Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne

Teen Fiction

Kyra is a thief. And she’s a pretty good one. She’s incredibly stealthy and can climb better than anyone in the city of Forge, which means she can get by on her own even though things aren’t always easy.

Despite her early beginnings living on the streets, she has made a relatively nice life for herself. She rents a room in the Drunken Dog and has a makeshift family consisting of her friend Flick and Bella, their quasi-surrogate mother, who works as the cook at the Drunken Dog. Kyra is determined to help two young girls living on the street in the same way that Flick helped her, but her devotion to these girls makes it more and more difficult to make her coin last from job to job.

The promise of a steady and lucrative income from the mysterious and handsome James makes an offer to work for the Assassins Guild impossible to resist. Once Kyra joins the Assassins Guild, she is eager to prove herself. She performs each job–breaking into the Palace undetected and stealing information–quickly and well, not thinking about the repercussions of her actions.

Meanwhile, Tristam, a young Palace knight, has made it his life’s goal to rid the city of Forge of the Demon Rider barbarians whose giant cats wreak havoc and terror with every new attack. As the Demon Rider attacks increase and their complex pattern is revealed, Tristam realizes he must also thwart the Palace thief who is sharing information with the enemy.

Told from the alternating third person perspective of Kyra and Tristam, “Midnight Thief” is an action-packed series opener. Descriptions of Kyra’s exploits, Tristam’s encounters with the Demon Riders, and life in Forge are vivid and compelling. Blackburne’s character development is a strong-point in the book. Kyra’s status and struggle in Forge are fully realized. Once she and Tristam meet, the juxtaposition of their lives gives both characterizations strength and credibility.

I read both the bound book and the audiobook. The audiobook version of “Midnight Thief,” narrated by Bianca Amato, is well done, though it took me some time to get used to (and like) her narration. Amato differentiates character voices well especially considering half of the book is from Tristam’s perspective. I appreciated her talent with accents since Kyra and Tristam have lower and upper-class accents (respectively) and the Dragon Riders’s speech is described as “slightly accented.” This helped me visualize the events and the characters even better.

“Midnight Thief” is recommended to fans of fantasy set in a feudalist society. Readers of Tamora Pierce’s Beka Cooper series will like this one as well.