Eighteen-year-old Jemmie Carmichael has grown up surrounded by magic in the quiet town of Hawthorne, New York. In her world, magic users are called “kindled,” and Jemmie would count herself among them if only she could cast a simple spell without completely falling apart. It doesn’t help that she was also recently snubbed by Crowe, the dangerous and enigmatic leader of the Black Devils kindled motorcycle gang and the unofficial head of their turf.
When the entire kindled community rolls into Hawthorne for an annual festival, a rumour begins spreading that someone is practising forbidden magic. Then people start to go missing. With threats closing in from every side, no one can be trusted. Jemmie and Crowe will have to put aside their tumultuous history to find their loved ones, and the only thing that might save them is the very flaw that keeps Jemmie from fully harnessing her magic. For all her years of feeling useless, Jemmie may just be the most powerful kindled of all.
Description taken from Goodreads. I received an advance copy of this book, to be published October 3rd, 2017, via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.
A short list of the easily presentable clichés in Devils & Thieves:
- Jemmie was abandoned by her dad
- She’s angry at the world
- She has super special powers that put her in a singularly unique position to save everyone
- She conceals said powers because she doesn’t want to be a burden
- She’s still in love with but not in a relationship with her best friend’s older brother (double cliché)
- Best friend’s brother is dark and controlling
- Jemmie’s dating a boy who seems to be the exact opposite of her kinda-sorta ex
And a side note: the ending is all but completely stolen from Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses. The only difference is that it’s extremely watered down and makes zero sense because it lacks the emotional dedication ACOTAR’s readers had to the characters by the end of the novel.
There was nothing particularly new or exciting about this book, and that’s fine. Stories tend to get rehashed; I’ve pretty much come to terms with that. These days, I find myself focusing on the execution more than anything else, and fantastic premise is just a cherry on top. What I couldn’t reconcile about Devils & Thieves was that it didn’t have a theme, message, or audience.
I went into this one really hoping that it wouldn’t be another instalove, romance-fueled paranormal story. If you read YA paranormal at any measure, I think you know exactly what I’m talking about. I didn’t want another Beautiful Creatures; Hush, Hush; or the Mortal Instruments, but frankly, that would’ve been preferable to having nothing at all. The story didn’t take any risks or direct attention to any one aspect of itself.
If you’re a writer and you want to write a trashy romance or love triangle, do so. You’ll have an audience. Occasionally, I’ll even be in that audience.
If you want to write about gang violence and magic, do so. You’ll have an audience. Oftentimes, I’ll be in that audience.
But do not write something that’s meaningless or lacks entertainment value. Only Disney Channel originals can get away with that. I’m sure Jennifer Rush understands what I mean as I’ve heard great things about her other works. Even though her books are not necessarily the kind of stories at the top of my TBR pile, I know what they’re about, what they stand for, and who I could potentially recommend them to.
Overall, not enough. I wanted to be able to recommend this one, but I can’t, because there’s nothing of substance to it. The plot drags, the pacing is constant but always a few beats behind where it should be, and the characters didn’t inspire any love in me. Hoping to try more of Rush’s work in the future to see if its much better. If you’re looking for other books I would recommend, I’d definitely go for The Eighth Day (MG) and The Demon Trapper’s Daughter (YA). 1 star.