Book: City Of Saints & Thieves by Natalie Anderson
Published January 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers|401 pages
Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library
Genre: YA Contemporary
The more you see, the less you know.
In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who does not exist.
Tina and her mother first arrived in Kenya as refugees from Congo desperately searching for a better life. Trading the peril of their besieged village for the busy metropolis of Sangui, they can barely believe their luck when Tina’s mother finds work as a maid for the Greyhills, one of the city’s most illustrious families. But there’s a dark secret lurking behind the family’s immense fortune, and when Tina discovers her mother shot dead in Mr. Greyhill’s private study, she knows he pulled the trigger.
With revenge on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving the streets on her own, working as a master thief with the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job with the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving a long-awaited chance for vengeance. But once Tina returns to the lavish home, she’s overcome by memories of her painful past, and the girl who does not exist is caught red-handed, setting into motion a breathless and dangerous cascade of events that will expose not only the truth behind who killed Tina’s mother, but even more harrowing secrets from Tina’s past that will change everything.
I thought City Of Saints & Thieves was a great book! This is most definitely a book about getting revenge on the person who killed Tina’s mother, and I thought it went in a really interesting direction.
At first, Tina very much wants revenge on the man she believes killed her mother. When she returns to the place where her mother died, a series of events leads her to realize that she didn’t know for sure what happened the night her mother died. What really happened that night ends up being far different than what Tina thought happened, and she uncovers a lot of family history. Everything from who her father is to why they left Congo.
What happened isn’t the whole story, and I liked how we uncovered what really happened that night. I think it would be interesting to go back and re-read City Of Saints & Thieves knowing what I know now.
I liked the rules of being a thief that we see at the beginning of some of the chapters. It added something special to the book, and I think it gives a peek into Tina’s life as part of the Goondas.
It did take a little while to get into the book, and I thought the pacing was a little uneven. It was fast-paced, and then really slow. I still wanted to know what happened next, but I felt like I had to wade through some parts of the book.
I also loved the setting! I’ve read a few books set in Africa, but I don’t think I’ve read any set in Congo or Kenya before. There is a sense of danger, and I felt like you really understand why Tina and her mother left Congo for Kenya. You see the danger they’re in, and why people might seek a better life somewhere else. You also see why people stay, even when it might be easier for them to leave.
It turns out the author has worked with refugees in Africa, and that really comes through. It felt very well researched and I felt like there was a lot of attention to detail.
4 stars. It was a little slow at times and it was hard to get into at first, but overall, I really liked it.