Title: Thief of Hope
Series: -Untitled- (#1)
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press (May 16th 2011)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“Sydney, a street urchin and pickpocket in the town of Last Hope, has managed to evade the oppressive Guild for years, but there is no escaping fate when she's sentenced to death for associating with the resistance.After she's rescued by a wizard, Sydney is forced to accept that magic-long outlawed throughout the Kingdom of Thanumor-still exists, and the Tuatha, a powerful faery folk, are much more than ancient myth and legend. When the wizard offers a chance to fight the Guild and bring Willem, bastard prince and champion of the Tuatha, to the throne, Sydney embraces the cause as a way to find her own redemption.But Sydney's fear of the Guild, distrust of authority, and surprising connection to the Tuatha threaten Willem's success. Can she untangle the strange threads that entwine her life not only to the fate of the kingdom, but also to Willem himself?” GoodReads’ blurb
Epic fantasy is a genre that’s seen almost everything. But, from time to time, you find a title where it’s been done right.
Thief of Hope is one of those titles. It’s not visionary; it’s a classic. And, in that line, it’s a breath of fresh air because it delivers everything we love about the genre, while staying well clear of any of its usual faults.
This is perhaps most obvious with the characters themselves. They all are flawed, but not in the “it’s trendy way”. They’re flawed in the “has potential to develop” sense. So, through the story, they react to events and adapt and, yes, grow. That alone is a massively positive point, more so when taking into account that we’re not talking about the main characters, but about the whole cast.
The scale is another thing I fell in love with. Yes, this is an epic story. Yeah, the kingdom’s destiny’s on the line, but... one step at a time. No one-man war machines, no fancy tricks to suit the plot in detriment of the story. The events take place in a different world, but I could believe them. Because of that, I got invested, I really worried about the main character’s success, and I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
Worldbuilding is another superb aspect that helped to the believability factor, and which made read the book in two massive sittings. It’s medieval and celtic and one-hundred-percent original all at the same time, so organic that it was difficult to come out of the story at the end.
The storyline had at least two layers, and that’s something that I loved – and that epic fantasy doesn’t usually deliver like this. One the one hand, there’s the quest to help Willem claim the throne, which was full of action and tension and very well balanced. And on the other hand, there’s the inner quest of the character growth I mentioned before. Sydney in particular, as she’s our POV character, faces her past and her pain and fights to get over it, to be someone she can be proud of.
And yes, in that personal fight, there’s a little bit of romance. Another aspect where Thief of Hope shines: the characters fell in love slowly, I could see why they would. Also, there are consequences to their feelings. That’s something that wins me over every time, and this story was no exception.
To be honest, I can’t wait for the sequel to Thief of Hope. I think it’s one of the best classic epic fantasy I’ve read in a while, and if you like the genre or are pondering giving it a shot, this is the perfect choice.