Review of A Thief and a Gentlewoman by Clare Sager

An audacious thief. A charming nobleman. An irresistible con.
Quin poses as an aristocrat to rob from the rich and give to the poor. Her goal: to save the city’s slums. Her method: swindle and move on, because rich men are for conning, not for falling in love with, however tempting this one may be.
Artistic, observant, and charismatic, Atesh is second in line for the throne. Marrying for love is a foolish dream. Or is it? When he meets Quin, he begins to wonder. Little does he know, he’s her next mark. And someone else’s. Someone who wants more than just his fortune.
The clock ticks. The gallows looms. And Quin must save Atesh from its shadow or lose him forever.

I have to admit that this was a complete cover pick, I just totally fell in love when I saw it and it was a stand out in a room full of books that I was considering at the time. What was inside was all that the cover promised it would be!

Quin is a fantastic character, smart, sassy, totally kick ass but a little morally grey too. She is a Robin Hood for the residents of the stories Arinapole, which has a sumptuous Constantinople feel to it. A product of the Gutter Streets, she has risen above to fleece the hoi Polloi under the expert tutalage of an ex hareem darling who is also handily, her mother.  She is one of several amazing female characters in this story, Derry, her friend and trainee apothacary holds her own wonderfully and can I just say that I am desperate for more Tacita! I actually think that Tacita is my favourite side character, she’s the antithesis of Quin in that she appears to be at the other end of the social spectrum but with a similar outlook for adventure. For anyone familiar with the new She-Ra, she is giving me total Scorpia vibes and I really hope she appears in future books in the series! The guys don’t hold up too badly either, the stalwart Ariston is a delight and although it took me a while, I did warm to Atesh as Quin melted through his initially aloof exterior. They’re not quite the full rag tag team that is becoming a YA staple (which I personally love) but there are enough for some fledgling #squadgoals to surface.

I absolutely adored the magic system, contained within tarot style cards each deck is unique to its creator and grows slowly over time, each card created and mastered to either disguise, distract, locate and seemingly get up to no good with, for the most part. I really liked how it wasn’t overly relied on as a means to an end though, there is a tithe to pay for it’s use and did give more scope for genuine skill and cunning to be used, which we had in a glorious abundance. I have to say I wasn’t clear on whether everyone could have a deck or whether it was a select few who could use these magics, but they did seem to be popping up more and more as the story progressed although more at the higher end of the social spectrum. I’m a total world building girl with books and the amount of care and attention to detail in creating such a gorgeous world is outstanding. A true picture was painted and I rarely felt that I didn’t have a clear vision of where the characters were or the situations they were in, which totally pulled me into the story and wrapped me in a big world building sized blanket of goodness.

Whilst it is a long read, there is really so much packed into its pages with a little something to please everyone, as it encompassed murder mystery, courtroom drama, romance, action and giant sabrecats all wrapped up in a glorious fantasy bow. Honestly Sabrecats are my new favourite animal sidekick and the author gives a totally plausible and astute reasoning as to why they are vastly superior to horses in this context! A Thief and a Gentlewoman rose to meet all my expectations, I loved it. From its languid opening to it fast paced ending, it had me guessing and hoping all the way to the end. Its also a story that brings closure on itself but open ended enough to have me excited for what comes next without relying on a gimicky cliffhanger to drawn me back in. I’m just glad the next book in the series is already out!

5*

 

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