Thieves at Heart

Rated 4.50/5 based on 2 reviews
As an orphaned half-elf in a city of humans Tavera lives in a world where she doesn't belong - until a cunning thief named Derk catches her trying to steal from him and takes her on as his apprentice.

Thievery comes easy to Tavera but Derk soon becomes more than a mentor - he is the first family she's ever known - and the lessons of a father are much more difficult to learn. More
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About Tristan J. Tarwater

Tristan J. Tarwater is a writer of fantasy, comics and RPG bits. Her titles include The Valley of Ten Crescents series, Shamsee: A Fistful of Lunars and Reality Makes the Best Fantasy. She has also worked for both Pelgrane Press and Onyx Path.

Born and raised in NYC, she now considers Portland, OR her home. When she's not making stuff up, she is usually reading a comic book, cooking delicious meals for her Spouse and Small Boss or petting one of her two cats. Her next RPG character will most definitely be an elf.

Also in Series: The Valley of Ten Crescents

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Review by: Alysa H on Sep. 24, 2014 :
This has some interesting world-building and characters, and very inventive language. But having read the short-story prequel "Little Girl Lost", I was expecting... more? This book does make good on its rather feminist promise to have the development of its protagonist, Tavera, at its core -- "the development of a young woman... as a story all its own" -- but it does so at the expense of a strong narrative arc. There just isn't much plot, isn't much to drive the story forward, and so I found myself adrift at times.

The story concerns Tavera being trained as a thief from a very early age, by her adoptive father, Derk. We see a lot of their warm relationship, which is nice, but we don't see much of the thievery, or at least not anything that feels like it raises the stakes. Mostly Tavera just wanders around towns on her own and interacts with various townspeople. There also isn't a strong sense of timing, so one doesn't know how old Tavera is at any given point in the story beyond the broad categories of 'child' vs 'adolescent', and this makes it a little difficult to place her behaviors, and the behaviors of others towards her, in context.

I'm glad that there are more books set in this world, though. This is clearly a first novel, but one that shows great promise and budding talent.
(review of free book)

Review by: Maria Violante on Dec. 10, 2011 :
Thieves at Heart, by Tristan J. Tarwater, is a skillfully written, well-pondered fantasy memoir-of-sorts, following the rescue and coming of age of a young female thief by the name of Tavera. Please note that given some of the language and situations involved, it’s not appropriate for children or most young adults.

My complaints with the book were few. At times, the writing gets a little unwieldy – uber-long sentences and the occasional awkward passage. Some of the transitions are clumsy. And yup, that’s about it. Grammatically, the book is quite sound, and as far as the writing goes, it’s fairly superb – excellent consistency of POV, enthralling (and often cute) inner dialogues, bright pinches of humor and action.

Tarwater creates a fantasy world that is rich and complex, a “similar to ours” place that has been well-thought out enough to include things like a goddess-centered religion and a variety of card games. (Squee, I want to learn to play some of these!) You can really smell the dirt and feel the breeze.

The characters are well-drawn, well-rounded, and as a result, well-loved – although perhaps none so loved as Tavera, the protagonist, as it really is her story. We watch her grow up through her own eyes, blooming from a child pickpocket into an accomplished young woman of a thief, as she struggles with the same things that many of us dealt with growing up – abandonment, morality, achievement, loyalty.

Overall Rating: 4.6 Stars. Although not my usual cup of tea, the book was engaging, entertaining, well-written, and heartwarming. I hope for a review copy of the next in the series!
(review of free book)

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