I have just realised how much fantasy I’ve been reading lately. I mean, I don’t think I’ve read anything else for a while! This needs to be addressed… So, sorry if anyone is getting bored reading reviews for fantasy books! I promise, I do like other genres.
I picked up Dance of Thieves primarily because of the cover. I actually had some reservations about the book based on the description:
A formidable outlaw family that claims to be the first among nations.
Three fierce young women of the Rahtan, the queen’s premier guard.
A legendary street thief leading a mission, determined to prove herself.
A dark secret that is a threat to the entire continent.
When outlaw meets reformed thief, a cat-and-mouse game of false moves ensues, bringing them intimately together in a battle that may cost their lives – and their hearts.
Ye. Exactly… I was thinking soppy romance between a strong woman and a man she can’t have (snore, seen it before), and multiple perspectives (which is usually terrible)… But the cover was just so pretty, I thought it might be worth a go. And I wasn’t wrong, I should say up front (for my ego). I just didn’t hate those things about it as much as I thought I would.
Firstly, it is dual perspective, and, yet again, I don’t think this worked. I found myself getting distracted by it. I just wanted someone to tell the story and get on with it. There’s a time and place for more than one perspective, and a story with a strong romantic storyline just isn’t it. In my opinion, anyway… That being said, the technique wasn’t a complete disaster. I did feel that it added something in terms of illuminating the characters. And I found both characters, Kazi (the Rahtan thief) and Jase Ballenger (the outlaw king), equally likeable and interesting. I liked hearing what they were thinking, and having the dual perspective did lead to a deeper sense of character and attachment by the reader.
A Dance of Thieves is also very well written. So, if the use of dual perspectives didn’t quite work, the rest of the book really, really did. There’s some beautiful descriptive prose, a good build to the story and characters, and the whole thing clearly has a lot of imagination behind it.
The story arc is great. There’s a lot of tension, some very “sexy” moments, and it moves along at a reasonable clip. The worldbuilding is fantastic, and I thought the whole thing had a very “wild west” feel (rather than magic and monsters as usual). I didn’t actually hate the romance… I’m not adverse to the odd kissy moment, but generally I find fantasy focused around a love interest to be a little cloying… Maybe they just activate my inner cynic. Here, yes, there’s a strong romance focus. However, it’s in the context of great characters, a mystery and an adventure. Lots of surprises and twists and turns. It’s enough to keep you from rolling your eyes and screaming “get on with it you fools!!” at the book.
This is not the most innovative book I’ve ever read in this genre. But who said everything had to be? I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was exciting, gripping, and beautifully written. I would definitely recommend it for fans for David Dalglish, Trudi Canavan, and Alwyn Hamilton. And I’ll definitely be looking into other books by Mary Pearson.