Thursday, September 02, 2010

Thief Eyes by Janni Lee Simner

After her mother mysteriously disappears, sixteen-year-old Haley convinces her father to take her to Iceland, where her mother was last seen. There, amidst the ancient fissures and crevices of that volcanic island, Haley meets gorgeous Ari, a boy with a dangerous side who appoints himself her protector.
When Haley picks up a silver coin that entangles her in a spell cast by her ancestor Hallgerd, she discovers that Hallgerd's spell and her mother's disappearance are connected to a chain of events that could unleash terrifying powers and consume the world. Haley must find a way to contain the growing fires of the spell—and her growing attraction to Ari.

The retelling of Icelandic sagas and Scandinavian mythology is what drew me to this story. There are hardly any of these retellings, which is a shame because there’s so much great material there. So I eagerly awaited my copy of Thief Eyes.

Overall, it was interesting. The author’s spin on Hallgerd’s story is clever and intriguing, and shows Hallgerd as more than the evil, selfish girl painted by history/lore. The magical aspect of the story, however, is a bit too confusing. I couldn’t figure out why the story unfolded the way it did, except that it had to.

I did like that the other magical characters were individuals with their own agendas and purposes. Even though some of them helped Haley, they were still working toward their own goals. It added a layer of believable and interesting tension. Though I didn’t understand the purpose of bringing Odin into the story, since his appearance is very brief and there are no consequences as a result. It seemed like an extreme way to get rid of the uncle.

The one aspect of the story that I couldn’t get around, though, was the way Haley interacted with Ari.

Slight SPOILER warning here...

She scorned her father for cheating on her mother, and now she’s basically cheating on her boyfriend. I think introducing these feelings to her was a very good thing, but they were never explored. It should have created an understanding of her father’s actions, and how stupid things happen sometimes. It also should have made her angry at herself for doing exactly what she hated her father for. Instead, she went with it, and then magically worked things out with her boyfriend so that everyone is happy. Life is never that neat.

Still, it was a pretty enjoyable read. I think the language could have been toned down because the story’s content isn’t edgy enough for it, and that could have opened up the audience to younger teens.


Bish Denham said...

Intereting. I'll have to think about this one.

Tabitha said...

Yeah, it was an interesting story. Not my favorite, but interesting.

Elena Solodow said...

I read Simner's other work Bones of Faerie, and I would say the same thing: interesting, but not a favorite. It lacked an intensity to it. I wanted to feel more involved in it than I did, but the story itself was a good concept.

C.R. Evers said...

hmmm . . . I may need to check this one out.