Dance of Thieves by Mary E Pearson is a new novel in the New York Times–bestselling Remnant Chronicles universe, in which a reformed thief and the young leader of an outlaw dynasty lock wits in a battle that may cost them their lives—and their hearts.
When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes her the target of the dynasty’s resentment and anger. At the same time, Kazi, a legendary former street thief, is sent by the queen to investigate transgressions against the new settlements. When Kazi arrives in the forbidding land of the Ballengers, she learns that there is more to Jase than she thought. As unexpected events spiral out of their control, bringing them intimately together, they continue to play a cat and mouse game of false moves and motives in order to fulfill their own secret missions.
I was late the reading The Remnant Chronicles, having only picked them up to read in January of 2017; but after reading The Kiss of Deception, I quickly devoured the series. The Remnant Chronicles was a strong series, which seamlessly blended romance and adventure. Pearson created a magnificent piece of literature here, which examines human motivation, characters, political drive and individual emotion – and what’s more, Dance of Thieves certainly lived up to the expectations set by The Remnant Chronicles.
As always, let’s begin with the characters – Pearson writes characters with depth and heart, and you’ll find yourself falling for both Jase and Kazi. Pearson once again provides readers with powerful female figures, dashing male leads, and a cast of lovable side-characters and despicable antagonists. Kazi, Wren, and Synové are powerful, kickass female warriors serving the kingdom of Venda (and therefore, Queen Lia), hunting down a former foe of Lia’s – who just happens to have been sighted in Jase’s Ballenger empire. Jase and his family are equally formidable, holding onto power through cleverness and political prowess (and, when needed, brute force). For his part, Jase is an unsure but motivated new leader, eager to get his feet wet and prove himself. Meanwhile, Kazi is a former street-thief turned loyal member of the queen’s Rhatan (with a passionate devotion to her queen and her country – whom she will serve, no matter what the cost). These characters create an interesting juxtaposition with one another, while also reeling the reader in through their emotions, interactions, and humanity.
And the romance? Mary Pearson knows how to write good romance, there no doubt about that! The slow-burning romance between Kazi and Jase will leave readers turning pages as they hope for another chance to see the two collide. Personally, I really enjoyed the cat-and-mouse game between Kazi and Jase, and felt that it was not only an addition to the plot, but a critical piece of the puzzle – a fact which made their dance around one another all the more intriguing and poignant.
My biggest complaint is that the beginning of Dance of Thieves felt mostly like backstory on the two main characters, so it lagged a bit. However, once Kazi and Jase collide, things really take off! I did wish the pace was a bit snappier at other points in the book as well, but I can’t deny the richness of the world and the details put into the characters.
Overall, I genuinely enjoyed Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson. It had a character-driven story that centered on powerful themes of connection, motivation, and power. And honestly, if you enjoyed The Remnant Chronicles, you’ll love this one – from exposing royal conspiracies, to dangerous espionage and a slow-burning romance, Dance of Thieves has it all (4/5).