The particulars: Historical Fantasy, TOR, available in print and as e-book
The Source: Purchased at Kobo
The Grade: B+
Boston, 1767: In D.B. Jackson’s Thieftaker, revolution is brewing as the British Crown imposes increasingly onerous taxes on the colonies, and intrigue swirls around firebrands like Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty. But for Ethan Kaille, a thieftaker who makes his living by conjuring spells that help him solve crimes, politics is for others…until he is asked to recover a necklace worn by the murdered daughter of a prominent family.
Suddenly, he faces another conjurer of enormous power, someone unknown, who is part of a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of power in the turbulent colony. His adversary has already killed—and not for his own gain, but in the service of his powerful masters, people for whom others are mere pawns in a game of politics and power. Ethan is in way over his head, and he knows it. Already a man with a dark past, he can ill afford to fail, lest his livelihood be forfeit. But he can’t stop now, for his magic has marked him, so he must fight the odds, even though he seems hopelessly overmatched, his doom seeming certain at the spectral hands of one he cannot even see
I have looked forward to this book ever since I first heard about it, which was 2010. When I sat down to read it, I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. To my delight, that didn’t happen.
D.B. Jackson’s writing sucked me in from the start. Sometimes it felt like I was walking next to Ethan as he navigated the lanes of Boston. The story felt well researched, from the careful description of the houses and streets of London, to the historical events that happens in the background. But the tension between the people loyal to the crown and the rebels creeps into the story, but it doesn’t overwhelm it.
The magic that Ethan use felt unique. I loved how it could use several different sources for power, and what it cost. But, I also liked how the history of witch trials affected the attitude of others.
The mystery at the center of the plot was intriguing, and I loved how Ethan felt a bit out of the water, since he isn’t used to dealing with the wealthy of Boston. There was setbacks, of course, and I liked how they felt right, as if the author had carefully selected them to create as big problems as possible for Ethan. Despite that, the only major problem I had was with the lack of variation when the villains, both Pryce and the Conjurer, puts up obstacles in Ethan’s way. Yet the obstacles used fit their personalities.