Favorite Lines: “Silvia had taught him well. Never mind that the heat from the salamander’s skin scalded his fingertips and singed his hair, never mind that his mouth and tongue blistered as he kissed her breasts, that her strong scent made him want to vomit.” (363)
This book came to me attention via Nalini Singh’s website. If you follow this link you can read her interview with the author Emily Gee. (You have to scroll to the bottom of the page to see it because it’s in the May archives.)
Thief With No Shadow is a fantasy novel about two families and their journey to overcome the past. Melke, a wraithe, has broken a personal vow to never steal. She stole a necklace from Bastien and that is where the book begins. Melke is stuck in a tree with a hound snarling beneath her. The hound belongs to Bastien, so when Bastien calls him he leaves allowing Melke to run for her life. She must take the necklace to the salamanders to exchange for her brother.
The necklace is much more than a pretty bauble though. Tied to the necklace is a curse laid upon Bastien’s family by a psaaron (sea creature). If the necklace isn’t returned to the creature by high tide it will come and punish a member of the family, his choice, male or female.
Like all characters, Melke and Bastien’s past has formed who they are when we pop into their world. Melke holds herself as her mother taught her and incurs Bastien’s wrath for her seeming indifference to his plight. Bastien has watched the curse destroy his mother, father, and their land. The curse caused the water to slowly leave their land. Add to that a creature that sexually punishes a member of his family and you’ve got the formula for a jacked up man.
Bastien isn’t nice and at times I really disliked him. He even sinks to doing things that he abhors out of spite and later out of a need for redemption. Melke is a noble creature but she really didn’t do anything for me. She was predictable. Her brother was much more interesting and I would have liked to know more about him and the secondary story line that evolved around the siblings of the main characters.
The story was tame compared to what I’ve read lately. The pace was steady, so instead of racing forward into battles and action, it walked on a journey. After completing the book I didn’t feel a “Oh my God, that was a great book!” feeling. It was alright and slightly different from what I’ve been reading.