospheric and vivid. The characters are living and breathing with likes, dislikes, apprehensions, and fears. The magic and skills being demonstrated help to drive the story of the Magicians and they are an organic part of the tale that drives the narrative and intrigue. I am thoroughly invested in this tale and world and I am happily waiting to see where this goes. I can highly recommend this story, it is an experience that should not be passed over.
Update 16/11/2021: Book 2 has picked up beautifully, full of intrigue, new mysteries, and a cast that demands attention! Looking forward to every installment!!!
Dagnabit, I wrote out the review and then accidentally clicked off to reference a chapter, and now my review is gone. Oh well, I guess I'll rewrite it.
This story is well written; it has a sort of rhythmic flow to it that draws you in. It excels at giving vivid details without ever feeling too weighty. The protagonist has a powerful voice, and you can feel her worldview in everything that she does. I liked the swan story a lot; I always love when novels respectfully reference LGBT characters. The other characters in the story are believable and dialogue is good. The story is solid, really solid, but I think that from what I've read and the synopsis, it doesn't seem like it's about to do anything groundbreaking for a while. Not that every novel needs to break new ground but this one just didn't do it for me.
Personally, I'm not going to continue reading this. It's just that the premise doesn't get me going. If this type of story is for you, then this is an exceptionally well-written piece that will do nicely and I highly recommend reading it. :D
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.
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 do not grade this.
Some here and there, but nothing to detract from the story.
Losing their parents, siblings caring for each other. A tale of warmness, yet unsettlingness to say. Division of classes, wealth speaking the game. A royal family and those being chosen. Nonetheless a terrible place to live in, different Rings and whatnot. Stealing to survive, magicians of powerfulness. One can say the punishment at hand is cruel and unusual. An out of control pandemic, those of highness having the means to protect themselves from it. The lower ones having to rely on dangerous methods to survive. A story that constantly thugs at the heart, shifting between happiness and grimness.
Those appreciation what little they have, a sister doing anything for another. A tale of sacrifice one can say, the lengths one would go for another. Siblings caring for each other. This story does a great job really connecting this point.
A wonderfully powerful story, really giving a good idea about the type of living conditions. Though most importantly, the bond between sisters. From one moment to the next, it really grips the feeling.
This is a rewritten review, to stay more within the guidelines.