Book Review: City of Saints and Thieves (Natalie C. Anderson)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

Pages: 432

Release Date: July 6th 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

Street-thief Tina breaks in to the luxurious house where her mother was killed to steal from Mr. Greyhill and nail him for her mother’s murder. She is caught red-handed.

Saved by Mr. Greyhill’s gorgeous son, Michael, the pair set in motion a cascade of dangerous events that lead them deeper into the mystery, and reveal dark and shocking secrets from Tina’s past.

Tina and her mother fled the Congo years ago as refugees, trading the uncertain danger of their besieged village for a new, safer life in the bustling Kenyan metropolis. The corruption and politics of the Congo, and the gangster world of Sangui City, are behind Tina’s mother’s downfall. Is Tina tough enough to find the truth and bring the killer to justice?

Review:

This was an interesting YA mystery with a vivid setting and glorious characters.

Tina has been planning revenge for the death of her mother for years, but now the plan is in action, she’s hit a snag: what if Mr Greyhill, her mother’s employer and lover, didn’t kill her after all? The idea is planted by Michael, Greyhill’s son and TIna’s childhood friend. Although unconvinced, she agrees to help him find proof before she follows through with her plan. But as they dig deeper into the mystery, they uncover more than they bargained for.

I was drawn into the book from the very start as the first few short chapters got straight into the action and got me hooked. Tina is a really interesting character and I loved how she developed through the book. At the start, she’s very single-mindedly out for revenge, but as the book progresses that desire wanes and she’s more interested in discovering her own past, all while doing everything she can to protect her younger sister, Kiki.

After so many years of focussing on Mr Greyhill as her mother’s killer and planning his downfall, Tina’s world begins to crumble as she realises it might not have been him after all. She’s based everything she is around this revenge plan, and when it starts to come unstuck, she’s lost.

The relationships in this story were all great. I love stories about sisters and Tina’s looking after of Kiki was beautiful. I also enjoyed her friendship with Boyboy and Michael, and how she came to realise that she had more in life than just her sister and her crumbling revenge plot. The romance with Michael was a little predictable and I wasn’t overly keen, but it didn’t put me off either.

The setting is both beautiful and depressing, with descriptions that can be both beautiful and grim. It can be a little bleak in its attitudes sometimes. There’s a lot of talk of sexism and rape, and while the subjects are handled well, it’s not something that’s resolved in the book: that’s just the way things are. While that probably reflects real life better, it might be a bit depressing for some readers.

This is a great read with a diverse range of well developed and intriguing characters, and plenty of plot twists to keep you from guessing what happens next. If you’re looking for a YA mystery with a lot of heart then this is for you.

4

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