Monday, November 19, 2018

FIRE & HEIST by Sarah Beth Durst

Rating: A-
Release Date: 12/4/2018
In Sky Hawkins's family, leading your first heist is a major milestone--even more so than learning to talk, walk, or do long division. It's a chance to gain power and acceptance within your family, and within society. But stealing your first treasure can be complicated, especially when you're a wyvern--a human capable of turning into a dragon.

Embarking on a life of crime is never easy, and Sky discovers secrets about her mother, who recently went missing, the real reason her boyfriend broke up with her, and a valuable jewel that could restore her family's wealth and rank in their community.

With a handpicked crew by her side, Sky knows she has everything she needs to complete her first heist, and get her boyfriend and mother back in the process. But then she uncovers a dark truth about were-dragon society--a truth more valuable and dangerous than gold or jewels could ever be.

My thoughts on the book:
Fire & Heist is a really cute and fluffy read. There isn't a whole lot of depth to the story, and the characters are pretty run-of-the-mill, but Sky's snark really saves this novel. I haven't read any of Durst's work before, but she has a strong voice as an author, though some of her world-building and descriptions were lacking. I got more than a few chuckles out of this story, though, and when I finished the book, I felt lighter than I had when I started it, so it is a good "pick me up" type of novel. 

Sky is a decent female lead. She's funny, a bit stubborn, and she has more depth than she gives herself credit for. She's a good weredragon, and she really cares about the people in her life. She's smart and witty, though a bit whiny at times. She came across as a real teenager, which is rare in YA novels these days. Ryan is a good love interest, and instead of being some broody, narcissistic, emotionally abusive jerk, he's actually a sweet guy. I appreciated Durst having a healthy relationship in her novel. Most of the secondary characters are cookie cutter... nothing really special about them. The dad won't listen to anything his daughter says. The three brothers are each some male prototype (one is overly built, one likes explosions, and one can't decide what he likes). The villain is like a cheesy comic book villain almost, but at least they didn't do a monologue. It's fine, though, because they aren't really the focus. Ryan and Gabriela (who is my favorite fictional person in the world now... I LOVE YOU, MY FELLOW RESEARCHER) are a lot more developed. Everyone grows throughout the course of the novel, so that's also a good thing. 

The plot twist surprised me a little, and then it took a sharp right. It made sense for the story, but it was a little jarring. The world-building and descriptions for this second setting didn't really paint a picture for me. I felt like I had a decent grasp of the first setting, but the second setting just didn't work at all. However, this is a standalone book, and I can't imagine trying to develop two worlds in one novel. The writing, aside from that, is pretty strong. The plot made sense, and there weren't really any holes. The humor is really what made this book. It was lighthearted and serious. It pointed out flaws in our society and in other societies, showing that nothing is perfect and we should always work to better ourselves and the world we live in. The ending was a happy one. The pacing is super fast, too, I flew through this one.

Overall, I'd recommend this novel to anyone who wants a light, fun read. It's an action-packed and fun-filled fantasy that promotes healthy relationships. It doesn't get much better than that.