Book Review: City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

Summary: While breaking into the house of the man who allegedly murdered her mother to steal incriminating evidence from his hard drive, Tina gets caught by his son and her childhood friend, Michael. To stop her from releasing all the information, they strike a deal to investigate her mother’s murder before releasing the evidence. But her crime boss is waiting and the more she waits, the more her life is in danger.

Thoughts: I was really looking forward to this book because it was pitched as The Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo meets Gone Girl but set in Kenya. I think that pitch set my expectations too high. While it was an enjoyable mystery, it wasn’t a page-turning kind of thriller. The setting was great, and the characters as well even though they read a bit too mature for their age, but then again, it makes sense that they would be having gone through the things that they have. I loved how focused Tina was on avenging her mother, but at the same time, it was that very focus that made every thing else around her seem unimportant. And that includes her relationship with Michael. I feel like if the romance aspect was taken out, I’d have enjoyed the book more because I just couldn’t believe it when it happened. Tina was such a fierce and determined character, and her capacity for love was clearly evident in how much she loved and tried to give her sister a good life, that the Michael thing read a bit forced and unnecessary because Tina herself was only aware of it sporadically and most of it was concentrated towards the very end. However, what I loved most about this book though, and what set it apart from many other books out there, is how Anderson sheds light on real atrocities happening in the world and to the Congolese people specifically – like crime, war, violence against women, greed etc. If you’re looking for a YA novel set in Africa, with an interesting plot, great characters, and some real world stories, then you will really like City of Saints and Thieves. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve read any page-turning thrillers with interesting settings that I need to read ASAP. Happy reading!

Stars: 3/5

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