by Emily Gee
Melke is a wraith, capable of turning invisible and known for their shameless thievery – it’s no wonder her kind are hated and despised throughout the country. Yet Melke was raised to be a different kind of wraith, one who doesn’t steal or commit crimes…the novel starts with her first theft and the consequences that follow.
This was another Hoopla find – for those of you who aren’t familiar with Hoopla, this application allows readers to ‘check out’ digital library books for a period of time. Hoopla doesn’t have the biggest or best selection of books (at least, my local library doesn’t have a huge collection of digital fantasy books) so it has become my last resort for finding a new book to curb my reading addiction. However, since I can download them with a push of a button, it makes checking out library books so convenient! That’s how I found myself reading Thief With No Shadow.
In an attempt to save her brother, Melke steals a valuable necklace in exchange for his life. What she didn’t expect was the lethal black dog and his owner to sniff her out, demanding the necklace back. She didn’t expect the necklace to be worth far more than any sum of money. She didn’t expect to feel for the man. She never expected to become the typical wraith she always loathed.
Melke makes it her mission to take the necklace back from the salamanders who tortured her brother and atone for her original crime. As she sets a plan, nurses her brother back to health, and attempts to appease the man who loathes her for stealing, she finds herself falling for him.
This sums up a majority of the novel. Not joking. Almost every page is littered with her regret, the man’s hatred towards her (often in atrocious verbal attacks that did little to endear me toward the romantic interest), and achingly slow plot progression. Now, many applaud Emily Gee’s raw, dark, brutally honest approach – I did not. There’s beastiality rape (TWICE!), unnecessary gore, and every character suffers from extreme self-loathing. This is not a fantasy world I want to be enraptured by for 300+ pages.
I am all for a raw fantasy world (I mean, Game of Thrones is great, amiright?) but this book marketed itself as a romantic fantasy – that of which, it is neither. There was very little romance and very little fantasy. Marketing aside, the violence and self-hatred combined for a thoroughly depressing story.
Romance: While there are hints of romantic undercurrents, nothing happens. Absolutely nothing, after all the build-up.
World Building: This could have been a very interesting world! Unfortunately, the reader is only introduced to the Salamanders and a small farmhouse.
Writing: Plot aside, the writing is decent. However, character personalities and plot dragged the nice wording through the gutter.
Overall: Thief With No Shadow was brutal, slow, and did not make good on its promises. Maybe I’m just not the right reader for this book.