Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist.(Goodreads)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Considering how high this book’s rating is in Goodreads, I feel like giving three stars is going to raise some eyebrows and roll some eyes. Thing is, I understand why this book has gotten high reviews. First, it has a diverse set of characters that aren’t flat and have interesting relationships. Second, the plot has twists and turns and unexpected corners. Finally, the worldbuilding wasn’t complicated so it was easy to follow the characters through their adventure and to understand why things happened as they did.
Here are what I didn’t like about it:
First, although the characters weren’t flat, they weren’t exactly not stereotypes. I liked Inej and Jesper because they had layers. They had valid fears and unexpected strengths, and they had thoughts and made decisions that sounded human. Sadly, the rest were nothing more than stereotypes; mannequins with shiny accessories and fancy dresses.
Another thing that made it difficult for me to imagine the characters as more than just book characters was the constant reminder throughout the book that they’re just 16-18 years of age (mind you, they all just happen to be similarly-aged by chance). I have nothing against teenage heroes and heroines but I don’t get why the author had to keep reminding me that they’re teenagers and yet make them all act like adults.
Second, although the plot sometimes turned into a corner I didn’t see coming, the story was mostly predictable. It was never anything astonishing or impressive, and, for a book about a heist lead by apparently a “criminal prodigy”, that’s a major let-down.
Finally, the world-building was easy to follow but, like the characters, the countries in this world sounded like stereotypes that I eventually identified each country by it’s people’s skin color and a predominant trait. It’s disappointing because I think although people are influenced by their country’s culture and traits, people are more complicated than that.
I think I gave this book an honest chance because I had no great expectations (I wasn’t aware of the hype) and I didn’t discriminate (I didn’t compare it to previous heist books I’ve read), but unfortunately it was miss. If you like straightforward heist stories, you might enjoy this but if you want to read about more complex characters within a mind-blowing plot, read The Lies of Locke Lamora or The Final Empire. YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO SEE HEISTS THE SAME WAY.