6 Rated Books Book Reviews Giveaways Joint Review

Joint Review & Giveaway: The Thief’s Covenant by Ari Marmell

Title: The Thief’s Covenant

Author: Ari Marmell

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Publisher: Pyr
Publication date: February 14 2012
Hardcover: 240 pages

Once she was Adrienne Satti. An orphan of Davillon, she had somehow escaped destitution and climbed to the ranks of the city’s aristocracy in a rags-to-riches story straight from an ancient fairy tale. Until one horrid night, when a conspiracy of forces—human and other—stole it all away in a flurry of blood and murder.

Today she is Widdershins, a thief making her way through Davillon’s underbelly with a sharp blade, a sharper wit, and the mystical aid of Olgun, a foreign god with no other worshippers but Widdershins herself. It’s not a great life, certainly nothing compared to the one she once had, but it’s hers.

But now, in the midst of Davillon’s political turmoil, an array of hands are once again rising up against her, prepared to tear down all that she’s built. The City Guard wants her in prison. Members of her own Guild want her dead. And something horrid, something dark, something ancient is reaching out for her, a past that refuses to let her go. Widdershins and Olgun are going to find answers, and justice, for what happened to her—but only if those who almost destroyed her in those years gone by don’t finish the job first.

Stand alone or series: A Widdershins Adventure #1

How did we get this book: Review copies from the publisher via Netgalley

Why did we read this book: A Fantasy novel about a girl-thief for Young Adults from a well-established adult Fantasy publisher? We HAD to read it.

Review:

First Impressions:

Ana: It is always a pleasure to see a straight-up Fantasy novel published for young adults and I was excited when I learnt that Pyr (a great adult Fantasy publisher) was coming up with an imprint for YA. Although I admit I was expecting a bit more of oomphage from this title, The Thief’s Covenant turned out to be a laid-back, fun, popcorn-Fantasy read with a cool girl-protagonist.

Thea: Like the shallow creature I can be, I fell for this book when I saw the cover (by the brilliant Jason Chan, naturally) – and then when I learned that it was a Pyr title, and one for its new YA focus, I was absolutely smitten. I have to agree firmly with Ana when it comes to the actual book itself, though. While I enjoyed the novel and its resourceful protagonist, there’s a degree of recycled-ness to the tropes, the characters, and the plot at large. That said, The Thief’s Covenant is a diverting, enjoyable, traditional fantasy novel, and certainly readable (though it does lack distinctiveness and oomph that would have taken it from good to GOOD).

On the Plot:

Ana: Once upon a time she was called Adrienne Satti, a street-urchin with a gift for thievery. Then she became part of the aristocratic ranks of Davillon, adopted by a good-hearted patron and slowly making her way toward acceptance…until that fatal day when a conspiracy between humans and Gods took it all away. Now she is Widdershins, the best thief in Davillon. On the run from those who think she is guilty of bloody murder, at odds with the members of her own Guild, mostly alone but for the eternal company of her own private God, Widdershins now has to find a way to keep living when all the odds are against her.

The Thief’s Covenant starts with a veritable bang in an excellent, gripping opening chapter with stakes as high as the sky, but the story progresses with a lot less gumption than its opening act but still in a fast-paced manner. Plot-wise, this is a basically a mystery in a Fantasy backdrop (which includes a sort-of-medieval secondary world setting and the presence of Gods amongst people) and it follows Widdershins and many other characters between present and past as they get involved in a religious-political conspiracy. In that way, The Thief’s Covenant doesn’t really break away from a more conventional setting but it tells its story in a competent way. It’s a fun book and I don’t really have a lot to say about it but sometimes this is more than enough.

With regards to the narrative though there is a lot of head-hopping between several characters as well as time-jumping (from two years ago, to now, to six years ago, to four years ago, back to now and so on and so forth). The latter was a bit distracting and I found myself continuously calculating the heroine’s age – at one point she must have been a 10/11 year old but she certainly didn’t sound like one.

Thea: Yes, what Ana said. The story itself is familiar – the resourceful ragamuffin orphan makes her way through a cutthroat world against all odds, taken under the wing of a wealthy mentor and further honing her skills until it all goes to hell in a handbasket. There’s the familiar trope of our wise-cracking, tongue-in-cheek heroine appearing to talk to herself when really, she’s speaking to a lower god (outside of the Davillon approved pantheon). I think Ari Marmell does a solid job of playing on these tropes and weaves a fast-paced plot with a logical progression and incredibly high stakes. I also loved the world, the city of Davillon and the level of complexity in regards to the political and religious strata.

Then again, the amount of time-jumping was frustrating and distracting – I like the technique of flashing back and forward in a timeline and I like the different things that are revealed about characters and our intrepid Widdershins (and Olgun!) with this technique, but there was a lack of continuity and it did require frequent flipping back and forth to figure out just when in the timeline a certain chapter would be occurring.

On the Characters:

Ana: The best thing about The Thief’s Covenant is Widdershins/Adrienne. She is funny, fun, capable and smart. I liked her immensely and loved her relationship with Olgum, the God that depends on her for his own survival.

On the other characters, although we spend a lot of time inside many characters’ heads, I don’t think any of them are really developed with the depth they deserved. I can’t help but to feel the narrative choice – head-hopping, time-jumping – made many of the plot developments and character arcs seem superficial and perfunctory. Case in point, there is a death of a great female character in the end that served more as a “look, I can be gritty too” rather than to serve the story in any way. In that sense, I would have preferred to have had only Adrianne’s PoV.

Thea: I agree – the best part about this novel has to be Widdershins herself. Smart, tough, wry, and utterly capable, Adrianne is a pretty awesome heroine, and certainly a protagonist that I’m interested in following on other adventures. She might not exactly be unique or groundbreaking as a character (in fact, Adrianne/Widdershins reminded me a lot of a YA female version of Rachel Aaron’s Spirit Thief hero, Eli Monpress), but I love me a heroine with agency. The other memorable character/component is Olgun, Widdershins’ symbiotic companion; a fringe god on the brink of extinction with some very human characteristics and failings.

On the other characters, in particular the death of a certain major character, I wholeheartedly agree with Ana – I get the sense that this was an attempt at Grim and Gritty, but comes off as kind of gratuitous. Too, the Evil Villain is obvious and lacking some much needed complexity. Yet, the strengths of the heroine (and her outcast god) are more than enough to make up the deficit.

Final Thoughts, Observations & Rating:

Ana: If I sound less than enthusiastic it’s because sometimes one is in the mood for popcorn-reading and I admit I wasn’t when I read the book. I wanted a bit more from this. Still, The Thief’s Covenant is a competent entry-level Fantasy novel which, despite its faults, was fun to read.

Thea: I like popcorn, but I don’t quite think that’s what The Thief’s Covenant was for me. The telling of the story was a bit disjointed and the overall tropes were a little too familiar for me to fully immerse myself in the story – but I enjoyed it for the heroine and the worldbuilding.

Rating:

Ana: 6 – Good, recommended with reservations

Thea: 6 – Good, recommended with reservations

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

Want to read The Thief’s Covenant and see for yourself what it’s all about? We have THREE copies to give away, courtesy of the publisher. The contest is open to ALL, and will run until Saturday February 18 at 11:59 (PST). In order to enter, just leave a comment here. Only one entry per person, please! Multiple entries will be disqualified. Good luck!

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91 Comments

  • Nonny Morgan
    February 9, 2012 at 1:43 am

    Oh, this looks fun! 🙂

  • Katherine
    February 9, 2012 at 2:19 am

    A female thief for a change? I do love that cover…

  • Calamity Jane
    February 9, 2012 at 2:56 am

    One more thief book! I (almost) always like fantasy books focused on thiefs and a female thief? Bring it on! 🙂

  • Justine
    February 9, 2012 at 3:52 am

    Now I want popcorn! Thanks, as always, for managing my expectations about a new book.

  • Cristina
    February 9, 2012 at 4:06 am

    this sounds really great!

  • Jenni
    February 9, 2012 at 4:27 am

    I’ve been dying to get my hands on this book for months now!!

  • Martha C.
    February 9, 2012 at 4:28 am

    I haven’t read a book about a woman thief before and this book sounds very interesting.

  • Mandi Venard
    February 9, 2012 at 5:25 am

    Love the cover,please enter me in the contest.

  • Nikki Egerton
    February 9, 2012 at 5:28 am

    I’m trying to get my sister into fantasy, so I think an entry level popcorn type story would be perfect for her! Please enter me (us) in the contest!

    x

  • Pippi55
    February 9, 2012 at 5:36 am

    I think my brother would love to read this.

  • Katy
    February 9, 2012 at 6:25 am

    I am always trying to get my students to read more traditional fantasy books. This seems like the perfect entry-level fantasy for them that could possible entice them to read MORE. I would love to win the copies of this book!

  • Alwyn
    February 9, 2012 at 6:32 am

    So this sounds awesome! Would love to win a copy.

  • MarieC
    February 9, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Count me in!

  • Peter Bess
    February 9, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Would love to read this one.

  • Vanessa
    February 9, 2012 at 7:53 am

    some days one just needs popcorn….

  • Serenity
    February 9, 2012 at 7:57 am

    I really want to read this one!

  • Kate P.
    February 9, 2012 at 8:12 am

    I wanted to read it before I even read the review- what an AWESOME cover!

  • JL
    February 9, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Love the idea of a female thief and would love to win a copy!

  • Michelle
    February 9, 2012 at 9:52 am

    I absolutely love this cover. The book itself sounds pretty decent, but I’m glad this review has tweaked my expectations a bit. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Lindsay Elizabeth
    February 9, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Eh, why not?

  • Chenise Jones
    February 9, 2012 at 11:43 am

    I love books about thieves!

  • Lisa (starmetal oak)
    February 9, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Thanks for the giveaway 🙂

    Oh, and I love Jason Chan *stares at her signed CHan print* *_*

  • Marie-Claude
    February 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    The cover is sooooo pretty and the book sound good!!! I love the idea of a female thief.

  • Parris
    February 9, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Sounds good.

  • Sheila
    February 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks for another great giveaway!

  • Sarah J
    February 9, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I love the cover. I might even be able to convince a boy to read this just on the cover alone.

  • Carol Thompson
    February 9, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway and for opening it to worldwise entries.

    Although your reviews were only luke warm, I woul still like to try the book for myself.

    Thanks.

    Carol T

  • Raina
    February 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    I am a total sucker for this cover…hopefully I’ll like the book just as much.

  • Paige
    February 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Me, please — and thanks for the review!

  • Karen
    February 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Sounds great! YA high fantasy is too sparse, and kind of hit or miss for me. I’d love to check this one out.

  • mary anne
    February 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    would like to give it a go…sounds like it should be good, but not quite there enough to go chase it down at the library.

  • Barbara Elness
    February 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    The Thief’s Covenant sounds like an interesting and entertaining story and I’m looking forward to reading it.

  • Allison
    February 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Looks like a fun read(:

  • Breanne
    February 9, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    I really want to read this, if only because of the cover – Love it!

  • Victoria Zumbrum
    February 9, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Sounds very interesting. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

  • Amy C
    February 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Hmm. I think, for me, this would be one of those books that I either adore or just think ‘meh’… It certainly has a nice cover though.

  • Becci
    February 9, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    I have seriously had this book on my radar for months! MONTHS I tell you! And I am definitely in the mood for some popcorn. 🙂

  • LiLi
    February 9, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Absolutely one of the most phenomenal covers I’ve ever seen! Really hope I like the book. 🙂 You know, if I win…

  • Shannon H
    February 9, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    I am a huge fan of thief protagonists after the Queens Thief Series

  • Kimberly B.
    February 9, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    I love thief characters, and am in the mood for some imaginary world fantasy quite often, so this sounds like fun. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  • Llehn
    February 9, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I’d love to play please.

  • scribe kira
    February 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    book looks interesting–not sure about how i feel about the cover though!

  • Jen B.
    February 9, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    I know your review was with some reservations but I think it sounds interesting and I would love the chance to try it.

  • Nicole R
    February 9, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    In love with that cover (woo, Jason Chan!) and definitely interested in giving this book a try!

  • Jamie
    February 9, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    I think it sounds like a lot of fun. Count me in.

  • Mary Preston
    February 9, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    I can see I am going to enjoy reading THIEF’S COVENANT.

  • Dovile
    February 9, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    I love fantasy genre, please count me in?

  • nicanicnix
    February 10, 2012 at 12:01 am

    oooh..this seems like my cup of tea! count me in please!

  • Amelia P.
    February 10, 2012 at 12:02 am

    I would love to give this book a shot! Count me in for chance to win a copy 🙂

  • Brenda
    February 10, 2012 at 12:12 am

    I like smart and capable heroines. Sign me up for the giveaway :)I

  • Helle
    February 10, 2012 at 12:48 am

    Awesome cover-art! 😀

  • Emily
    February 10, 2012 at 1:15 am

    Sounds good! I always really love this style of book, and would love to read it 🙂
    Also, the cover art is just so awesome!

  • Noemy
    February 10, 2012 at 1:23 am

    I want this book xD

  • Rachel
    February 10, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Interesting review but I’d love to read the book

  • Vivian
    February 10, 2012 at 3:12 am

    I love stories about thieves! Sounds like a good start to a series, I’d love to pick it up.

  • jenn
    February 10, 2012 at 3:19 am

    I’d love to get a chance to read this =P

  • Hannah w
    February 10, 2012 at 5:19 am

    sounds great =] would love to read it

  • Kristyna
    February 10, 2012 at 7:41 am

    This book sounds totally up my alley!

  • Julie Witt
    February 10, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Wow! The cover just draws you in, doesn’t it?! And then the description seals the deal! I’d love to be entered to win a copy of this book! Thanks so much for the giveaway:)

  • chelcie shell
    February 10, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Looks like a promising read.

  • Simona
    February 10, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Count me in cause I would love to read it!

  • Paige
    February 10, 2012 at 10:36 am

    I’ve had good luck with Jason Chan covers. I’d love to give this one a try.

  • Sierra @ Yearning to Read
    February 10, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Thanks so much! It looks good! Great review!

  • Nafiza
    February 10, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Ah I would love to win a copy of this. It does sound great and the cover is swoon worthy.

  • Debora B
    February 10, 2012 at 11:00 am

    The Thief’s Covenant sounds like a really good read! It’d be awesome to win a copy =) Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Heidi
    February 10, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Thanks for the giveaway! I love thief stories, and everyone needs a good popcorn read every so often. =)

  • Lexie Cenni
    February 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    This book has been hitting around on my wishlist for a while. I really like the coverart, but Pyr hasn’t really let me down when it comes to fantasy. And I’m a thief-fantasy kick so this works!

  • Emy Shin
    February 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    The cover and summary of this really caught my eyes, so I’d love to be entered for a chance to win. It sounds like the kind of popcorn-reads I’d love. 🙂

  • Rachel
    February 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Nothing better than a thief story, and ones about a female thieves are even better. Really want to read this.

  • whispering words
    February 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway! This book both looks and sounds amazing 🙂

  • Tina B.
    February 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway, can’t wait to read it.I think the sequel comes out in June!!!!

  • SheWhoMustNotBeNamed
    February 10, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    It sounds pretty good. I’d love to have a copy!

  • Bee
    February 11, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Sounds interesting. Thanks for the giveaway : )

  • Marie
    February 11, 2012 at 8:22 am

    This sounds like a great read!

  • Tina
    February 11, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    This sounds like an interesting read– I love the cover!

  • Dana
    February 11, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Mine please!

  • J.M. Martin
    February 11, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    A Chan cover, a Pyr YA book, edited by Lou Anders, written by Ari Marmell? C’mon, what’s not to love about all that? Please put me down for the giveaway! 😀

  • Rosie
    February 12, 2012 at 8:56 am

    This looks really good! I love all kinds of mystery stories, but this one is excellent!

  • Becky C.
    February 12, 2012 at 9:01 am

    I really like the cover of this book. Looks interesting. Thanks for the chance to win!

  • sarac
    February 12, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Sounds like a great book!

  • Lesley D
    February 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    I could never resist a fantasy novel about a girl thief! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Kevin
    February 12, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Sounds interesting. I’d love to read it.

  • erin
    February 13, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I’m totally in the mood for some popcorn reading and would love to be entered.

  • Mariel Louise Cunanan
    February 14, 2012 at 1:08 am

    SOUNDS AWESOME! 🙂

  • Dan Hoizner
    February 14, 2012 at 9:49 am

    I would absolutely LOVE a copy of this book!!

  • Kirsty Barnes
    February 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    I love YA fantasy, I hope it is as good as it sounds

  • Maureen
    February 15, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Thanks for the giveaway! It looks like an interesting read.

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    February 19, 2012 at 10:47 am

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  • hk
    February 19, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    looks pretty good 🙂

  • May Richard
    February 19, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Thank you so so much!

  • Alina
    February 24, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I love the books you review and want to read them all!

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