This is the second book in the “Queen of Thieves” series, featuring Ilanna, who is doing everything she must to work her way up through the ranks of the Hawks, the thieves’ section of the Night Guild. And incidentally stash aside enough money to buy her way out.
Having reviewed several of Peloquin’s books, I would have to say that his craft is smoothing out. He no longer needs the shock of graphic violence and gore to maintain our interest. Complicated plotlines and great action sequences do the job, now.
However, this development is a two-edged sword. We are beginning to see a basic problem with the conflict of this series. Since Ilanna is a master thief, her main problem is always to get into some building, steal something and get out again without getting caught. As the basic conflict for a whole 400-page book, it’s a tough job to keep it interesting. During the leadup to the final heist, t’s like “watch me set up a problem and now watch me solve it.” Apart from our cheering for the heroine, there is very little room for the reader to get involved in the conflict. It’s a given that whatever she plans, something will go wrong, at which point she will demonstrate her personal magic and solve that problem, and away we go on the rollercoaster again. My suggestion for the third book in the series (the ending leaves us no doubt that there will be one) is that our heroine change occupations, venues, or something.
As an overall plot arc this may be a problem, but once the real action starts as we approach the climax of the story, it’s a great format. When the problems are coming at the main character so fast we don’t have time to think about them and the conflict is rising rapidly, this story really rolls.
A good second book for a series. Smoother, less gratuitously violent, and a bit less exciting than Book 1. Recommended for Action and Fantasy fans.(4 / 5)