For my INFO 5405, we had to write a book review of a book published in 2018. I eagerly did this assignment way early in September based on an ARC I received in August.
Fire and Heist Book Review
Fire and Heist
by Sarah Beth Durst
Publisher: Penguin Random House: Crown Books for Young Readers
Release Date is December 4, 2018
I was given an advanced copy by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Sky Hawkins is a teenage girl whose mom has just disappeared, her long-time boyfriend just broke up with her in a very public manner, and her family has been disgraced. Sky, her three brothers, and her father are still in shock from these events. They are trying to move on and accept their new life minus their mom, position in the were-dragons society, and half their fortune is gone. Nothing is the same as it was before. She is desperate to literally and figuratively put her family back together. Since money, specifically, gold is so very important to were-dragons, Sky plans her first heist.
In dragon society, leading a heist is a coming of age tradition. Sky cobbles together a team and a plan to pull it off. But of course, heists never go as planned.
Along the way, she uncovers family secrets and even societal secrets that will change her future forever.
I enthusiastically devoured this story. The writing of this story is very clean and clear. The tone is fun and relatable. The pacing is quick but not breakneck speed. The characters are engaging and surprising, in a pleasant way. What this author did best in this book is the culture-building. Durst has created an entire culture for these were-dragons. These people, who used to be able to transform into dragons but have lost the ability over the last few centuries, are culturally more like dragons stuck in human form. The culture she has created seems extremely plausible given a dragon’s love of gold. It makes sense that the were-dragons would base their society on the size of their hoards.
The main character does not spend pages and pages merely pining over the boy who rejected her. She regrets what happened and she does spend some time working through this rejection and her future, but the author weaves it into the story very well and in a realistic way.
Who Will Like This?
If you like dragons, you are sure to like this! If you like Rick Riordan’s stories about mythology with rich worldbuilding, then you are likely to enjoy this book too. If you like a little bit of romance and a lot of friendship, you’ll love this book! The thematic topic is trust. How can you trust when you’ve been betrayed by people you love?
Bottom Line: I highly recommend this book for middle school students age 11 and up. There is no foul language in it or anything traditionally considered inappropriate. The plot and topic are too complex for younger ages but of high interest to age 11 and up.
Another copy of this review (more personal) can be found here on my personal blog. Kathryn Fletcher is my pen name.