Thursday, March 13, 2014

ARC Review: Thief's War - Hilari Bell

A copy was provided by the Author
in exchange for
an honest review.
Thief's War by Hilari Bell
Series: Knight & Rogue #4
Genre: YA, fantasy, adventure
Published on March 8, 2014
Published by Courtney Literary
Pages: 254
Read From: 3.1.14 - 3.1.14

Knights errant aren't supposed to let the bad guy escape. 

But Sir Michael and his squire Fisk were up to their necks in mayhem (as usual) and Fisk's old mentor, Jack Bannister, quietly slithered away. Now Michael has tracked Jack wasn't exaggerating when he said that the crime boss he works for runs the town. With the judicars and the sheriff working for the bad guys, a lone knight errant aided only by his trusty squire and a pack of ragtag orphans shouldn't stand a chance. But the thing that really gets in Michael's way is that Fisk refuses to see his old teacher hang.


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Oh yes, I love the cover. It’s simplistic and pretty and intriguing. And it’s in keeping with the series theme.

Characters: What can I say – I’m a big Fisk and Michael fan! Michael is gallant and honorable and always trying to do the right thing and help people in distress. He’s so nice that it can be labeled a flaw as well as a virtue, but I can’t dislike him for it. If Fisk weren’t there to balance him out, maybe his gallantry would get old – especially when it gets him into trouble. But Fisk is there, to question peoples’ ulterior motives and whether or not said person really even deserves help. He’s there to do what needs to be done when unlawful actions are necessary, and he’s there to save their skins when Michael gets them in deep. And of course – Fisk is also there to offer his customary sarcasm. The two complement each other and make for a great duo to read about. I had mixed feelings about Jack. I didn’t dislike him, though I certainly didn’t trust him. I was with Michael that Jack needed to be brought to justice, but I understood why Fisk still felt like he owed Jack something – even though he didn’t. Jack may have taught Fisk everything he knows about surviving the streets, but Jack has also used and abandoned him time and again. Jack never made his dastardliness a secret, though, so I can’t exactly fault him for lying to Fisk, because he didn’t really. But then there’s the villain – Roseman. It took me a while to fully appreciate his villainy. When first meeting him, I didn’t think much about him either way; I think the story had absorbed me too much for me to really analyze anyone at that point. Toward the end of the book, though, it suddenly hit me how creepy Roseman really was. Take Charles Augustus Magnussen from BBC’s Sherlock and put him in a medieval-based world – you have Roseman. Seriously – the guy was that creepy. A blackmailer, criminal, murderer, intelligent, and above all: polite. You could never accuse him of being rude; just creepy. He, in fact, may be what pushed Thief’s War’s rating from 4 strawberries to five. But this section would not be complete without mentioning the street urchins! I just love street urchins in books, and the Author utilized them so well in this. Both adorable and believable at the same time, I totally understood Michael’s love for them. These aren’t just urchins who are in the story to play the usual role of urchins; they’ve lived a very hard life, they’re not innocent (no matter what Michael says; who knows what they’ve had to do to survive), and they’re haunted. Whoever knew that they would actually end up being the darkest part of this book?

The Romance: There isn’t any!

Plot: After defeating the gang of wreckers, Michael should feel pretty good about such a feat. But one of the ringleaders – Jack – got away, and knights errant simply don’t let the villains escape. Now, Michael wants to track down Jack and put a stop to him and the mysterious “boss” he works for. But in this quest for justice, Michael and his squire Fisk are at odds. Fisk will help Michael bring Roseman down, but he won’t touch Jack – his former mentor on the streets. As Michael and Fisk investigate Roseman further, they begin to realize just how powerful this man is, and how far reaching his influence is. Roseman may be one man that they just can’t touch. But Michael and Fisk have never backed down from a challenge, even if Fisk has wanted to. Two words: loved it! It has all of the mystery, danger, and dark humor that I’ve always loved about the Knight & Rogue series. Thief’s War picks up where Player’s Ruse left off. When Michael and Fisk are hired to rescue a young man from debt labor, it brings them to their first opportunity of tracking down Jack and Roseman, and possibly putting a stop to Roseman’s corrupt rule of the neighboring noblemen and town officials. But they aren’t prepared for this battle, especially with Fisk refusing his 100% cooperation. They get into very sticky predicaments – their stickiest yet, I believe. And no, it isn’t fun seeing Michael and Fisk at odds. For the most part, Fisk helps Michael – he has no choice, if they’re both going to survive. But as soon as he has to betray Jack, he won’t do it, and it’s painful to see their friendship hit this rough spot. Thief’s War is less of a mystery than the others and more of just “bringing the villain down.” Which is fine – every series needs to have its “different flavored” volume. Thief’s War is not disappointing at all. And there is still some mystery. Roseman is clearly after something, and we don’t know what. While Fisk is looking for a way to bring about his demise, he also discovers Roseman’s “master plan.” It’s awesome. There isn’t a dull moment in this book, and it moves along at a perfect pace.

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: First person, past tense. Each chapter alternates between Fisk and Michael’s narrations. It’s a lot of fun reading their thoughts. Michael has a very proper way of narrating, and is always expounding on gallantry and the dastardly deeds of villains. Fisk offers a much more sarcastic, “bitter facts of life” narration. This not only creates two very distinct narration voices, but indicates a lot about their personalities. I really enjoyed it.

Content: 1 s-word

Conclusion: It wasn’t rushed exactly, but the pace definitely picks its feet up (though it is in no way slow), and dives into a rousing conclusion. Roseman loses his dignity briefly, but he still creeps me out. The worst part about the conclusion? (In fact, the only bad part about the conclusion, because it was a great ending.) Michael and Fisk’s fight. I really want Book #5 right now, because I cannot live with this! I won’t say anything else about it – spoilers! – but it’s bittersweet. Thief’s War is an excellent addition to this series; a great plot, an awesome villain, and of course, more Fisk and Michael! It won’t disappoint any Knight & Rogue fans.

Recommended Audience: Girl-and-guy read, fifteen-and-up, great for fans of fantasy, be it heavy or light fantasy, and mysteries!

Others in the Knight & Rogue Series:
1)The Last Knight
2)Rogue's Home
3)Player's Ruse
4)Thief's War


  1. So excited! But I'm angry because I have not been able to find a stable release date yet. Every time it's there it gets bumped up and it's making me want to eat nails.

    1. That's partially because the publisher Hilari Bell had before dropped the series, so she had to go with a smaller publisher.


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