Monday, July 12, 2010

She Thief by Daniel Finn + Contest!

Published April 2010.

Baz and Demi are master pickpockets, the scourge of the street. They weave through rich neighborhoods, past armed guards and luxurious shops, to slip bags off shoulders and wallets out of pockets before disappearing into the crowd. Their loot goes to Fay, who runs a gang of child thieves from her den in the Barrio. This sweltering slum is what passes for home to Baz, and Fay is what passes for family.

That all changes the day Demi steals a magnificent blue ring. Soon, the police chief and the Barrio's crime boss close in on Fay, and she begins to break under their pressure.

Baz has never doubted Fay before. She's never been apart from Demi, either. But soon, Baz is left alone to find her way through a world more corrupt than she's ever realized. Here, the lives of children are thrown away without a moment's hesitation. Here, the rich and powerful are just thieves on a larger scale. And somewhere in this wreck of a city, Baz must find the scraps of hope, the small acts of kindness, and the steely strength that will take her back to Demi and wash them both out of the Barrio for good.
(book back blurb)

While this book took me a little while to get through, and while it was pretty slow to get started, it had its moments that left me not wanting to put it down. There were moments where the fate of the kids was literally hanging in the balance and I wanted to find out what happened to them. There were also times where I wanted to say 'get the hell on with it.'

I think one of the reasons I found it so hard to really connect with any of the characters and the plot was the dialect the story is written in. I can handle dialect in short stories but an entire novel? It made for a slow read because my brain had a hard time getting around the choppy, clunky arrangement of words. The narration also flipped back and forth between "normal" and dialect and it kind of threw me off. It made it hard to determine whose head I was in, if anyone's. It was like the author couldn't decide whether to keep the point of view omniscient or limited and settled on the little bit of both.

The way those kids lived and were treated was terrible. And no matter what Fay's situation ended up being, she deserved everything she got. She never gave a damn about Demi or Baz beyond what they could provide for her. I guess she felt she deserved the position she was in. She worked her way for a while and then she got to settle and get others to do it for her. But the way she handed over kids basically to their deaths was atrocious. There were moments where I could half understand her situation and why she existed the way she did but most of the time I just didn't care. I couldn't stand her.

Baz and Demi had great ying and yang personalities. They complimented each other nicely and they really looked out for each other. The lengths they went to to protect and help each other was truly touching. Especially as the chapters wound down, I found myself rooting for them and plowing through the chapters faster than before because I wanted to see just what happened to them.

While the plot was very slow moving (the moment with the ring doesn't come until quite a few chapters in) and hard to get involved with because of the dialect barrier, Finn had an excellent way of projecting the dirt of the Barrio onto the reader. The grime and mange was both subtle and prominent in the story. It was every day lives for Baz and Demi and really had no effect on them. Washing in water that'll give you the shits? Not a problem so long as they didn't drink it. Traipsing around in mud and sewage? Whatever. They could wash it off. The image of the Barrio was so clear in my mind. The smells and the feel of the ward was right there and it was unnerving. That was probably the best part of the novel; just how engulfing the Barrio was, like you're actually standing in the middle of it.

Overall the story was a little slow but really compelling towards the end, Baz and Demi are pretty irresistible and Fay's a bitch. By the end of it you'll want to shower to get the Barrio grime off of your skin and you'll thank the gods you don't live in one.

Contest Time!!!

Want to win my ARC of She Thief? Then just fill out the form below for your chance to win!


Beverly said...

Thanks for hosting! Happy reading.

Enbrethiliel said...


I don't think I'd mind dialect too much. It can even be a little exciting, when it's done right. =) Two of my favourite novels are A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh: the former is written in a made-up language called Nadsat and the latter is in English that is spelled to match the heavy Scottish accents of the characters.

I'll bet the use of dialect in this novel is what made the setting so engulfing, as you say, and is part of the reason you wanted to wash all the grime off at the end.

Having said that, I'm sorry the giveaway isn't international, but I do understand. =)

Thanks for the review! =D

Ky said...

I'm so glad you give brutally honest reviews. Really helps in the decision making. I've come across this book in my browsing and it sounded really good. Glad to know it has it's gripping moments. ^.^

Thanks for the contest!

angelatarantula said...

thanks so much for the giveaway! Love the honesty of the review, especially the last paragraph :P

Vidisha said...

Great Giveaway!!!

Elise said...

Thanks for the giveway.

bridget3420 said...

I entered

Meredith said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

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