My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A fun, dangerous heist story, with a good dose of fantasy and magic mixed in. I loved that the narrator changed with every chapter - it let us get to know each of the characters personally, and see them each from an outside perspective as well. I basically want to give the whole crew a big hug, and then spirit them away to somewhere safe. I enjoy them all in their own ways, but I have to admit, I have a favorite.
I love Inej so much. SO MUCH. She is fierce and sneaky and deadly, but also kind and softhearted. She has been through so much, and was at a loss for a long time on what she wanted out of life, and if she even deserved happiness anymore after all the things she'd been forced to do (and all the things she'd chosen to do to survive). I loved watching her grow and develop a plan for her own future that isn't dependent on what a man wants. I love that, as much as she cares for Kaz, she's not going to sacrifice herself and her future for him if he's not willing to meet her at least halfway.
Speaking of Kaz, I have so much sympathy for him. He was also dealt a poor hand in life, and I'm still not sure how he actually battled, fought, and conned his way to the position he is in now. Clearly Kaz has skillz, but he also has a deadly determination to read his goal: making the man responsible for his brother's death and his own anxiety issues pay. Up until Kaz meets and gets to know and falls in love with Inej, that goal is the only thing that matters, and everything else is just either there to help him or in the way. Inej makes things different for him, though. With Inej, Kaz can see a tiny glimpse of the future he never even dreamed of, one where maybe he is happy, and healthy, and can finally work through the emotional and physical issues he's been dealing with since his brother's death. Of course, the second Kaz lets those thoughts sneak into his brain, his plans go awry, and Inej, despite her deadliness, is captured.
Pretty much the only thing I disliked about this is how it "ended" -- because it's not a true ending!! This is the first in a series, which I'm not opposed to, but instead of this adventure wrapping up, and us getting to see where people head next, we're basically being dragged into a whole new book if we want to make sure our favorites are ever going to be safe. Obviously, I'm going to keep reading, but I can't say I'm thrilled to be getting a "let's all rescue the girl" story instead of a "check out this amazing girl as she hunts down slavers" story.
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