07 October, 2010

Book Review: She Thief

Title: She Thief (called Two Good Thieves originally--I like this title much better)
Author: Daniel Finn
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Genre: Speculative/Dystopian Fiction
Page Count: 297
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Cover Rating: 4.5 out of 5. Perfect for the book, and I love the collage-style format. The images they used for it match the book really well, too. Also, the color theme matches the feel of the novel. (I don't know why, but my copy has a few different images on it--maybe it's just a UK vs. US thing, but I can't find the right one anywhere . . .)

Inside flap: 

The girl, Baz, and the boy, Demi, are master pickpockets. They weave through rich neighborhoods to slip bags off shoulders and wallets out of pockets before disappearing into the crowd. Their loot goes to Fay, who runs a gang of child thieves from her den in the Barrio. This sweltering slum--in a city that is imagined but all too real--is what passes for home to the kids, and Fay is what passes for family.
That all changes the day Demi steals a magnificent blue ring. Soon, the police chief and the Barrio's crime lords close in on Fay, and she begins to break under their pressure.
Baz has never doubted Fay beore. She's never been apart from Demi, either. But soon, Baz is left alone to find her way through a world more corrupt than she's ever realized. Here, the lives of children are thrown away without a moment's hesitation. Here, the rich and powerful are just thieves on a larger scale. And somewhere in this wreck of a city, Baz must find the scraps of hope, the small acts of kindness, and the steely strength that will take her back to Demi and wash them away from the Barrio for good.

My expectations: Mixed. I thought Baz and Demi would have some sort of romance going on, which I wasn't expecting to be too good, but I liked the idea of pickpocketing and trying to make a living in such a place as the Barrio.

It exceeded my expectations by far.

About the book: There is not, in fact, any romance going on between Baz and Demi; they're more like very close siblings (although they aren't actually brother and sister) who can understand each other very well and get along as a team. They were perfect for each other, and the friendship, despite its ups and downs, was strong and dependable. This part of the story was well-written.

In fact, the entire book was well-written. The world that Finn creates is amazing, the characters are diverse, and the atmosphere of the Barrio and the city really puts you there racing along with Baz and her fellow thieves.

I love the way her wrote it, too. The language flows differently from a lot of novels; for example:

"What!" He pulls a face like she's just told him he's got to jump to the moon. Demi can't say anything or think anything unless he can double its size.

It's a wonderful change. You'd have to actually read the book to really get the feel of the writing, but it's excellent.

  • Plot:

Very good. It wasn't too fast, or too slow, like some books are. The stakes of failing to steal successfully always loomed, the threat of going to "The Mountain", basically a slave-labor place for criminals (including children) kept the tension, and the ending was very fulfilling.

  • Characters:

I loved Baz. She was strong, quiet, determined, and smart. I was cheering for her the whole time.

Demi was a good counterpart to Baz; less cautious, but also smart and a very good thief, I loved him as a character as well.

Fay. I didn't particularly like Fay, but she was a good character. She had diversity, dimensions, and personality.

The other characters were also good characters.

  • Setting/Elements:

The Barrio has a lot of parallels to our world; poverty, thievery, crime, abuse. It's the darker side of humanity, and also the hope that keeps people alive.

Other: There is what they call on movies "thematic elements", or, in this case, what I mentioned above. There is little or no language (I can't remember that there was anything) and some violence.

Do I recommend this book? Yes. Absolutely. Go for it. Search it. March forth demand it from your librarian.

*Note: I made the cover image bigger than I usually do; do you like the cover big, or do you prefer it smaller?*

-----The Golden Eagle


Tyrean Martinson said...

Great Book Review!
The start of the book sounds a little like Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, with orphan Oliver joining Fagin's gang of thieves in the slums of London. I happen to really like the movie musical version of that story, and I think I will be marching up to my local librarian and searching out a copy.

The Golden Eagle said...

I've never read Oliver Twist, but I should! It's certainly a famous book. :)

I hope you find and enjoy She Thief!

Quinn said...

Great book review! I'd never heard of this book, but I think I may need to read it now.

The Golden Eagle said...

It is a good book.

Hannah Kincade said...

ooh, this sounds fantastic! I will add it to my list post haste!

N. R. Williams said...

I was reminded of Oliver Twist as well. However, a fresh perspective is always nice. It doesn't sound like there is a wealthy father waiting to save his son like in Oliver. I'll check this out.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

The Golden Eagle said...

Hannah: Awesome!

Nancy: Nope, no rich father . . . although there is a rich boy. You know, I'm beginning to see more and more parallels to Oliver Twist.