City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson tells the story of Tiny Girl, a refugee from Congo who knows who killed her mother and swears to get her revenge.
And that’s basically it.
The protagonist must live in the streets of Kenya and join a gang to survive, there she learns what she needs in order to get back to the men who killed her mother. But in order to get at her enemy she is forced to relive her own past.
This is what everyone’s new favorite YA thriller is about.
- The narrator. I enjoyed the laid-back narrator, Tiny Girl, so much. She guided me through her world as a friend showing a messy room. Her voice was informal, friendly and honest. I laughed when she made funny remarks and felt her anguish when she was in trouble.
- Sometimes things went wrong. I feel like in most thrillers or mystery books the protagonists have extremely good luck. They always fool everyone, there are never minor mishaps like in real life and people are never bothered by minor inconveniences. Am I asking for too much if I want a flat tire when they are about to escape? Maybe. But this book has its flat tire scenes and it made everything more fun.
- The setting. I don’t tend to read about people living in the middle of a war, slaves, disease or people getting hurt in general. But I think that sometimes reading about these subjects is a good way to be informed and be more empathetic towards certain situations. Though the city and the characters on this book are not real, the story is based on real events affecting the people in Congo and other parts of Africa.
- It was 50 pages too long. I really loved the beginning of this book. I liked the end. But I struggled in the middle. I had to force myself to read a bunch of boring and purposeless pages in order to get to the good parts. I feel like they could cut 50 pages from the middle of this book and people wouldn’t notice. Most of the boring stuff is people talking about theories that I had already made, and people describing settings that I didn’t care about, like the view, the weather or random people doing random stuff in the background.
- Not enough action and a bit slow. It has its moments of action, of course. A couple of times I caught myself holding my breath so the bad guys in the book wouldn’t listen. But I think it has just two or three action scenes distributed trough the book, and the rest is slower and not so thrilling.
- A bit predictable. I think most of the clues you get through the book are a bit too obvious. It did surprise me with a big revelation, but the rest were too easy to guess and the outcome for each character was what I expected from the beginning. I still had fun, maybe this wouldn’t have been an issue in a shorter book.
- You are looking for a YA thriller with a murder mystery
- You want another perspective on human rights violations in Congo
- You like action movies about stealing information
- You love laid-back friendly narrators
Many thanks to Penguin Random House for providing me with a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review.