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Friday, July 9, 2010

"Thief Eyes" by Jannie Lee Simner (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Janni Lee Simner's Official website Here
Read FBC's review of Bones of Fairie Here
Order Thief Eyes from Amazon Here

Overview: After her mother mysteriously disappears, sixteen-year-old Haley convinces her father to take her to Iceland, where her mother was last seen. There, amidst the ancient fissures and crevices of that volcanic island, Haley meets gorgeous Ari, a boy with a dangerous side who appoints himself her protector.

When Haley picks up a silver coin that entangles her in a spell cast by her ancestor Hallgerd, she discovers that Hallgerd's spell and her mother's disappearance are connected to a chain of events that could unleash terrifying powers and consume the world. Haley must find a way to contain the growing fires of the spell—and her growing attraction to Ari.

Format: Thief Eyes is a stand alone YA fantasy romance that involves the use of Icelandic myths and lore. It stands at 272 pages and was released April 27, 2010 by Random House Books for Young Readers.

Analysis: I was really impressed with Janni Lee Simner's debut novel of Bones of Fairie. It was a very impressive debut which wasn't overly long but just very poetic and new. So when I heard that the author was taking Icelandic folk lore and using it into a new novel I was anxious to see what would come of it.

Sometimes when an author has such a wonderful debut novel it can be hard to top it. Thief Eyeswhile an interesting novel, doesn't appear to have the innocence, wow factor, or plot elements that came along with the first novel.

Thief Eyes is heavily based upon Icelandic myths and lore. It's my guess that the majority of teens and many adults are not familiar with any of these lores. This created a bit of confusion because there are so many plot elements that are dependant upon these myths. Without understanding the background story it was hard to understand who characters were, or what was being referenced. This was a major short fall of the book and lead to the pacing to feel off. It is an unique choice of myth to write about and I hope that it inspires readers to look into the folk tales, but it would have been helpful to have a little bit of background on it.

The other elements of the book just didn't seem to add up as well as I had expected. Thief Eyes is very much a romance novel with a touch of magic involved. For that reason the romance between Ari and Haley is forced onto the reader. It felt unnatural and forced to fit the story which made it hard to relate to the rest of the story.

The pacing of the novel also felt off. There was a lot of lengthy paragraphs that describes emotions, feelings, or descriptions of Iceland, that tend to lead the reader to believe that not much is happening throughout the novel. There isn't much action or anything to really draw the reader into the novel until the last fourth of the novel. The events that do happen within the first part of the book tend to be a bit confusing and hard to follow for a reader.

Although there are a few short comings of the book. Janni Lee Simner's writing talent is still very evident. The descriptions and emotions that are described are very lyrical in writing and show case what talent she has.

Fans of Jannie Lee Simner will definitely enjoy this novel. Anyone that enjoys the use of folk lore or Iceland setting will enjoy the use of these elements in this novel.

While Simner has great talent and tried to undertake such a huge task of using Icelandic lore in a novel. However it got lost in the fact that it isn't widely known and wasn't explained as well as it could have been. Maybe it was my expectations of the first novel or my lack of knowledge of the folk lore but I wasn't as impressed with Thief Eyes as I would have liked.


Booker said...

"gorgeous" and "dangerous" and "protect her" were enough code words to warn me off.

no thanks...

Cindy said...

The description is a typical YA "paranormal" romance novel book blurb.

Aren't all guys in YA books gorgeous with a dangerous side?


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