A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes
Published: June 23rd 2015
Goodreads Ratings: 4.03/5
My Rating: 3.75/5
Modern-day sisters discover deadly ancient magic in book 1 of this Falling Kingdoms spin-off series!
Worlds collide in this suspenseful, page-turning Falling Kingdoms spin-off series, which explores a whole new side of Mytica—and an even darker version of its magic.
Crystal Hatcher, Modern-day Toronto: It’s a normal afternoon in her mother’s antique bookshop when Crys witnesses the unthinkable: her little sister Becca collapses into a coma after becoming mesmerized by a mysterious book written in an unrecognizable language.
Maddox Corso, Ancient Mytica: Maddox Corso doesn’t think much of it when he spots an unfamiliar girl in his small village. Until, that is, he realizes that she is a spirit, and he is the only one who can see or hear her. Her name is Becca Hatcher, and she needs Maddox to help get her home.
Farrell Grayson, Modern-day Toronto: Rich and aimless Farrell Grayson is thrilled when the mysterious leader of the ultra-secret Hawkspear Society invites him into the fold. But when he learns exactly what he has to do to prove himself, Farrell starts to question everything he thought he knew about family, loyalty, and himself….
Fate has brought these young people together, but ancient magic threatens to rip them apart.
Note: This review may have tiny spoilers, but from everything I’ve revised, it is all a small expansion from the synopsis above.
A Book of Spirits and Thieves (read: ABOSAT) is a spin off of Rhodes’ epic fantasy series Falling Kingdoms. This time, the storyline is taking place in both modern-day Toronto and the and Ancient Mytica while the goddess Valoria is still alive. If you’ve read FK you know how different kingdoms worship different Goddesses – Limorans worship Valoria, and Auranians worship Cleiona. And maybe I missed it in FK but holy shit Valoria is literally so evil and it makes so much more sense that Limorans would worship her. In Mytica, this book takes place after Cleiona is murdered and people are being punished for having any sort of magical ability.
Similarly to FK, ABOSAT is following multiple characters storylines: Crystal Hatcher, Farrell Grayson, and Maddox Corso. Crystal Hatcher is one of those stereotypical, misunderstood teenage girls – she has blonde hair and light colored eyes. She wears those witty, pun-filled t-shirts, unfashionable black rimmed glasses, and walks around with a vintage Pentax camera. She has no desire to finish school and wants to become a photographer, totally artsy and hip.
Farrell Grayson is the typical rich boy born into a rich family. When I pictured Farrell I was actually thinking of Nate (aka Chase Crawford) from Gossip Girl. Super handsome and desirable but also weirdly unappealing? The more we delve into the storyline the more unappealing and gross Farrell became – he’s a snob, he’s cocky, he’s honestly a total dick. The deeper he got into the cult on Magnus King, the more cruel and heartless he became. And the thing is? I get he felt “middle child syndrome”, but when you compared his character from before the cult and after there’s not really that huge of a difference. I could honestly care less about what happens to him in the next book of this series.
Then we have Maddox Corso from Ancient Mytica – a teenage boy being abused by his scam-artist guardian, scamming rich Myticans into believing their homes are haunted. Quite honestly, for most of the book Maddox was a pretty weak character. He just seemed so “woe is me” “I’m cursed” “blah spirits forever” and it made him fairly underwhelming. Which is really unfortunate because he develops into a stronger character by the end of the book – huzzah character development! – but it doesn’t hold much interest.
Since Maddox does have a fun, spirit-summoning ability, this is where the two worlds combine. Within the first couple chapters, Crystal’s sister Becca touches a magical book in the family bookstore and is transported as a spirit to Ancient Mytica. In Mytica, she basically appears on Maddox’s doorstep and since he’s the only one who can see her, she forces him into helping her find her way back home. Because he can obviously do that.
One thing I’m kind of unsatisfied with was the amount of plot holes Rhodes left open. As one example, she was constantly talking about Farrell’s younger brother, Adam, joining the cult and the implications that followed. However about halfway through the book Adam kind of just disappears from the storyline and I really don’t understand the point of it. It almost seemed like an afterthought when she brought him back into the storyline – It didn’t make sense and left me feeling a little “what the hell?”. Also, there were some really weird and convenient plot twists that furthered Rhodes’s storyline agenda and I’m not too positive they worked well – a forced romance, a change of heart, revelations, etc. It was all a little convenient and I really don’t think they were necessary.
Regardless, I have always been a huge fan of Rhodes’s writing. She has a fantastic writing voice and knows how to draw in the reader. Other than my couple issues mentioned above and the semi-underwhelming characters, the book was pretty good. I seriously loved the mixing of Toronto and ancient Mytica, it was SO FREAKING COOL. The Toronto storyline felt like the love child of The Skulls and Nicholas Cage’s National Treasure movie. Both of which I love with a passion. Even though I gave it a 3.75/5, I would definitely recommend this book (as long as you read FK first!), and I will be picking up the next one.