Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Water Thief by Jane Kindred

It takes a con to expose a con. But this con could strip their secrets bare.

Framed for his twin sister’s murder, Sebastian Swift has been kept drugged in a mental institution since age thirteen, aware of only one horrible fact—every night in his dreams, he drowns.

After a freak storm frees him, Sebastian learns the truth. His guardian, Emrys, has been siphoning off his inherited magical power over the waters of Cantre’r Gwaelod—one gruesome vial at a time. And the man’s bastard son, Macsen, has been raised in his place. Determined to find his twin’s killer, Sebastian assumes her identity.

Macsen Finch isn’t about to give up his guise as the young earl—and not just because of the fortune. His cousin’s return from the dead threatens Macsen’s own efforts to undermine his father’s evil plan. Yet he can’t deny his inexplicable attraction to the imposter.

Acting on their mutual desire puts them both at the mercy of a madman’s wrath. To stop Emrys from stealing his power, Sebastian will have to learn how to use it—and whom he can trust.

Warning: May contain copious exchange of fluids, men in corsets, and dirty dancing. Apply liberally before bedtime.

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Samhain  Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3 fantasy stars.
The Water Thief was an odd read, and I'll try my best to put it into words without spoilers or being nitpicky. First I will state this is a dual-perspective MM historical fantasy novel, both written in 1st & 3rd person perspective without any real pattern.

Sebastian has been imprisoned in a mental ward with the charge of killing his twin sister, August, for the past eight years. At the opener, I had no idea how old Sebastian was, so I was a bit shocked to find out this all started at age thirteen, and now he is only twenty-one.

The Water Thief doesn't have Sebastian locked up for long, only in the first half of the first chapter. I truly believed I was going to enjoy the novel with how it started out. Sebastian's escape was led by his dead twin sister's ghost, leading him to where the thieves dwell. But within minutes of knowing one another, he's screwing a random guy. The addition of sex in chapter two, while my mind was still trying to process what was going on, was beyond bizarre. It wasn't hot; it was odd. Then, within the next chapter, an entire year plus some is told, not shown.

Sebastian learns an impostor has taken over his life, yet his new thief friends believe him to be Sly, not Sebastian, so they inadvertently lead him home. This part of the story, I did enjoy for the most part, perhaps enough for 4 stars. It was a bit drawn out, but entertaining nonetheless. Then when I felt the book should end, the fantasy part finally began. It was jarring going from sitting around an estate while dressed up as a female and bantering and instigating the second-cousin impostor, to fleeing into another fantasy realm with the new love interest – said impostor cousin.

In a nutshell, not only did Sebastian dress as a female, his speech/action/reactions were feminine in the extreme. His character voice was female, and without the name and male parts, I wouldn't have thought him anyone but female. The character I enjoyed the most was his impostor cousin, Macsen. The book was just a hot mess, with the fantasy structure all over the place, with only a whisper of it in the first half of the book. It was entertaining yet jarring. With a different level of execution on the writer's part, the plot was worthy and entertaining enough to be a good, fantasy MM novel.

The Water Thief had a ton of potential, but sadly fell short.

Jane Kindred is the author of epic fantasy series The House of Arkhangel’sk, Demons of Elysium, and Looking Glass Gods. She spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed.

You can find Jane on her Twitter account and Facebook page—both of which are aptly named “janekindred"—and on her website.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Water Thief by Jane Kindred to read and review.

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