Review – City of Thieves by Ellen Renner

Last week we brought you our review of castle of Shadows, so now onto the sequel, out this month, City of Thieves..

City of Thieves – Ellen Renner

“The final shock of it hit home. The Petches were thieves, and they had stolen him.” Tobias is on the run. From the father who betrayed him…from the mother who couldn’t comfort him…from his own desperate fear. But when he falls into the clutches of his uncle’s sinister gang of thieves, his fear grows. And soon Toby realises, his nightmare has only just begun…” (from Goodreads)

City of Thieves starts some time after Castle of Shadows ends, and the whole of Quale are gathered together to watch the hanging of Alistair Windlass. Charlie is now Queen of Quale, and is stuck in the Castle with her mother, the Dowager Queen.  But soon the people find out their most wanted criminal has escaped, and Tobias Petch vows to leave the Castle and find him, no matter what it takes. However, he doesn’t get very far before his uncle Zebediah forcibly recruits him into “the Family”, and Tobias must learn the trade of thieving in order stay alive.

I absolutely loved City of Thieves, so much so that I was reading it until three in the morning. Like its predecessor, this book is thrilling and exciting and its treacherous characters will keep you guessing and on your toes. This time, the book centres around Tobias instead of Charlie, and Tobias has to do a lot of growing up in a short space of time. He experiences a lot of pain and confusion that we as readers can easily relate to, and he feels guilty for the way he left the Castle, and for the fact that he is helping his bullying uncle to steal and commit more crime. But he is also desperate to escape, and is willing to use whatever means necessary to do so. He even tries to bribe his cousin Ambrose, but ends up causing more trouble.

I really grew to like Tobias in this book, and he has become my favourite character. Put in his situation, I would have no idea what to do and so I think he acts very bravely and tries to do the best he can.  He doesn’t get to interact much with Charlie in this book, which I missed, but he meets a lot of new people and it’s great to see how he gets along with all his cousins, especially Ambrose, the youngest of them all.  The villains in this book are some of my favourites; Alistair Windlass is one of those characters whose motives are always hidden, someone you can never quite work out, but Uncle Zebediah is the opposite; he tells you what he wants and then he goes out and gets it, knocking down anything in his way. Both are tyrannous and cause Tobias a lot of anguish that he struggles to deal with throughout the book.

In conclusion, City of Thieves is a book that should be read by anyone and everyone, and the cliff-hanger type ending leaves me eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.

Thanks, Liz. Ellen’s our ‘author in residence’ this month, so read the books and then ask her anything you like in our forum or on our Facebook page.