When I read a brief synopsis of this, I knew I had to read it. YA lit, female protagonist, a circus, jewel theft and Victorian London?! Sounds like my kind of book! Given that there is also a steampunk vibe to this too just added to it.
Remy Brunel is a 16-year old trapeze artist in the circus, known as ‘Little Bird’ for how she seems to fly around the circus top. But Remy’s secret is that she is top class jewel thief. Thaddeus Rec is a young, ambitious detective, who enjoys tinkering with gadgets alongside his friend, who he only knows by the name ‘The Professor’. When Remy is ordered by her master to steal one of the world’s most expensive diamonds, she finds she’s been beaten to it and sets out to track it down herself. She befriends J, a young street boy and eventually crosses Thaddeus’s path, who is also trying to find the diamond to clear his name as the theft as been pinned on him. They search Victorian London, uncovering plenty of mysterious, shocking secrets that have the potential to destroy London.
Overall I loved the book. It’s fast paced, full of action and Remy is a likeable character and I love that she’s feisty and brave. I didn’t warm too much to Thaddeus, not that I didn’t like him but I guess he didn’t shine like some other male literary counterparts (particularly Will Herondale, from the Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series, which is also set in Victorian London and has a steampunk vibe). Their love story didn’t pull me in too much but I don’t think it ruins the book either. I thought J was adorable, I could just picture what a cheeky chappy he was. And The Professor definitely conjured up images of Doc from Back to the Future. I don’t want to say too much about the baddie, as I don’t want to give a lot away from that part of the plot, but he definitely did come across as the egocentric, heartless, power hungry character that he’s supposed to be.
Overall, the plot was enjoyable, if not a bit predictable in places but then again, that doesn’t make the book any less enjoyable in my opinion. I love how the author set about describing Victorian London, the grime and the fog and the underground passages, which reminded me of Dodger by Terry Pratchett. I have a fondness for books in this setting (as well as those listed above, I also really like The Ruby in the Smoke series by Philip Pullman). I would say this book is probably suitable for 9/10 years old and up, depending on reading ability. I do think older readers can enjoy it, I’m in my mid 20s and certainly did! Especially if you like historical fiction, espionage and action.
Overall, while the books didn’t blow me away, I do think it’s well worth the read if you like YA and some of the other elements above. It’s a fast paced, fun and a good adventure story and if there happens to be a sequel, I would definitely be interested in checking it out!
I got a copy of this from NetGalley to review. Readers who are approved for titles from NetGalley are under no obligation to post reviews. I chose this book as it sounded just like my sort of thing and would have had the exact same opinions had I spotted this in the library. Which I actually did a few weeks after downloading this copy and would have definitely picked it up then in the library. All opinions are my own, I think it’s important to be honest about items you review.