So, for the few of you who read this blog, I promised you a discussion article on the word “said” this Friday. Unfortunately, that article didn’t get written… so I’m bringing you a review of the steampunk novel The Diamond Thief instead! And hopefully that article will be out on Tuesday. ;)
Without further ado…
I did not have high hopes for this book.
I mean, look at that cover. I may be the odd one out, but I am not attracted to the cover style that is supposed to appeal to the YA audience. And at first glance, that was definitely what this looked like. A female model dominating the cover in a full-length pose to show off her dress of bygone eras, a coy look in her eye, slapped onto fuzzy background with nothing to catch my interest.
Trash, my brain said.
I was pleasantly surprised.
This book reads like something I would have been assigned for literature in middle school — which is a compliment, since my school curriculum was generally the quality pick of the crop. I would have loved it then, and I love it now.
The Diamond Thief is a steampunk novel set in Victorian London. I found the historical aspect charming and reasonably accurate, and the steampunk element subtle but interesting. Quite honestly, this is my first experience with steampunk, but if they’re all like this book, give me more.
We kick off with Rémy Brunel, a French trapeze artist, and Thaddeus Rec, a young officer of Scotland Yard. At first glance, the lives of these two seem like they should barely touch, much less impact one another. And then you realize that Rémy is the Diamond Thief… and Thaddeus is the Law.
I was in by this point. So in. I wanted to see how Rémy’s survival, street-smart mindset played off Thaddeus’ admirable sense of honor and morality, and how on earth they were going to get a reconciliation, but oh, I was not expecting the next twist.
Two words: false accusation
And it’s not what you think.
I love the characters. Rémy is tough and sweet and genuine, still a girl for all her experience and hard knocks. Her pertness and adorable accent won me over, but her motivations — she wants to do all the wrong things for the right reasons — made me root for her. Thaddeus is precious and I want to hug him. The growing attraction between them starts off a little fast-paced, but it’s balanced out by their personal growth and a few more wrenches thrown in later. Besides, by the end it felt more like platonic affection, with a tinge of uncertain romance, which was fine by me.
Glancing over reviews on Goodreads, I found people complained about The Diamond Thief being juvenile. But that’s just the appeal of it. It’s not a heavy book — nobody could call it that. It is a fun, adventuresome book where the stakes are clear but not insultingly simple, and the characters are memorable, dynamic people with proper growth arcs. It’s a book you’d pick up if you were feeling like something fast-paced and cozy.
Besides, the ending left me wanting the sequel. Now that’s what I call a good book. I haven’t had the chance to check back at the library yet, but mark my words, it’s going to happen soon.
Read the original review on Goodreads here: