An interesting thing happened to me with this book: I thought I might have read it before, but I wasn’t positive. I couldn’t say what was going to happen before I read it, but every time something big happened, I’d think, “Oh, yeah…I remember that.” Is it because I’ve actually read this book before, or is it just similar to others I’ve read? I’m still not sure. I don’t think that’s necessarily a good thing.
In this particular book, Esta is a thief who steals magical artifacts for her benefactor. She also has the ability to manipulate time, in a world where magic has to be hidden. It’s kept secret from a group called The Order (I guess coming up with a creative name wasn’t all that high on the groups’ list of priorities), which has created kind of a magical wall that keeps everyone with magic from leaving the city.
Esta goes back in time to the 1920’s to steal a magical item before The Order can get to it. There, she infiltrates a gang in an effort to pull off the heist of this item, and return it to the present. I’m a bit sketchy on why she needed a team for that particular theft, when she tended to work solo, or with just one other person previously.
The similarities between this and Six of Crows are hard to ignore. True, Six of Crows doesn’t have the time travel element, and it takes place in its own world, but there is the band of misfits, the heist aspect, and even the youngish gang leader with the cane. Because of this, the story failed to pull me in. I kept comparing it to Six of Crows without meaning to, which really isn’t fair to this book.
I didn’t really love any of the characters. They all had the potential to be interesting, but they never really developed past surface level. Maybe they become more nuanced in the next book. It can be hard to fully develop a larger group I’d assume, but none of them seemed more than surface-level.
Time travel is touch-and-go for me. I have a hard time with most stories involving it, simply because it can lead to some gaping plotholes. This book did okay with that for the first half or so, but the last little bit had some really big problems. I won’t give anything away, but it didn’t work for me.
This book wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. I get what the author was going for, it just isn’t for me. I’m not going out of my way to read the sequel.