Book Banter: Thieftaker Chronicles

Titles: Thieftaker, Thieves’ Quarry, A Plunder of Soulsthieftaker-chronocles

Author: D.B. Jackson

Length: ~325 pages each

Genre: Historical, urban fantasy

Where Bethany’s Copies Came From: The Indianapolis Public Library

Plot Basics: In pre-Revolutionary War Boston, Ethan Kaille is a thieftaker and a conjurer. Being a thieftaker puts him at odds with Sephira Pryce who has the local business of finding stolen goods under her control. Being a conjurer puts him at odds with society and the church who fear his unnatural arts. But as crimes and unrest haunt the city of Boston, Ethan will go up against Sephira and society to keep his city — and his friends — safe.

Banter Points: Since fifth-grade and reading Johnny Tremain, I have loved Revolutionary War stories and I was thrilled to get to go on vacation to Boston this summer to see these places first hand.I also love urban fantasy/mystery books (ala the Dresden Files). The Thieftaker Chronicles combine these two things in a great read.

Kaille gets cases that are often out of his depth, both as a thieftaker and a conjurer. But, that forces him to evaluate them differently, seeing through the twists and turns. For the times, he’s mostly apolitical, which also lets him move back and forth between loyalist residents and the Sons of Liberty. One of the factors I really like about these books as urban fantasy is that there is only magic — no vampires, zombies, fairies or other critters mucking up the landscape. It’s solid detective work with magic showdowns in a political landscape.

Bummer Points: I think it’s got to be hard to write a series with magic or a fighter all the time because they run out of moves, or the writer runs out of ways to describe them. After three books, I know what Ethan’s spell repertoire is, the same way I know Harry Dresden’s (Fuego!) or that Jack Reacher will invariably head-butt someone in the course of 300-some pages. Since I read all three in fairly short order, I got tired of Ethan’s repetitive use of the same spells, but I’m not sure I would have noticed this if I’d read them with more space in between.

Word Nerd Recommendation: A thumbs-up for this series overall, especially for urban fantasy fans who want a twist on the genre. This Nerd is looking forward to the next one, for sure.

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