When Digger is arrested and thrown in jail, she isn’t that surprised. She is a pickpocket after all. But it is interesting that the men who grabbed her knew that she was a girl though she was dressed in men’s clothing and that they were looking just for her. When she is put into prison, she is surprised to find that she’s been put in Lord Durrel Decath’s cell. He has been accused of poisoning his wife. This is the man who once saved her life, and so she sets to work with her thieving skills to set him free. As she searches for answers, she is drawn into the high society of their besieged city. The clues seem to lead to only more questions and new theories rather than answers in this politically charged, masterful mystery.
This second book after Star Crossed is just as elegantly plotted as the first. Bunce excels at creating a world that is familiar to readers but also unusual and unique. Throughout the book, magic is a theme. But in this world, it is reviled rather than embraced. Magic users are persecuted, imprisoned and even slaughtered. This forms the backbone of the story, the society itself, and our protagonist.
Digger is an amazing female protagonist. She is gutsy, strong, intelligent, and loyal. She never seems to be afraid of action or danger, making the entire story a delight to read since it is always moving quickly forward. The other characters are equally complex. There are women who appear to be flighty and dim, yet are something else entirely when their pretense is dropped. There are suspects who seem obvious but then melt away to innocence and others who are just the opposite.
This is a complex and intricate mystery set in a world that is equally compelling. Get this into the hands of fans of Tamora Pierce who will discover another amazing female protagonist to enjoy. Appropriate for ages 14-16.
Reviewed from ARC received from Scholastic.
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