Wednesday, January 11, 2017

City Of Saints & Thieves By Natalie C. Anderson ARC Review

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya.
In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn't exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill's personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.

I can be totally sold on a book just based off of where the book is set. Most books, set in a different country, will appeal to me. Maybe I have this underlying wanderlust living inside of me I don't know. But this book was no different, a book set in Africa, I was like, "Count me in."

The setting of this book did not disappoint. I could envision this part of Africa in my mind--although I don't believe the actual city the author chose is real, but still. It was like a part of it was with me while I read.

The one thing that didn't stick with me, or rather do much for me was the whole mystery. I don't know what it is but when it comes to mysteries/thrillers, it is so hard to please me--particularly with YA mystery titles. It's like the authors are afraid, or can't, (I don't know) really go there. It always seems to be so tame. Now, don't get me wrong some YA authors write decent YA mysteries/thrillers. I mean you can tell me anything about Amanda Panitch. BUT, there always seems to be that "something," lacking. Like I said, it could be my own critical self but, it's something missing.

This one, was in fact, a thrilling read, but by the end of it, I didn't feel strongly about the book one way or the other. The saving grace was the characters.

They were complex, layered, and written in such a way--that I was intrigued and entertained by their story.

Tiny Girl was this resilient, bad a** African girl, with all the strength of someone older, and the power of someone far beyond her reach. I really liked the fact that she was this dark-skinned, fearless tiny thing. I liked watching her develop, and I felt some inexplicable connection to her character. Her relentless pursuit of justice, and her fierce protection of her younger sister, made her easy to like.

Boy Boy--was flashy and not a boy of many words, but a presence that was felt thoroughly. I liked that Tiny Girl had him as a friend.

I also, (which is going to sound weird) liked the inclusion of the gang, The Goondas. It really gave a realness to the land, and to the story itself. It gave it another level of depth. It was really interesting to see how the gang played apart in both the development of the story, and Tiny Girl, aka Christina.

I'll briefly mention Michael, although his role is sort of important to the story. His character was interesting, but I didn't get to learn much about him, just the surface things. In a way it wasn't necessary but would have been nice to know. I liked the inclusion of his character, but felt if he wasn't included, nothing would have been lost. (Sounds kind of crazy, now that I'm writing it.)

All in all it was a good read, that had strong points, but like I said just felt, "okay," by the end. That's not to say it's not worth reading. It is, just don't expect to be blown away. I mean with comparisons to Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which I've read and loved, and The Girl On The Train, which I plan to read--it definitely puts this book on a pedestal I'm not sure it belongs or needs to be on.

Anyway, recommended for readers who enjoy a whodunit type of novel--with a great setting to boot.


  1. Ooo it does have a great setting, glad it didn't disappoint!

  2. This is one I'm really excited for! Partly because of the setting (which I'm glad to hear didn't disappoint) and also because of the mystery! I'm a little sad it didn't really hold up. I find that I'm not often satisfied by YA mysteries or thrillers either. At least this one had some good characters!

    Thanks for the honest review!

  3. Oh comparisons always throw me off too. Too bad it wasn't a wow book but it does sound like something I would enjoy. I usually have to like the character so you saying... "Her relentless pursuit of justice, and her fierce protection of her younger sister, made her easy to like." helped me to know that I would really like her. Brilly review.

  4. It almost seems like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Gone Girl comparisons hurt this one. I mean, when compared to two mega-hit, hugely popular bestsellers, almost any books would pale in comparison. I know I'm getting off-track, but comparisons can be such a double-edged sword. It's great to attract fans of a particular book or genre and gather the attention of a target audience that might otherwise overlook the book... but sometimes the comparisons are so off-base or even set the book up for a measure of failure when it doesn't live up to the comparisons. Whew, okay... rant over now...

  5. This sounds so good! I also love books set in other places. I know it's because I want to travel and have never been able to. One day! Excellent review. 😀😀