by Elizabeth Bunce
Opening: “I couldn’t think. My chest hurt from running, and I wasn’t even sure I was in the right place.”
Digger is a thief, an outsider in a world where politics and religion are inextricably linked and danger is always lurking around the corner. When her partner in crime gets caught by the frightening Greenmen, she finds herself entangled with a motley crew of young aristocrats. Things quickly become a lot more serious, however, especially when Digger is blackmailed into stealing from her hosts.
I really loved this book! I wasn’t that wild about Bunce’s first book, A Curse as Dark as Gold, but this one was beautiful. One of the most amazing and lovely things about it was the mix of religion and politics. So often books that talk about these two issues, especially in conjunction, become overly preachy. But here I never felt pushed. I think part of that is because neither religion seems too much like Christianity. Anyway, Bunce did a marvellous job of creating an intricate world that seemed real without seeming like it was simply a mouthpiece for her own opinions.
Digger is also a fascinating character. And yes, I’m going to say it: she reminded me of Gen. Not entirely, of course, but in a lot of significant ways. She’s a thief, but she has a conscience. She’s sneakier than you realize at first. She has a complicated family history.
There are hints of a possible romance too, which I am TOTALLY IN FAVOR OF. Please, please, please let it happen! And this is a book that I’m happy to see is the start of a series (sometimes I finish a book and then hear that there’s going to be a second one and think, REALLY? Not here).
In short, this a book that’s smart and funny and interesting, with fascinating characters and a great heart.
Book source: public library
Book information: Arthur Levine, 2010; YA
Remember what I said in the Mistwood bit about fantasy books with politics? It applies here as well, with the added bonus of a main character who reminded me of Eugenides and a spot of possible but quite understated romance. Yaaaaay. AND it’s the first book in a series. [2010 in books]