Book Talk: Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Talk: Dance of Thieves by Mary E. PearsonDance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson
Narrator: Karissa Vacker, James Patrick Cronin, Ann Marie Lee
Length: 16 Hours and 27 Minutes
Series: Dance of Thieves #1
Published by Listening Library on August 7, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible

A stunning new adventure set in the kingdoms of the Remnant.

A formidable outlaw family that claims to be the first among nations.

A son destined to lead, thrust suddenly into power.

Three fierce young women of the Rahtan, the queen's premier guard.

A legendary street thief leading a mission, determined to prove herself.

A dark secret that is a threat to the entire continent.

When outlaw leader meets reformed thief, a cat-and-mouse game of false moves ensues, bringing them intimately together in a battle that may cost them their lives--and their hearts.

My opinions on all the Pearson that I’ve read have been quite mixed. I own the entirety of The Remnant Chronicles, but, upon completion, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt. Largely positive, enough so that I do plan to keep the books even though shelf space is dear, but with some hesitations about the series as a whole. Unsurprisingly, I had some hesitations about a spin-off series, given said mixed feelings, but Dance of Thieves worked for me altogether better than its predecessor.

Spin-offs can be tricky at the best of times. In fantasy, terribly often, they turn out to involve the deaths of all your favorites, either because they’re set so far in the future or because the author’s being incredibly cruel (this is a Chima subtweet, minus the actually being a tweet thing). Dance of Thieves takes place only a handful of years after the original trilogy which works really well. All the characters you know are still around, and it truly feels like a companion series. You can see those characters and enjoy them while also enjoying the new cast.

Dance of Thieves centers on three badass chicks from the Moulin Rouge young women in Queen Jazelia’s elite fighting force, the Rahtan, who are sent on a mission to find a war criminal who escaped in the original trilogy. While there, they’re also meant to help the settlers, who are reportedly being treated terribly by the people in power in the region. Though the book really only spends time on Kazi, I also really enjoyed her Rahtan friends. I adore that it’s consistently clear that all three of them are as deadly as their reputation and that you really get to see them fight. None of that “just the heroine is special” or “the heroine is strong but her love interest is stronger” stuff.

Pearson uses two POVs: Kazi and her love interest Jase. I am, perhaps, more in love with this than I normally would be, because I’m so grateful that there’s no love triangle, as the one in the prior trilogy lasted longer than I wanted. Plus, though fun, the first book hinged far too heavily on the mystery of the two guys. I’m grateful this series does not lean on that crutch again.

Kazi’s POV was my favorite, but I suppose that’s unsurprising. It also doesn’t hurt that I absolutely loved Vacker’s narration, whereas I only liked James Patrick Cronin’s. He does play Jase well, though, stolid and serious. Kazi’s just so much more fun and badass. Still, I do always appreciate a book where the male love interest knows that his girlfriend could beat him up and is totally into that.

Jase and Kazi get together surprisingly quickly, which is actually rather refreshing, as so many fantasies go for the slow burn. There’s definitely room for an instalove complaint, but it worked for me. They’re initially physically drawn to each other and also literally tied together, so hormones are gonna hormone.

I will warn that this is one of those romances where the couple spends basically the whole book lying about things, learning them, fighting, doubting each other, and getting back together. However, again, that worked for me with this book. Given that Jase is leading the Ballengers, I like that he always tries to put his people first, and I like that Kazi does the same. That’s something I appreciated about the original trilogy too: the characters make logical, world-impacting decisions with head over heart. It made sense to me, in almost all cases, why they kept the secrets they did. It also helps that they tend to react in less terrible ways than you might expect given the magnitude of what’s on the line. Plus, over the time spent together, they develop a true mutual respect that, once they’re on the same team, should make for a strong relationship.

My one hesitation with Dance of Thieves is that I rather wish this series were set up like a romance series, with each book following one of the three central Rahtan. It concerns me a bit that Vow of Thieves also centers on Jase and Kazi, because I don’t want three books of waffling romance, because that might kill my delight in them as a couple, which would be a shame. I’ll be crossing my fingers that I enjoy Vow of Thieves just as much as Dance of Thieves.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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