City of Saints and Thieves is a blend of a lot of genres that takes the readers on an intriguing ride. The story follows Tina and her mother who are both refugees from the Congo and have come all this way to seek a better life in Kenya. Tina’s mother finds employment as a maid for a powerful business Mr. Greyhill whose meddling in corruption and crime make him one of the most hated men in Kenya. It’s these allegations against Mr. Greyhill that makes Tina suspicious when she finds out that her mother has been murdered. It is after the death of her mother that Tina decides to join the Goondas, a prolific gang with hopes that it will help her seek revenge. Tina becomes a skilled thief and learns to live on her own in the streets. Slowly plotting her revenge towards Mr. Greyhill, Tina runs into the painful tidbits of her past that slows her plans. Without giving anything away, the story takes the reader into many twists and turns . We learn that there is more to the murder than meets the eye.
City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C Anderson
Natalie C. Anderson’s City of Saints and Thieves is a unique read to say the least. When I first stumble upon this book when I was researching new books for purchase, I was intrigued by the premise because I had not seen anything like it.
After reading the book, it’s definitely not The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl (sorry Goodreads). But rather its the girl with the dragon tattoo mixed with every other book in the world on mystery. I personally wouldn’t give this book to my middle grader readers, but a high schooler that is tired of reading the typical YA book. I was a huge fan of the writing style
Warcross by Marie Lu
Warcross by Marie Lu introduces the reader to the virtual reality of Warcross. In the same light of Ready Player One and Tron Legacy, Warcross is set in a post apocalyptic world where people are desperate to find somewhere to escape. They find solace in the world of Warcross, a virtual reality that is accessible through virtual reality goggles and those lucky enough are able to compete in the International Warcross Championship. Emika Chen is an orphan and a bounty hunter, who tracks down those that illegally bet on the game. She also happens to be a talented hacker that is quickly able to hack into Warcross, but she is afraid of what happens if the creators and regulators of Warcross find out. She is already on the edge because money is tight and money that she makes from bounty hunting and working at the diner are not enough to cover the rent. Emika also continues to be overtaken by memories of her father. Knowing that eviction and discovery is imminent, Emika is contacted by Hideo the creator of Warcross with an offer. Hideo needs Emika to serve as a spy for him inside the game. Now inside the game, Emika finds out that Warcross is full of threats that can impact Warcross as a whole. It’s Emika’s job to find a solution.
Unlike the City of Saint and Thieves, Marie Lu’s Warcross takes you on the ride of a lifetime. I was able to imagine the world of Warcross in my mind where technology and modernity intersect, but that still has a habit of leaving those with less behind. It’s a high stakes adventure that is similar to other Marie Lu books. I liked this book so much that I put this title on our Great New Reads for Teens book list in the fall, and our middle schoolers loved it as well.
And the winner is…
City of Saints and Thieves and Warcoss both have strong female characters that are playing on tragedies that happened to them. They are both anxious to find solutions to different issues, but their combined determination, bravery, and let’s face it stubbornness puts these two lead characters at the top. If I had to choose the best of the two, I would say Warcross hits the ball out of the park. It’s versatile, it’s full of adventure, and it’s Marie Lu. Of course Warcross doesn’t beat the Legend series or The Young Elites series, but it’s still a noteworthy title that even fans that don’t typically read science fiction are going to enjoy.