Monday, September 25, 2017

Early Review: Devils and Thieves by Jennifer Rush


Devils and Thieves
(Devils and Thieves #1)
Jennifer Rush
Release: October 3, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley
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 rumor begins spreading that someone is practicing 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.

I'm a big fan of spooky small town mysteries. Devils and Thieves also has magical motorcycle clubs which is even better. And I did like the world of magical family legacies that Jennifer Rush created. Each family has a predominant power that they pass down through generations, though not everyone inherits it. And there are about a dozen possible types of magic that can manifest, like controlling animals or manipulating the body.

The MCs are made up of people from several different families, though the leadership tends to pass from father to son. Each club runs their own businesses and feuds with other clubs just like on Sons of Anarchy. The book has a very different vibe from that show, but I did feel like it was helpful to have watched it because I might not have known some of the MC vocabulary otherwise.

As interesting as all of that was, what kept me engaged was the book's compelling mystery plot. It was a really fast, hard to put down, one sitting read. Because Jemmie's trying to find her missing friend at a festival, I also got a Scooby Doo kind of vibe, though not in a bad way.

But there's something that bugs me. It's more a comment on the publisher than the book itself so I'm trying not to let it affect my review, even though I found it distracting. I keep wondering why it's being marketed as YA. The main character is eighteen and has graduated and her love interests are twenty, which I think technically makes it new adult. The only explanation I can see is that the romance never goes any farther than kissing and NAs tend to be more graphic, but there's no reason they have to be. And I felt like Crowe's motivation in particular was pretty mature. I'm an adult, though not a particularly new one, and still found it relatable.

I'm curious about how Jemmie and Crowe's relationship will change as the series goes on since Jemmie is very different at the end of the book than she was at the beginning. That makes Devils and Thieves feel like an origin story and I'm looking forward to seeing where the story goes.

Recommended for fans of: Beautiful Creatures, Sons of Anarchy, spooky small towns

 4 stars

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