By Livia Blackburne
Available now from Disney-Hyperion
Kyra isn't a schemer or a fighter, but she is a talented thief. When the Assassins Guild offers her a lucrative job, she takes it despite her misgivings and conscience. MIDNIGHT THIEF also explores the point of view of Tristam, a young knight who is on a collision course for the plans of the Assassins Guild.
Much of the pleasure from the early chapters of MIDNIGHT THIEF, for me, was watching Kyra and Tristam's stories come closer together and inform each other. Both of them only know a small piece of the whole, but the reader can glean more by putting their perspectives together. The changing POVs quickly make it apparent that things are not as they seemed at first. Rather fitting for a novel about thieves and assassins.
Even when they're on opposite sides, Kyra and Tristam are both clearly good guys. Tristram is a bit uncertain about what he wants, but he keeps a cool head in a crisis and he treats the lower-born men who serve with him like people. Kyra is a bit too willing to overlook that she's working for assassins, but at the same time she has a large network of people that she cares for and works to support, because most of them happen to be homeless children.
The upper class and lower class tension appears to be the main conflict in MIDNIGHT THIEF at first, but soon the incursions of the Demon Riders prove to be the biggest trouble to both Kyra and Tristam. They're fast, deadly, and can't be found. As MIDNIGHT THIEF explored the Demon Riders more, I felt frustrated that their point of view and motivation remained opaque. They clearly view humans as lesser beings, but why?
There aren't many surprises to MIDNIGHT THIEF, but it is a fun fantasy that will entertain fans of similar novels (and it is certainly better than DEFY, another much hyped 2014 fantasy debut). Kyra is a standard spunky protagonist with unknown talents, but the book does thankfully point out that her tendency not to think more before she acts is a major flaw.
I liked that MIDNIGHT THIEF tells a satisfying story about Kyra and Tristam, although it leaves plenty of open ends for sequels. It also made me curious about the stories of secondary characters, like Kyra's best friend who is the bastard son of a noble and apparently knew Tristam before he lived on the street. If there are sequels, I'd probably check them out from the library.