Title: Fire and Heist
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Release Date: December 4th 2018 from Crown Books for Young Readers
Format: Kindle ARC
*I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and no quotations will be used in this review.*
Goodreads Synopsis: In Sky Hawkins’s family, leading your first heist is a major milestone–even more so than learning to talk, walk, or do long division. It’s a chance to gain power and acceptance within your family, and within society. But stealing your first treasure can be complicated, especially when you’re a wyvern–a human capable of turning into a dragon.
Embarking on a life of crime is never easy, and Sky discovers secrets about her mother, who recently went missing, the real reason her boyfriend broke up with her, and a valuable jewel that could restore her family’s wealth and rank in their community.
With a handpicked crew by her side, Sky knows she has everything she needs to complete her first heist, and get her boyfriend and mother back in the process. But then she uncovers a dark truth about were-dragon society–a truth more valuable and dangerous than gold or jewels could ever be.
This really caught my eye on NetGalley a couple months back from the cover and the synopsis. Durst has been writing for years and her recent series, starting with The Queen of Blood getting a lot of buzz, I was excited to see this book from her after enjoying the book I just mentioned. This is also a standalone book which is what I really needed right now. Here’s the break down!
- Main Character POV: You guys know that I usually struggle with first person present tense. Few authors do it well for me and this was one of them. Durst truly captures a teenager’s voice in Sky Hawkins. Sky is a very smart girl trying to plan and accomplish her first heist, which is a big deal in wyvern society. She is witty, kind, has good intentions and hardly lets anything distract her from her goals. I loved how she pokes fun at how humans interpret dragons in fantasy and other human things. I loved seeing her grow as she learns harsh truths and has to adapt to her circumstances. I even found her relatable at times even though I’m much older than her.
- Take on dragons: I love the idea of having wyverns (were-dragons) in our world. Durst gives a fun twist in history to show how the wyverns came to be, as well as wyvern society and politics. It made the story more rich and made me care about the main plot.
- Heist themselves: This book doesn’t have just one heist in it and they were so detailed and fun to read about. You see how they get everything they need, go through their plans and they tie into the plot so well. This really felt similar to Ocean’s Eleven in the best way.
- Pacing: This book was never boring for me. I kept reading chunks of it at a time which is always good for me. The chapter lengths felt perfect to keep my attention and the ending of the chapters made me want to keep turning the pages. I loved how everything shifted seamlessly as circumstances and the plot changed also. If you’re needing a book to get you out of a reading slump, this one could help!
- Great for young readers: For parents, school teachers and librarians, this is an excellent addition to the collection when it comes out in December! This book has great messages about the importance of family, being brave, friendship and always sticking to the truth. It’s also a clean book for parents who are looking for a fantasy book for their kid, niece/nephew, etc.
- Side Characters: Gabriela is a friend who joins Sky on her heist. She’s of Hispanic descent and her character was quirky, honest, adorable and reminds me of many younger teens. She has some great lines with Sky as they work together. There’s also the wizard Maximus that has some hilarious moments as well; I don’t laugh often in books but this guy was awesome! Ryan, the love interest for Sky, is also well developed and never felt like one of those cookie cutter male love interests; I enjoyed the depth that Durst gave him.
- Ending: I’m gonna lie, the ending kinda disappointed me. Everything leads up to a confrontation of sorts and it just kinda died when it diverged a bit. I wanted it to have a bit more weight to it, instead of doing one big thing, a speech and then everyone is happy and fine. Some people will be disappointed by the ending if you’re an older reader. While I like the ending overall, I wasn’t completely satisfied with how rushed it was.
- Bad lines: There was a small spattering of bad lines in the writing on occasion. There’s some intended to be funny and roll your eyes at, but some descriptions kinda made me roll my eyes in a bad way. But this is a small nitpick.
- Page length: I wish that this book had about 50-75 more pages just to expand some of the world building a bit more and provide more weight to the ending. The first about 55% focuses on the main thread line in the synopsis and then the other parts that get introduced are a little underdeveloped.
Overall: I highly recommend this book! Go request it if you’re a reviewer and love dragon books. While it’s not perfect, I was smiling, giggling and always wanting to read more. I want to try more of Durst’s back list YA novels now. This was a great dragon standalone book 🙂
Have you read this book? Are you excited for this book? What books with dragons would you recommend?