Synposis from Goodreads: A high-stakes heist novel set in a gritty world of magic and malice
In just over a year’s time, Ryia Cautella has already earned herself a reputation as the quickest, deadliest blade in the dockside city of Carrowwick—not to mention the sharpest tongue. But Ryia Cautella is not her real name.
For the past six years, a deadly secret has kept her in hiding, running from town to town, doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the formidable Guildmaster—the sovereign ruler of the five kingdoms of Thamorr. No matter how far or fast she travels, his servants never fail to track her down…but even the most powerful men can be defeated.
Ryia’s path now leads directly into the heart of the Guildmaster’s stronghold, and against every instinct she has, it’s not a path she can walk alone. Forced to team up with a crew of assorted miscreants, smugglers, and thieves, Ryia must plan her next moves very carefully. If she succeeds, her freedom is won once and for all…but unfortunately for Ryia, her new allies are nearly as selfish as she is, and they all have plans of their own.
A fast-paced fantasy adventure where a motley group of misfits attempt to track down and steal a magical artifact that allows the owner to control magical powers unimaginable, assuming they don’t kill each other first.
I loved the world-building in this one and while it does remind me somewhat of Six of Crows and The Lies of Locke Lamora, I found this group of errant thieves unique and engaging. None of them are exactly what they seem, and while they have banded together to undertake this heist, each is doing it for their own self-motivated reasons. The seedy world of the gangs in the city, all trapped in a power struggle was full of all sorts of rabbit warrens, questionable businesses, and lots of black market goods. I actually would have liked a bit more description of the world itself, but I happily immersed myself in the backstreets and seedy taverns.
The characters are a mixed bag, although they are all mostly morally gray. Riya (aka the Butcher), who is a paid assassin and hatchet-for-hire mercenary, is nominally the main character, but the book’s chapters are told from not only her point of view, but Nash, the sea captain; Tristan, the youngster in the employ of Callum Clem, the slumlord who is always scheming; Evelyn, the disgraced captain of the guard; and Ivan, master of disguises. While the group winds up having to work together to search for The Quill, it becomes apparent they are all searching for it for personal reasons. I’d also have enjoyed more back stories on the characters, especially Riya since she’s an important plot point in and of herself.
Filled with loads of great action and a fast-paced plot, with tons of unexpected plot twists and turns and Machiavellian maneuvering, I really enjoyed this current stand-alone and hope the author will have a sequel to it in the future!