Goodreads: The Theft of Sunlight
Series: Dauntless Path #2
Published: March 23, 2021
I did not choose this fate. But I will not walk away from it.
Children have been disappearing from across Menaiya for longer than Amraeya ni Ansarim can remember. When her friend’s sister is snatched, Rae knows she can’t look away any longer – even if that means seeking answers from the royal court, where her country upbringing and clubfoot will only invite ridicule.
Yet the court holds its share of surprises. There she discovers an ally in the foreign princess, who recruits her as an attendant. Armed with the princess’s support, Rae seeks answers in the dark city streets, finding unexpected help in a rough-around-the-edges street thief with secrets of his own. But treachery runs deep, and the more Rae uncovers, the more she endangers the kingdom itself.
Note: Although this is being marketed as a companion book, I would highly recommend reading Thorn first. I have read Thorn, but didn’t remember some of the details, and I found parts of the book confusing because of that. I cannot imagine picking up The Theft of Sunlight while being completely unfamiliar with the characters and events of Thorn.
Intisar Khanani’s Thorn was one of my favorite books of 2020, so it was with great enthusiasm that I picked up The Theft of Sunlight to read more of Khanani’s work. Not only does the book deliver an engaging story with a sweet developing romance and a protagonist that had me admiring both her kindness and her sass, but it also tackles one of the threads I thought was bizarrely left hanging in Thorn: the fact that dozens of children are being snatched from the street each month.
I wrote in my review of Thorn that I guessed I could see how the characters had a lot to do in terms of reforming the country and maybe mass kidnappings was just on the list of things they hadn’t gotten around to yet, but I am actually really relieved to see that plot point taking center stage and getting the attention it deserves here because….MASS KIDNAPPINGS! It was truly weird it was almost a side point in Thorn. I love that readers are given a new protagonist to deal with the issue, as well, Rae, who is determined to get to the bottom of the issue to help the children she knows who have been snatched and the ones she doesn’t, no matter how dangerous her inquiries become. The princess cares, of course, but she doesn’t care the way Rae can because, for her, the problem is personal.
Readers also get to see more of the local thief lords mentioned in book 1, and who doesn’t love reading about thief lords and all their machinations and murders and schemes? Khanani does this really well; her thieves truly seem both skilled and dangerous. I believe they know what they’re doing and they know what they want, and they will be ruthless to get it. But we also see some of the softer sides of the Red Hawk gang, which is fabulous and makes me think I might have have missed something in not having ever having had a budding romance with a high-ranking thief. (Ok, never mind, actually. That would clearly be a terrible idea in real life, but it works great in fiction!)
The Theft of Sunlight is basically everything I like in YA, or just in a really enjoyable story. Strong, nuanced characters. A plot that hooks me and then keeps bringing surprises. Questions about life and morality and one’s own identity. I spent a long time thinking about this book once I finished it, which for me is always the mark of a good read.