City of Saints & Thieves Review

I’ve read some great YA thrillers this year, but this book was really on a level all its own. It is original with phenomenal character development and a rich setting. I truly cannot recommend this book highly enough!


Wine Pairing

City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

Since so much of this book is driven by Tina’s burning need to get revenge upon the man who killed her mother, I paired City of Saints & Thieves with this Vengeance Red Zinfandel.

*All wine recommendations are strictly for those of legal drinking age only.*


The Nitty Gritty

  • Title: City of Saints & Thieves
  • Author: Natalie C. Anderson
  • Publisher: Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
  • Pub Date: January 24, 2017
  • Pages: 401

Goodreads Description


33956433.jpgThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya.

In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.
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My Review

five-stars

I absolutely loved this book. The story itself was enthralling, the characters were complex and wonderfully developed, and the setting is so vivid. It jumps right off the pages to envelope you.

Tina was a fantastic main character. She has a dark and fascinating backstory that you get to learn more and more about as the story progresses. Her motivations are clear and absolutely believable. She is tough as nails, having learned to transform her physical weaknesses into strengths that make her a vital component to local gang the Goondas. Despite the hard exterior that she’s constructed over the years, she’s a loyal and loving character. Definitely the type of character that you will be rooting for from page one.

There is also a fantastic cast of characters around Tina, from her sister, to her childhood friend Michael, to her fellow Goonda members. They’re all well-developed and intriguing, even when Anderson only mentions them very briefly.

I felt that the murder mystery elements of this book were beautifully done, partly because this story very authentically felt like a couple of teenagers trying to solve a murder. They’re admittedly brilliant and capable teenagers, but they very much felt like they’re actually the age they are supposed to be in this novel. I think that can be a hard thing to maintain in a murder mystery novel.

I also loved the pacing of the story. Each new discovery is timed perfectly so as to continuously pull the reader in and keep them guessing.

This is such a brilliant debut for Natalie C. Anderson. I’m so excited to see what she comes out with next, and I also cannot wait to watch City of Saints & Thieves when it hits the big screen!

 


Cover Rating

five-stars

There are so many great book covers coming out this year, but this is one of my favorites. I love the color scheme and the pattern, and the image of Tina is just exactly how I pictured her when reading the novel. It’s really quite stunning.


Swoon Worthiness

three-stars

While there is a bit of a romance going on in this novel, but this is much more about Tina’s journey and the murder mystery elements of the plot. That does not at all detract from the story. In this story, it serves to demonstrate Tina’s comfortability in her own skin and her independence.


Signed Books!

I was lucky enough to meet Natalie during the recent Penguin Teen Tour, and I absolutely loved the way she personalized her tagline in my book. I definitely laughed out loud when I read it.


About Natalie C. Anderson

2339086Natalie C Anderson is an American writer and international development professional based in Geneva, Switzerland with her husband. You can also sometimes find her in the mountains of North Carolina or Nairobi, Kenya. She’s spent the last decade working NGOs and the UN on refugee issues around the world, mainly Africa.

Natalie has a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in International Studies, African Studies and Political Science, and received her MSc from the University of Oxford in Forced Migration.

Natalie was selected as the 2014-2015 Associates of the Boston Public Library Children’s Writer-in-Residence. She is represented by Faye Bender, of The Book Group.
Her debut YA novel, CITY OF SAINTS AND THIEVES will be published in January, 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Random House.


Have you read City of Saints & Thieves yet? Have you read any other YA novels set in Africa? What are some of your favorite debut novels of 2017 so far?

23 Comments Add yours

  1. Azia says:

    I’d been wondering about this one! I love the color scheme of the cover as well. It’s just so striking. And the concept for this book is really unique. It’s great to hear that the author executed her story and characters so well! I’m really looking forward to picking this book up one day, hopefully sometime this year. It seems extremely promising. Great review! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YAandWine says:

      I REALLY enjoyed it. Is is a great cover for a great book. I hope that you’re able to read this one. It’s definitely worth it! Thank you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is your first review I’ve read and I love it! It’s so fun how you pair the book with a bottle of wine!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YAandWine says:

      Oh, thank you so much! I really appreciate that. The wine pairings are a lot of fun to do. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. TeacherofYA says:

    Glad you liked it and now I am kicking myself for trading it! 😂😂😂
    But I got The Glass Arrow, which I love!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YAandWine says:

      Oh, no! Well, at least you love the book you traded it for. You can always still read it later too.

      Like

  4. otakutwins1 says:

    I loved the pacing of this book too😊I can’t wait to see it when it becomes a movie it’s going to be so intense but good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YAandWine says:

      I’m so glad you liked it too! I really thought the pacing and characterization were so well done. I can’t wait for the movie either, especially knowing that Kerry Washington has signed on.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oooooh, I love a good fast paced story, and this seems to be perfect. I’m super intrigued now and while this book had been on my radar, I’m definitely going to have to pick it up now. Wonderful review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YAandWine says:

      Thanks so much, Mandy! It really is a great book. Definitely a little outside what I usually read, but that’s a good thing in this case!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. ezinwanyi13 says:

    That wine would be perfect with Spartacus Vengeance 😀
    Good review

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YAandWine says:

      Ooh, I’ll have to check that wine out. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Glad to hear you loved it! I need to read this one. I’ve been seeing it around a lot lately.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. YAandWine says:

      Thanks, Megan! I’m sure it’s going to be around a lot now that it has such a big movie deal.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Beware Of The Reader says:

    Fantastic review! It really seems an interesting one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YAandWine says:

      It really is. I love that it’s set in Eastern Africa. You don’t see a lot of that in books in general, and it’s really refreshing.

      Like

  9. Nicole the bibliophile says:

    Awesome review, just came across this book today! glad you liked it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YAandWine says:

      Thanks so much! I think this book is going to be getting a lot of buzz in the near future with that movie coming out. I can’t wait to watch it. Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This one is on my TBR list! Heard great things about it. Glad to see you enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YAandWine says:

      Oh, awesome! I hope you enjoy it!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. YAY! I am so glad you liked it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YAandWine says:

      Yes, LOVED it! 🙂

      Like

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