Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Sarah Ahiers
Thief's Cunning by Sarah Ahiers is the companion novel to Assassin's Heart, set eighteen years later. Allegra is raised by Lea Saldana, her aunt, as an assassin. Feeling caged in, Allegra is excited to go to Lovero, where Lea was raised. Lovero is exciting and everyone revels at night, however, Allegra learns of her true heritage while there: she is a Da Via. She is half Saldana and half Da Via. All her life she wanted to know about her heritage, but finding out that she is from the rival Family was not what she wanted. Seeking solace in a traveler boy, she reveals a family heirloom which causes the traveler people to kidnap her. Taken to Mornia, home of the travelers, she struggles to shake off another cage, but soon learns to find her place with Nev, the traveler she slept with. She eventually learns that love is a type of cage, but if you choose who you love, you can still be free.
This story was a step into an interesting world. The Families and locations of the story are clearly influenced by Italy and the Mafia. The struggle of the author is to make assassins out would-be heroes, but she does this by saying that they are servants to their goddess of death. Meanwhile, the travelers (i.e. gypsies) serve three gods, and the story focuses on Allegra's choice to remain faithful to her own goddess, but still find her own way in the world. While some parts of the story were written poorly, such as Allegra holding her tongue for so long around Lea even though she knew the truth of her heritage, the entire world that Ahiers has created draws readers in so thoroughly that they will not notice some of the character's inconsistencies. Overall, it was an enjoyable read.
*Contains moderate sexual content and moderate violence.