Genre: Fantasy, YA
Publication: April 7th 2011 Gollancz (pb)
Berren has lived in the city all his life. He has made his way as a thief, paying a little of what he earns to the Fagin like master of their band. But there is a twist to this tale of a thief. One day Berren goes to watch an execution of three thieves. He watches as the thief-taker takes his reward and decides to try and steal the prize. He fails. The young thief is taken. But the thief-taker spots something in Berren. And the boy reminds him of someone as well. Berren becomes his apprentice. And is introduced to a world of shadows, deceit and corruption behind the streets he thought he knew.
I don't know if I would have know this was YA if I hadn't read it somewhere, and because of that it works just as well for a young reader as for an adult reader.
The main character is a thief named Berren, he is somewhere between 12 and 15, an orphan and a tough young boy that has seen the city at its worst. I did like him, one have to, he steals to survive and he is smart enough to realize (after a while) that being an apprentice to a thief-taker could get him out of his old life. But he is also smart enough to see that his new life is pretty messed up too, he will surely have to kill someday. His new master Sy, is an enigma and I like those. Slowly we learn more about him and why he does the things he do. There are a few others we meet too but in this book young Lissiana stands out the most. Young heroes always have crushes.
The book was bloody too, perhaps that is what made it better for me. That might sound wrong, but life was harsh and I like it to show in fantasy. People do die, and here they did, and nasty things happened, lives were in put in danger. But it is never too violent, too bloody, and the main characters never get too hurt. There is always hope.
I quite enjoyed this tale about Berren, and the best part for me was also the part that makes me wanna read book 2. In the beginning Sy says that Berren looks like someone, then someone else says it too, and of course I am dying to find out what that is all about. Just as I wanted to know who Sy really was.
A good solid fantasy story for all ages. There is danger, adventure, that first crush and secrets, and those are always the best. It's not that long either so I read it fast. I do look forward to book 2 to find out more. Recommended.
Quick and fast.
Good, but I wish the fonts were the same
Source: The Publisher