Rating: 1 out of 5 stars (whoa, shocker!)
Summary: “A thrilling new urban fantasy filled with magic and motorcycle gangs from Jennifer Rush, author of the Altered saga–perfect for fans of Beautiful Creatures.
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.” (Summary found on Goodreads).
Honestly, I should have seen that Devil’s & Thieves is blurbed to be like Beautiful Creatures, because I would have gone into this with more of an expectation. To be fair, there is some promise with this book, just not promise to be anything that I would ever enjoy reading. I think I’ve grown out of cheesy romance books with “fantasy on the side”. I loved Twilight, but this felt too similar and much messier (as if that’s even possible).
We start with Jemmie, who is one of the most annoying fictional characters to ever exist, and Crowe the supposed “bad boy” who succeeds at 1-wearing leather jackets and 2-leading girls on. HAVE I MENTIONED HOW MUCH BOYS THAT LEAD GIRLS ON OR GIRLS THAT LEAD BOYS ON IRRITATE ME?? Hint: It’s a lot.
Anyway, then you proceed into a storyline where Jemmie pines after Crowe while Boy #2 confesses his love for her.
An actual scene (paraphrased because this is an ARC):
Boy #2-I’m in love with you.
Jemmie-We’ll talk about that later. So…
THAT. IS. NOT. HOW. IT. WORKS.
Continuing on, the magic system didn’t make much sense, nor was it actually explained. I think Jennifer Rush really just threw her readers into the fire and said “so this is what it is” without ever telling you how you got into the fire or how you’re supposed to get out. I also must mention for the umpteenth time how important it is to have a magic system that makes sense.
I spent most of this book wishing for it to end. It had no depth, nothing exciting, and I really couldn’t find any parts that kept me interested. There was a tiny portion toward the end that made me consider upping this to two stars. However, I was still seething with anger at the rest of it, so I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Don’t let this review stop you from picking this up. You may love it. I just didn’t, and I think that’s because I’m not a romance-driven reader. I love fantasy with a side of romance, but that’s just me. I hate giving books one star because I feel like I’m destroying the author’s dreams. As someone who aspires to be a published author, I understand the amount of effort that is put into writing a novel. Books are a work of art, but I think I need to remind myself that everyone likes different kinds of art and artists understand that.