City of Saints & Thieves

City of Saints & Thieves

by Natalie C. Anderson

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City of Saints & Thieves 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
LittleFoxAndReads More than 1 year ago
This book was a big surprise. I knew I’d like it after reading the synopsis, but it was far more enjoyable than I expected. The writing is pretty darn good for a debut author and Tina is a protagonist that you’ll immediately fall in love with. She just felt so real and to top it all of: she’s badass. She has a quite intensity and she’s smart. Also, she’s a very talented thief of one of Sangui City’s gangs. Tina is Congolese, but she and her mother came to Kenya as refugees. Her mother never mentions their past life and Tina has no idea who her mother really is. Because of that their relationship is a bit strained. When her mother is murdered, Tina sets out to find the killer and exact revenge. I would say that this book has two parts. The first half is set in Kenya where Tina is working for the Goondas (thief gang) while setting her plan of revenge in motion. The second half mostly takes place in Congo, Tina’s home country, where she delves into her mother’s past in hopes of finding the killer and their motive. The author did a good job with the setting; the cities and villages were depicted in rich detail and the perfect amount of tension is invoked when needed, which made her writing almost atmospheric. I liked all the side characters are interesting; they’re all complex and intriguing. There are no ‘good’ and ‘bad’ characters. The synopsis doesn’t even begin to describe what this book is about. Things go unexpectedly dark later on. It goes deep into crime and corruption that is the reality of many African countries, and the harsh lives of women caught in the midst. Overall, an intense and fast-paced read that kept me on edge throughout. The fact that it was set in Kenya and the amazing set of POC characters won me over from the beginning, and the mystery kept me latched on to the pages till the very end. An easy 5-star for me. TRIGGER WARNINGS : • Kidnap and Rape
Shawscribbles More than 1 year ago
I loved this book primarily because it was SO different from other young adult books on the market. Tina is an intriguing character. She's tough but sensitive and she's been through hell. It is easy to root for her success in her desire to avenge her mother's death (and to believe she can actually pull it off). Anderson transports the reader to a variety of settings from the streets of Kenya to the Congo. Tina leads us on a thrilling adventure that will have you biting your nails and questioning whether she really knows what the truth of her story is. The book ends with a finale worthy of Hollywood. Highly recommend - a must read!
Aditi-ATWAMB More than 1 year ago
If I could describe City of Saints and Thieves in one word, if would be haunting. Set in Africa, this book captures the raw, honest and pained voice of a teenage refugee planning her revenge for her mother’s murder so perfectly, it’ll leave you stunned and desperate for more. If I’m being honest, I didn’t even EXPECT to love this book so much – the powerful voice, the backdrop and the plot ensnared me and left me wanting either a sequel, 200 extra pages in the book or ANYTHING else that the lovely Natalie Anderson writes. Let’s go more into detail: WRITING: Like I said above, the writing in this book was EXCEPTIONAL. Natalie Anderson managed to create the pain and determination in one teenage refugee’s voice so perfectly, that I could feel it through the page, all the way in India. I’ve never read a good book set in Africa before, much less one from a refugee’s POV but HOLY CRAP did this book do a good job of everything it took on. IDEA: As I found out in the end of the book, the author worked with refugees in Kenya first hand, making her well-equipped people to tell the world their stories. I loved the revenge and mystery tied up in this book, stark against in’s authentically African background – all the way from Sangui to the villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I loved that this book was a murder mystery that also managed to capture the violence and war of the place it was set in, making them both equally important. PLOT: While the idea for the book was good, the execution was even better. Just as I started feeling annoyed that Tina was stuck in the same place in Sangui, Natalie Anderson upped and moved the book to a whole different atmosphere and I loved it. The plot, especially how Tina unravels her mother’s secrets is SO GORGEOUSLY done. She’s this headstrong character finding out that she didn’t know some of the most important things about the woman who brought her into this world and the journey I took with her was absolutely heart-breaking. The only think that I felt could have been better was the ending. City of Saints and Thieves ended in this guns blazing thing that felt like something straight out of a third rate action movie. The rest of the book had me on the edge of my seat, unsure about what would happen but as soon as the guns came out and the helicopter, I knew the ending from a mile away. CHARACTERS: If I haven’t praised Tina enough already, I absolutely HAVE to say that I LOVED HER SO MUCH. Her voice was so powerful, it was one of the first things I noticed about this book. She was in pain and yet so strong and trust me, if you read this book you’ll fall in love with her too. I really liked Boyboy and Michael too. They were awesome sidekicks, but I find myself wishing that the three of them were equals and not sidekicks to Tina. They did have some great qualities, they were just drowned out by Tina’s light. CONCLUSION: Obviously, if the FIVE star rating didn’t already tell you, THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING. I honestly expected to like it, but not fall in love with it as much as I am right now. A wonderful, truthful and powerful book that you simply shouldn’t miss if you call yourself a reader.
sheltisebastian More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this story. I love you Tina!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting and satisfying young adult murder mystery. Good female lead character.
silverfox518 More than 1 year ago
This was basically a perfect book for me. I loved it. I enjoyed the action and adventure, the credible characters, the fast paced plot, and fictional Sangui City. I could feel this book as I was reading it. I could see everything happening so clearly. There was also a splash of romance in there for a little bite of "Awww" if you needed it. I was engaged til the very end and was sad when it did end because I wanted to read more. The upside was that the ending had a twist I didn't see coming. I appreciated that. Also, the book jacket was beautiful! One of the best I've seen in a while, and I really liked the raw edge pages too. Very cool. As for characters, Tina was a wonderfully complex, strong and inspiring heroine. I'd read more stories about her any day. My guilty pleasure was BoyBoy. He was TOO MUCH and I adored him! Additionally, I liked the fact that the author didn't shy away from the dark, difficult and brutal facets of war torn Africa. Life isn't a fairy tale and all stories shouldn't be told as one. In conclusion, I will eagerly await for the movie to come out :) I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves to read books about great adventures and thrilling suspense in foreign lands comprised of dynamic and strong characters. READ THIS BOOK!
MsArdychan More than 1 year ago
An Action-packed mystery that kept me guessing! When I first received this book from the Random House First In Line program, I wasn't sure if I wanted to read a murder mystery. I hadn't read that many mysteries before, but I have just now started to read quite a few of them, so I gave it a go. I am so appreciative that I did. This book was entertaining, scary, and took me to a world I knew nothing about. What I Liked: Setting: This book is set in the countries of Kenya, and Congo, Africa. Sadly, I really don't know enough about this part of the world beyond the fact that there is unimaginable suffering there due to never ending wars. The author clearly knew this place well and was able to convey not only the desperation of certain parts, but also the immense beauty. She captures what is obvious, that in every place there are 1000 little dramas going every day. Real people populate these countries with a plethora of experiences. The book alternates between the privileged enclaves of business executives in Kenya, to the rough streets of Sangui City, to the lush countryside of Congo. Each place was brought to life with vivid details. Characters: The main characters, Tina and Michael, are from different social groups. Tina's mother was a servant in Michael's household, where the two of them became childhood friends. This all changed with the murder of Tina's mother, and the realization (as they became teens) that Michael's Dad and Tina's Mom were lovers. I love how resilient Tina is and how she never gives up. She has to think on her feet in order to survive now as an orphan. But she is not perfect. She has embraced an idea that Michael's dad murdered her mom, and she has nurtured her revenge for years. But could she be wrong? Also, she underestimates people and doesn't question their motives until it is too late. She also writes Michael off as a spoiled rich kid. Michael certainly lives in a bubble, but he is also a conflicted character struggling with how to reconcile his privilege with what his father may be doing illegally. Did Michael's dad kill Tina's mom to keep her quiet? Michael must uncover the truth. The adult characters mostly acted in their own self interest. With the exception of a nun, there really weren't any adults who were trustworthy in this book. However depressing this was, these characters were presented as complicated individuals who each had questionable moral compasses guiding their actions. Given how difficult life can be, can we really judge them? In regards to how they affected the kids in the story I vacillated between outrage and acceptance. Story: The mystery of who killed Tina's mother (and why) is wonderfully complex. One of the reasons I usually do not read mystery books is because often it is either too easy to figure out who did it, or it is wildly too hard. This book had the right mix of presenting the clues and keeping me guessing. What I Was Mixed About: Triggers: I will say that sometimes this book was difficult to read, given what I do know of what women experience in war-torn nations. I worried that female characters would be raped in the story. I cared about Tina so much, I didn't want anything bad to happen to her! While there were references to sexual violence, the details were not so vivid that I got nightmares. But some people who have triggers for sexual violence, may want to steer clear of this book.
Reading_With_Cupcakes More than 1 year ago
City of Saints & Thieves is definitely not one of those books that I tend to gravitate to normally, but that is a good thing! This year I told myself that I would do my best at reading more diversely and this book is definitely assisting me with that goal! This story takes place in Kenya. Our main character is Tina aka Little Girl. Tina is a member of the local gang called the Goonda's. She steals things for them. And I don't mean she just pick pockets people on the street, she breaks into highly fortified locations that should be next to impossible to get into. Of course, she doesn't do the jobs alone. She has a team behind her being her eyes and ears. BoyBoy who is not a Goonda handles all the technology stuff and hacks into things when Tina needs him to. Bug Eye is the guy in charge. And there is Ketchup. He is...well he is Ketchup. Tina doesn't really trust him, but he comes in handy as extra back up on jobs. However, Tina's life was not always this way. Tina and her mother were refugees from Congo. Her mother found a place to work with a well to do family in a rich neighborhood. Her mother eventually had another daughter, whose father just happened to be the man that Tina's mother worked for. But over all, everything seemed to be going well for them and life was more or less just fine and dandy. Until Tina's mother was murdered. Tina, being pretty sure she knew who murdered her mother, took her sister and ran. She got her sister set up with the Nuns and in school with them and then took off. She never strayed far from her sister though, she felt she owed it to her mother to stick around and make sure that her sister was always safe and taken care of. It is during her time on the streets that she found her way into the Goonda's and her calling as a thief. There is no better motivation to become one of the best thieves out there if it means you can have revenge on your mothers murderer after all. And it is when she breaks into the house that her mother used to work at, where she used to live, that this story starts. It really does start off with quite a bang. Pulling you directly into the story. Action right from the get go. I really appreciated the characters too. Especially Tina. Often times we don't truly get a strong female lead, but here in City of Saints & Thieves we do. She is not one for apologizing and stepping aside. She is the kind of girl that is going to fight for what she needs/wants/believes in. And it is quite refreshing to have a character like this. Also, while some of the locations of the story are made up, I believe we are still getting a glimpse as to what life is really like for those in Kenya, especially refugees. I know not all end up in gangs etc...but I do think this book is allowing those of us who have never had the chance to go to places that these locations are influenced by to see what life can be like there. Does it tell me everything I should know about Kenya and the hardships they face? Does it tell me everything I need to know about the refugees from Congo? No, it does not. But it does give us readers a glimpse though, and what we choose to do with the glimpse is up to us. City of Saints & Thieves has strong characters and lots of intrigue and mystery. Definitely not one to miss. This review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone. Find more of my reviews her
Heather_Maclean More than 1 year ago
What a brilliant book! I was hooked from the first page. There is so much to love about this book starting with the MC: an orphaned refugee girl who fled the Congo for a bustling city in Kenya. Christina "Tiny Girl" is fierce, vulnerable, determined, conflicted, and beautifully written. It's easy to climb into her skin, no matter who you are as a reader, which is the point of great fiction. While the book is marketed as "Gone Girl" meets "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (which, to be honest, had me bracing for violent and sexually graphic scenes that thankfully never materialized), and there is a murder mystery at the heart of it, I found CITY OF SAINTS & THIEVES reminded me more of "Sold" by Patricia McCormick, and "Forge" by Laurie Halse Anderson in that it was an exquisite journey into the mind and body of a teenager in a harrowing situation that is all too true but not often talked about. This should be required reading for American high schoolers. The book itself is so clever and so well-written, it was an absolute joy to read--even though it's about a really intense subject. An example of Anderson's lovely prose: "The sun hadn't yet cut through the haze, and the garden had milky edges. Iridescent sunbirds shoot through the mist, flinging themselves from flower to flower. I lean against the balcony railing for a minute, looking out, feeling the damp and chill of the night rising from the ground."* And: "They all have their own little monsters caged up inside them. Furies that urge them toward blood. Scaly, clawed things that were born in that moment when the world went so wrong that anything was possible."* As much as I think teens will love it, I think adults will too. It would be a perfect Oprah Book Club pick, and should scoop up every major book award this year. Finally, a huge hats off to the author for giving a voice to the voiceless. While not a refugee herself, Natalie C. Anderson spent a decade working with the United Nations on refugee relief and development in Africa. Thank you, Natalie, for your service and for sharing stories that need to be told. *quoted from an ARC