Dance of Thieves

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Dance of Thieves Book Poster Image
Remnant Chronicles spin-off high in romance and adventure.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows a town run as a family business with taxes taken, deals made with traders, and provisions made for protection from enemies.

Positive Messages

Freedoms can't be taken for granted and are never won once and for all. Vigilance against tyranny is always required. Family and history held in high regard. Listening to others' stories bridges understanding and respect.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kazi has already made a huge transformation before the start of the book, from street thief to a valued member of the queen's guard. Here she overcomes prejudice and fears from her past to connect with Jase. Jase is proud, somewhat naive as he steps into his role as head of the family. As he connects with Kazi, he begins to see a wider world.

Violence

Raids, kidnappings, and brief battles with casualties and injuries. Some gore, including ears severed, a finger cut off, a knife through the neck, and soldiers covered in others' blood. A poisonous dog bite nearly kills. Fistfights and a near-drowning. A man carried off by a winged creature to his death. Stories of children watching their parents killed in front of them and living on the streets. Stories of settlers nearly dying under siege. Mention of miscarriage.

Sex

Lots of kissing, groping with talk of wanting to do more but not having protection. Brief description of another man and woman having sex up against a tree -- only mentions moaning.

Language

Versions of "bitch," "ass," and "bastard," but not that often.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Kazi, 17 and a soldier, drinks a little ale with Jase, who's a bit older. Jase, brothers, and friends drink heavily after his father's death. A trader smokes a pipe.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dance of Thieves is a spin-off of the Remnant Chronicles set in the same group of kingdoms. Like the other trilogy, this is a fantasy adventure heavy on the romance. Kazi, a 17-year-old soldier, gets kidnapped with Jase, the leader of a city in the Remnant kingdoms, and sparks fly. There's plenty of kissing and groping, with talk of wanting to do more but not having protection. Another couple has a brief tryst against a tree with only moaning mentioned. Besides the kidnapping, there are raids and brief battles with casualities and injuries. Sometimes it gets a little gory: ears severed, a finger cut off, a knife through the neck, and soldiers covered in others' blood. Sometimes the language gets a little salty, but doesn't go beyond "bitch," "ass," and "bastard." And characters, including Kazi, drink. Men who are probably in their early 20s drink to excess after the death of the patriarch. Kazi often returns to memories of her childhood, when her mother was taken away and she was forced to survive on the streets. She comes a long way before the book even begins, training to be an elite soldier. She overcomes fears and prejudices from her past to connect with Jase and always keeps her mission as a soldier in mind.

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What's the story?

In DANCE OF THIEVES, Kazi sets off with two other soldiers in the queen's guard for the town of Hell's Mouth to find a fugitive. She believes that the family who runs the town, the Ballengers, are housing him in their stronghold. Just before they arrive, the Ballenger Patrei, or head of the family, dies suddenly, leaving his son Jase in charge. Kazi finds Jase on the streets of Hell's Mouth hungover from a night of grief-drinking with his friends and brothers. After a less than cordial meeting -- a knife to the throat, clever threats -- Kazi chases Jase away from his friends and right into the arms of a band of slavers. They're both knocked out, captured, and dragged off on a wagon. This was not how Kazi's mission was supposed to go at all. Luckily, after years as a street thief, Kazi has special skills she uses to dupe the slavers and escape. Now Kazi and Jase are chained together days from any town, forced to get along enough to survive.

Is it any good?

This Remnant Chronicles spin-off series gets off to a promising start with a strong female hero, dangerous travel adventures, and an absorbing romantic storyline. Kazi, former street thief, now valued member of the queen's elite guard, is fun to root for when she encounters the proud Ballengers and navigates a tricky relationship with its new head of the family, Jase. There's plenty of tension as both Kazi and Jase guard their secrets from each other, but not well enough.

Though the romance sometimes threatens to take over entirely, the political intrigue in the town of Hell's Mouth will also hold readers' attention. It's hard to know who to watch out for: the conniving Ballenger cousin, black market traders, or the fugitive Kazi is sent to find in secret. Maybe everyone. It's what makes Jase always suspicious -- even of Kazi, as he should be. In the end, her loyalties have to be to the queen.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Jase and Kazi in Dance of Thieves. What makes them both thieves? Would they ever have understood each other if they hadn't been forced together?

  • How does Kazi use the lessons she learned from her rough childhood to be a better soldier?

  • Will you read the next story from the Remnant kingdoms? What's your favorite so far?

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