Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, # 1)
By: Mary E Pearson
Publication: August 7th 2018 by Henry Holt & Company
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)
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Goodreads description--A new novel in the New York Times–bestselling Remnant Chronicles universe, in which a reformed thief and the young leader of an outlaw dynasty lock wits in a battle that may cost them their lives—and their hearts.
When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes her the target of the dynasty's resentment and anger.
At the same time, Kazi, a legendary former street thief, is sent by the queen to investigate transgressions against the new settlements. When Kazi arrives in the forbidding land of the Ballengers, she learns that there is more to Jase than she thought. As unexpected events spiral out of their control, bringing them intimately together, they continue to play a cat and mouse game of false moves and motives in order to fulfill their own secret missions.
I'm so glad that I jumped into Dance of Thieves immediately after finishing The Beauty of Darkness. Even though we're now following a different set of main characters, the cast we fell in love with from the original Remnant Chronicles series were all mentioned in one way or the other. Lia has quite a prominent role in that she's discussed frequently throughout the book and does have a section toward the end where we see her again. Kaden isn't mentioned by name I don't think, but his position and relationship to Pauline (who is mentioned more than once) is. Rafe is mentioned and is present. Even Natiya as well as Griz are all characters in this story. We even see Lia's brother, Bryn, at one point and discuss Jeb, who died at the end of The Beauty of Darkness.
Honestly, at first I was frustrated with Kazi because she's so quick to accuse Jase of being a thief, but yet she knows that she's one of the most accomplished thieves in Venda. Of course, this comes up later and isn't something that's ignored. Kazi and Jase's relationship is full of this type of thing. The very thing one holds against the other is often something they're doing also. I did feel like Kazi and Jase jumped into things quickly, but there was plenty of time that they spent together solidifying what may have happened too quickly for me. For me their relationship drove so much of the story, and this is always a good thing in my opinion.
Dance of Thieves did take me a good 10% to get invested. I kept falling asleep when I'd start reading. I don't think that's a fault of the book itself so much as me just being exhausted most of the time. But once I was hooked I didn't want to stop reading and would squeeze in a page or two every spare chance I had. Especially toward the end--70% on--I felt feverish to finish this book and see how everything was going to end until the next book in the series.
The side characters and world were just as vivid as the main two. I wasn't expecting Mary E Pearson to make a new series in the same world yet have it feel so cohesive and separate at the same time. The area of land that the Ballenger family is over has such a unique set of rules and customs that it truly made the series feel brand new even while being a piece of the world we came to love in the prior series. Kudos for that. And despite having such a large cast of characters (Jase's family alone is quite large), everyone felt separate and completely fleshed out.
Dance of Thieves was everything that I wanted it to be. Driven by the relationships yet still enough story and intrigue and questions to keep me devouring pages. I felt torn with Jase and Kazi at times. I wanted them to work things out, yet there were so many times that I thought each one had crossed the line of no return and not being able to fix their relationship. I loved the uniqueness of Thors Watch and the history of the Ballenger family where this was one of my complaints of the original series. And then there's that cliffhanger. Dance of Thieves gets 4.5 Stars. Have you read Dance of Thieves? What did you think? Let me know!