Review of Thief With No Shadow by Emily Gee

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Enjoy a dollop of romance with your fantasy? If so, then this interesting fantasy debut by Emily Gee might be just what you are thiefwithnolooking for, especially if you are all vampired-out right now. Not that Gee’s world doesn’t have some really unpleasant creatures inhabiting it, alongside the humans – they just don’t happen to fly at night and flash their fangs. However, they are every bit as deadly if crossed…

Aided by the magic which courses through her veins, Melke is able to walk unseen by mortal eyes. When a necklace she has stolen holds the key to both saving her brother’s life and breaking a terrible curse, she must steal it back from a den of fire-breathing salamanders. Things are about to get very tough for Melke, especially when she comes to realise she may have to trust the very people who were out to kill her.

I really enjoyed the world depicted here. It is different enough to intrigue and Gee’s writing managed to create a taut, claustrophobic atmosphere on the cursed farm that makes Bastian’s simmering fury entirely justifiable. The dusty, devastated landscape is a very effective backdrop to the action. Her characters develop throughout the story, which starts with a bang and whisks the reader straight into the plot. Despite the fact that this is Gee’s first fantasy book, she has written a number of Regency romance novels and her deft handling of the plot and pacing indicate her experience.

Niggles? Hm. I do have a couple. I found the romance part of the story a bit too predictable – but that might be rather unfair of me, as I came to the book as a fantasy fan. I also had a bit of a problem with the speed that the rape victim apparently recovered from his experience, but then maybe Gee is planning a sequel where the long term consequences of Hantje’s attack may be addressed. I would have also liked a lot more about the salamanders and psaaron, the other beings who live alongside humans. They seemed interestingly different and gloriously contemptuous of humankind.

All in all, though, Thief With No Shadow is an enjoyable read, set in a world with some interesting touches that could be effectively developed into an engrossing series, should Gee wish to do so. I find myself hoping that she does…

7/10

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