City of Saints and Thieves
By Natalie C. Anderson
Summary: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya.
In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.
With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.
Source: I purchased a hardcover.
I absolutely loved City of Saints and Thieves. The synopsis sounded great and the added bonus was that it could complete the category in the 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge for book that has an immigrant or refugee. I love when I can stumble on books to fit categories I don’t read often rather than forcing myself to read a book for the sake of fitting the category at the end of the year.
The main character sucked me in with her narration about the rules of being a successful thief. She was a refugee from Congo living in Kenya and a part of a street gang. Her mother was murdered a few years before. Her half sister was attending a private school through a scholarship, so Tina knew her younger sister was being taken care of. She ended up on the streets herself, taken in by the Goondas, and learned how to use her skills to commit crimes that would eventually lead to her exacting revenge on the murderer. She was feisty, small, and determined. She did not commit crimes for the fun of it, but with revenge driving her to do whatever it took to turn herself into a weapon.
I loved Tina as a character. She was protective of her sister, loyal to people she cared about, but damaged by an awful past. Her current mission was the big revenge mission against the person she suspected was guilty of murdering her mother, but the job got more complicated than she anticipated. She found herself playing two sides, trying to keep up pretenses, while also trying to figure out why her mother was murdered.
I don’t want to give anything away, but I enjoyed the twists and turns in the plot, Tina’s fierce character, and the past that haunted her. I didn’t know much about the businesses, militias, crime, and violence that haunt Congo and surrounding areas, though I knew it was a tough region. I feel like I gained some insight and truly saw what it must be like for the people who choose to stay and run things like underfunded mission hospitals. But I also loved that, while it was educational and eye opening, it was still a fast paced and thrilling novel about a thief and it balanced both things well.
I highly recommend City of Saints and Thieves. It was exactly as awesome as the synopsis made it sound!