The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell

the devil's thief cover

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Hunt the Stones.
Beware the Thief.
Avenge the Past.

Esta’s parents were murdered. Her life was stolen. And everything she knew about magic was a lie. She thought the Book of Mysteries held the key to freeing the Mageus from the Order’s grasp, but the danger within its pages was greater than she ever imagined.

Now the Book’s furious power lives inside Harte. If he can’t control it, it will rip apart the world to get its revenge, and it will use Esta to do it.

To bind the power, Esta and Harte must track down four elemental stones scattered across the continent. But the world outside the city is like nothing they expected. There are Mageus beyond the Brink not willing to live in the shadows—and the Order isn’t alone in its mission to crush them.

In St. Louis, the extravagant World’s Fair hides the first stone, but an old enemy is out for revenge and a new enemy is emerging. And back in New York, Viola and Jianyu must defeat a traitor in a city on the verge of chaos.

As past and future collide, time is running out to rewrite history—even for a time-traveling thief.

3.5 STARS

TW: violence, racism, addiction, death

This book is a roller coaster, folks, and I’m still trying to sort out how I feel about it. Last year, after all, I read The Last Magician and LOVED IT, which meant I was SO EAGER to finally get my hands on The Devil’s Thief. I was patient. I waited. I decided to bide my time until there was a sale and my poor strained wallet wouldn’t kill me in my sleep for wounding it further.

And I’m teetering between excitement and let down?

On the plus side, all the plot threads are in motion. The stones are loose in the world, the Book and its power are terrifying forces that don’t seem like they’ll be especially kind to any of the characters, and new information has come to light about the nature of magic and Mageus in general.

Another plus? More time spent on Viola, the wonderful knife lesbian I got so attached to the first time around! Not nearly enough attention, but I’m mostly saying that because she’s my absolute favorite and I would read an entire series about her in a heartbeat. So long as she gets a happy ending, of course. Cut the poor girl some slack! She’s been through some STUFF.

Also, we got more of Jianyu and his history and approach to the thorny circumstances he finds himself in, which was nice. Like Viola, he wasn’t quite as front and center last time around, and I do like him. He makes quick judgment calls and has a concentrated calmness that I really appreciate. Where most characters would lose their heads in a situation, Jianyu tends to keep it together (even if it gets him hurt in the process).

AND, there were some plot threads pulling together. When I finished the book, the cover started making an ALARMING amount of sense. When I read the last line, I actually threw the book down on my bed and ran through the, like, eighty thousand implications of what that meant (and who was probably the snitch I’m gonna wanna tear apart in the next book). When I thought real hard about it, I got a good inkling of what might be in the title of TLM3 (and I’d put a few bucks down guessing “alchemist” is somewhere in the title; if not TLM3, then maybe another book in the series, because this does not feel like a trilogy).

After all that, though, I still had some problems with it that are leaving me a little frustrated. Not enough to give it much lower a rating than this, but enough that I’m dissatisfied and yet still looking for more.

My biggest problem is that so, so, SO MANY threads and conflicts were introduced, and by the end of this almost 700 page beast, it didn’t feel like anyone actually accomplished anything except the two primary antagonists. The protags saw a net victory count of just about zero, and that’s incredibly frustrating. Why did I go through 700 pages just to find that we’ve moved two spaces on the board instead of twenty, you know? All these new threads are interesting, but nothing really resolved itself, which means I want the third book, but didn’t totally enjoy the this one. It’s actually kind of an awful case of second book syndrome.

Another problem? Not enough Viola. But that’s just me and my bias, so take that with a grain of salt.

Still another problem? Not enough main cast interaction. Everyone was so split up, and part of what I enjoyed from the last book was the way they interacted with each other up close. Multi-POV books feel to me like they should have a pretty tightly knit group cast.

And another problem, my last problem? Time for unpopular (or maybe not?) opinion time: I am TIRED of Harte Darrigan. I know a fair few of his actions weren’t his own. The Book and its power actually can be blamed in some respects. But not all of them. And Harte’s THE WORST at communicating AND he’s kind of gruff and possessive. Which of course means I can’t stand him a bit.

I tend to run into this, especially with characters everyone else seems to love. I’m picky, I suppose.

So there you have it. The good, the bad, and the trivial on The Devil’s Thief. I’m absolutely still going to read the next book, because there’s so much here that I did enjoy, so much I do want answers to. But as a sequel, this fell horribly flat in some ways, and I am pretty disappointed. Here’s hoping the series improves in the future, and that I don’t feel cheated in the end, huh?

 

Have you read The Devil’s Thief yet? If so, what did you think? If not, apologies if I threw you off, and will you still give it a go? Let me know!

6 thoughts on “The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell

  1. second book syndrome (or sophomore novel fear, as Kal calls it!) is so real – I hate when they don’t live up to the first book! and that’s definitely another struggle with big casts, the fact that there will inevitably be some characters you don’t actually care about 😕 here’s hoping the third book redeems the series for you!

    Liked by 1 person

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