Favorite Quote: “I was going to throw myself into the sea and take the devil with me.”
Reviewed by Tori
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.
Another reviewer remarked this story is as if Harry Potter had joined the Sons of Anarchy rather than heading to Hogwarts. And they were right. Angry, convoluted, suspenseful, and angsty, Rush’s newest series takes readers on an adventure into a secretive world where motorcycle gangs dominate, magic is currency, and the fate of them all rests on the shoulders of an eighteen-year-old alcoholic whose sensitivity to magic has left her almost powerless. Taking some liberties, Rush builds an engaging fantasy world with plenty of potential and room to grow. While it is being marketed as an urban fantasy, there is a strong romantic element that isn’;t normally this prevalent int he beginning. The magic itself is interesting and I enjoyed that Rush doesn’t just dump the information on us. She takes her time explaining the nine main branches of magic-Venemon, Animalia, Animus, Invictus, Inlusio, Locant, Arma, Terr, and Omnias-as they are each introduced into the storyline; allowing for easier comprehension.
Heavily character driven, the story is revealed to us through the eyes of Jemmie Carmichael, your everyday average teenager with a penchant for melodramatic behavior and a huge secret that affects her own magic. Strong narrative helps us to understand Jemmie and the world she lives in. We are privy to all her thoughts, good and bad, as she struggles to find her own path.
Rush portrays Jemmie honestly, allowing her to grow at her own rate. She carries a huge chip on her shoulder, angry at the world, and at times I found myself rolling my eyes at something she does or says. A reluctant hero whose love for her best friend and loyalty to the MC is what finally compels her to straighten up and work through her magical issues.
A varied secondary cast offers readers plenty of food for thought though they are merely there to prop up up Jemmie. I hope we see them evolve into more than just information bearers and place setters. A small but steamy love triangle is presented but you can tell it is half hearted and used only to heighten the conflict between Jemmie and her crush. The main conflict is an intriguing situation that develops well though Rush overdoes it on the foreshadowing and you can pretty much predict the rest of the story from the halfway mark. It didn’t impede my enjoyment though. I did have some issues with the character jumping. Rush brings in everyone towards the end and it was hard to remember who was who. The ending is a HUGE cliffhanger that left me gasping at the implications and wanting book two immediately.
Devils and Thieves definitely has potential and regardless of my issues, I am looking forward to seeing where Rush takes Jemmie and this world.