Where Auburn Comes Together!
I loved these books. I needed to be in another world for a little while and these were perfect. It’s considered a fantasy but the world is familiar enough- just that some humans have special abilities. I know there’s a ton of books and movies with that premise. This stands out to me because the author’s writing style is simple and makes it easy to envision the setting and characters. It reminds me of how easily I slipped into the world of Harry Potter so many years ago.
The story is about a group of young thieves. They live in the dark and unsafe world of brothels, gangs and profit making. In the first book, we meet the young gang leader Kaz Breeker and his crew. Those with a special ability are known as Grisha. Others are skilled in art of spying, sharpshooting or chemistry. They are offered a chance at a heist that could free them from debts to other gang leaders.
The adventure begins with an experiment held on the other side of the city in a mansion of a wealthy government official. They test a drug called jurda parem on Anya, an indentured Grisha girl. Within seconds the drug enhances her powers and she takes control of the all the people in the room with her. This ability to increase the powers of Grisha has the potential to bring in great profit to those who own indentured Grisha. Wow. Now I’m hooked. What happens to the girl? Who else will be forced to take jurda parem? Who will stop these officials from creating such pain for profit?
Meanwhile, Kaz and his crew are recruited to find the creator of the drug. The planning and execution of this heist is most of the first book. In his attempt to free himself and his crew, Kaz’s plan doesn’t go as expected.
In the sequel, Crooked Kingdom, Kaz and crew are in hiding from their enemies. We meet Retvenko, an indentured Grisha who walks the dark harbor and hopes for only 2 more sea voyages to release himself from service. As he waits in the ship’s office, a Grisha with the power to overcome gunshot wounds explodes into the room, kills everyone and kidnaps Retvenko. Who is this mysterious Grisha? Are they powerful because of jurda parem? How is this connected to Kaz and crew?
Kaz’s multilayered plans for revenge unfold. We meet new characters and learn of secrets kept. It’s fun to read about the swindles, sleight of hand or outright theft of this crew. It’s not always obvious why things happen. That’s part of the intrigue. I found this to be a page turner!
This book is considered a young adult novel and I found it to be a gripping and complex story. I also highly recommend the writer’s adult novel, The Ninth House.
By Hope Garner