I brought Thief with No Shadow, partly because the book itself appealed to me, and partly because I felt an affinity with the author. Emily Gee is a New Zealander who enjoys travelling, she has a degree in science (geology, not quite as good as chemistry!) and she is the daughter of Maurice Gee, whose children’s books I have fond memories of reading. I am so glad I took a chance on this book!
Thief With No Shadow is a dark fantasy with a hint of romance, and has a very intimate scale. The conflict is life or death for the four main characters, but no-one else will really care if they fail. There are no kingdoms to topple or ends of the world to prevent, just four people, each trying in their own way to save their sibling and create some sort of future.
Melke and her brother, Hantje, are wraiths, they can turn invisible at will. When Hantje is caught foolishly trying to steal from a den of salamanders, Melke agrees to steal a necklace in return for his life.
However, the necklace belongs to a psaaron (a sea creature) and was stolen from it a century ago by a member of the sal Vere family. Cursed by the psaaron, Bastian and his sister, Liana, are the last members of a once proud and wealthy family now reduced to poverty. They need to return the necklace to break the curse.
All the characters except for Liana are broken in some way, and face horrible choices. Bastian was my favourite, he is so filled with rage and despair, and tries so hard to hate Melke, but underneath he is a good and decent man, and this keeps breaking though.
Thief With No Shadow does have some flaws but I could not put the book down – when I was very close to the end there was a power cut and I had to finish reading by torchlight! There was no way I was going to be able to wait for morning to find out what happened.
I can hardly wait for Emily Gee’s next book, The Laurentine Spy to be released on 5 May. (There are quite a few books I want that are released in the first week of May. Personally, I think it’s the authors’ way of wishing me Happy Birthday!)