Monday, January 11, 2016

Review: Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake

Title: Thief of Lies
Author: Brenda Drake
Series: Library Jumpers, Book One
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: 5 January 2016
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia

I received this book from Entangled Teen for review.

Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound.

Jumping into some of the world's most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik's world and her own, before both are destroyed.
(summary from Goodreads)

Thief of Lies is full of some fascinating concepts but lacks that "oomph!"

First of all, libraries as gateways to magical worlds? Um, yes. All I want to do is visit beautiful libraries, find a book of other beautiful libraries, and recite "aprire la porta" until the magic happens. Oh, if only. Thief of Lies is packed to the brim with things like this, interesting and curious details that entice. Magic, creatures, prophesies, murder, alternate dimensions, brooding guys, hidden treasures, evil overlords, warriors, secret identities - the list can go on! And that's where the trouble starts. There's so much happening in this book - too much. There's "oooh" moments, but mostly the story falls flat because I didn't connect. Everything felt too easy and contrived. To fit everything in, I feel like Drake had to speed through the story too quickly. There's no real struggle. Sure, there's plenty of battles and betrayals, but there's no depth to the story, no substance because issues and revelations aren't really developed, they're simply stated. And it's a real shame, because there are some twists to Thief of Lies that could've been brilliant and shocking but instead are "meh". Everyone is so quick to give in or to accept that nothing felt genuine. Drake may throw obstacle after obstacle at her characters but there was never any intensity to go with it. There's no fight to Thief of Lies, if that makes sense? Despite fantastical elements, the story is dull and tedious. 

I found myself as disconnected from Drake's characters and their relationships too. It's not that Gia and co. don't develop, exactly, but that no fuss was made over anything so that everything that should have been important was underwhelming. I didn't care about any of these characters. None of their responses rang true and I couldn't relate to them. The book is narrated by Gia and I found her to be so wishy washy. I never felt emotional when Gia did because she'd be over it and onto the next thing in no time. Except when it came to Arik. That she beat like a dusty old carpet. And here I can honestly say, there was definitely no development. We have a severe case of insta-love here and I wasn't feeling it at all. Arik is your typical hot, broody guy that Gia shouldn't be with. You know the one. And if that wasn't enough, meet Bastien! Turns out Thief of Lies has the dreaded love triangle too - and it's double the insta-love, double the torture. I could not take Gia, Arik or Bastien seriously, even during moments that should have been able to illicit some sort of emotional reaction. As Thief of Lies is full of certain elements that held unfulfilled potential, so too are there a multitude of characters, each apparently different and with a story that could be interesting, and yet so many of them remain two dimensional and no more than fillers. I have to say, Nick's story frustrated me the most. These truths could have been epic but instead they're blink and you miss it. Even Conemar, our big bad, is generic. He doesn't ooze any sort of creepiness or sleaze, isn't particularly witty or dark. He really didn't inspire much fear or dislike. None of Drake's characters inspired much of anything, which is sad, because I can see how they could have.

Unfortunately, I was just all-round unimpressed with Thief of Lies.



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