When I was contacted by the author to review this book I was immediately intrigued, it is namely not only a fantasy book, but it is also very diverse. Diverse fantasy is very rare and I love it. I’m really into diverse fantasy lately, I love it that often, compared to diverse contemporary books, it is not really about the things that makes it diverse, while it is often the main focus in contemporary (there’s nothing wrong with that, I love those books too).
The Thieves of Nottica by Ash Gray
In a world where humans are evil, invading aliens, Rigg is the youngest member of the Keymasters, a band of professional thieves who use their skills to defy an overbearing government known as the Hand. It is a world full of pollution, intrusive surveillance cameras, and injustice, where any who “give the finger to the Hand” are punished with death. The Keymasters are hired to steal a highly sought after treasure, but when one of their number is lost during the job, they find themselves the tools in a power play for said treasure — a mysterious lockbox that no one can open. To ultimately survive in the end, the Keymasters must battle their way through mechanical monsters, airships, and politics, literally going through shit (they travel through a sewage pipe) to make it out alive.
The book is about a group of thieves called the Keymasters, they are three women who are demons. They are not exactly demons, but that is what they were called by the humans. The story takes place in a futuristic but steampunk-ish world where the demons are oppressed by the humans that one took over their world. There are also automatons/humanoids and cyborgs, which is pretty cool. I really liked the worldbuilding in this book, there is this whole background about the world and the characters, which was very cleverly made.
The characters themselves were great. I loved especially Hari and Rigg a lot, and Lisa was just so sweet and naive, I adored them. Morganith is a badass woman who really speaks her opinion and I can always appreciate a character like that in a book. The relationships between the characters felt really mature, they had a long background together and you could really see that in the way they acted around each other. Lisa is the new addition to their crew but I loved how, once she gained her trust, she was completely accepted as one of theirs. I also loved the love story which was not a large part of the book, but added a lot to the story.
“I solemnly swear that every word I utter is a lie,” whispered Rigg unhappily.
Lisa tilted her head. “What was that?”
Hari glanced at Lisa with hesitation. “It’s the Keymaster oath,” she said with a sad smile. “Nell, Arda and me made it up when we first formed the group. See, the Keymasters aren’t just a bunch of wild bandits. We’ve got rules.”
What made this book stand out, for me, was the huge representation of diversity. All of the characters are in a way diverse. All of them had to deal with oppression, due to their physical attributions (being a demon and all :P), but they were also black, had varied sexual orientations and Morganith is disabled. There was representation of lesbian, asexual, intersexual and bisexual characters. This was actually the very first time I read about an asexual character in a book so I was super excited! (I identify as aromantic-asexual so YAYY)
“No matter how much you loved and respected me, it wouldn’t change society. You cannot change the world for me, Rigg.”
“I can sure as hell try.”
I am giving this book 4.25 stars (I’m breaking my own rules here, I only give half stars but oh well) because it was a lot of fun to read. One minor point was that due to the large amount of information you got in the beginning of the book it was a little hard to come into but once I did, I loved it. The characters and world were great and I loved the diversity!
The writer was so kind as to allow me to have a giveaway for this book. It’ll be an ebook, which I will send to you. It is a MOBI file which you can open on your Kindle but also on the free Kindle app, which means you can also read it on your phone or laptop or pretty much any device. If you’re interested in the book, enter below!
The giveaway will end on Monday July 3rd (and is obviously international :P)