Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Diamond Thief by Sharon Gosling

The Basics:
The Diamond Thief by Sharon Gosling
Switch Press
Book One in the Diamond Thief series
YA Steampunk
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

I'm a sucker for steampunk.


No-one performs on the circus trapeze like 16-year-old Remy Brunel. But Remy also leads another life, prowling through the backstreets of Victorian London as a jewel thief. When she is forced to steal one of the world's most valuable diamonds, she uncovers a world of treachery and fiendish plots.
Meanwhile, young detective Thaddeus Rec is determined to find the jewel and clear his name. Will Thaddeus manage to rescue the jewel? Or is it really Rémy that he needs to save?
My thoughts:

The Diamond Thief was slow to grab me, but once I was hooked, I couldn't put the book down. The heist component was much less of the book than I expected, but not to worry as there's a *ton* of action to follow. 

This book has a little bit of everything - romance, mystery, adventure, danger, steampunk gadgetry, mysticism, and the pageantry and wonder of the circus. I wanted more of all of it - all the bits and pieces were fantastic, but the story never settled into any of them for very long. A bit more attention to any of these elements might have elevated the novel from good to great. Once the story gets going, there's a sort of breakneck feel as we race towards the conclusion. Some components - the romance - might have benefited from being given a longer time frame over which to develop, while others - such as the steampunk elements - might have been better if they had been more pervasive. 

On the character front, easily the most important for me, Thaddeus and Remy are both written young, but skilled, and I think that was a great choice. They've had tough lives and developed some specialized skills, but at the same time they each retain a certain innocence. Thaddeus is just *so* good and Remy is so cynical and blinded by that. I really liked these two, which is good because they really drove the story. They're motivated so differently that their interactions are rather entertaining to read.

The publishing history of The Diamond Thief confused me a bit - it looks like it was published under one of Capstone's imprints, and then has been re-released with a new cover under a different Capstone imprint? I have no reason to suspect that the text is different from the earlier version to the newer one, but grab the one with the cover on this post just to be sure?

Bottom line:

Overall, The Diamond Thief didn't blow me away, but it had a suitably knotty plot, with lots of atmosphere. Remy and Thaddeus suited me just fine and I look forward to reading the sequel in 2015!

3.5 stars
For fans of steampunk, thieves, grab bags of action/adventure/romance/mystery/scheming

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