By Ari Marmell
Thief’s Covenant is the first of 4 novels in the Widdershins series and is a high fantasy young adult novel. Don't let the classification fool you, however, as the novel is highly enjoyable for adults as well. The overall plot of the book is well laid out and offers enough twists to keep you guessing, but is still easy enough to follow. It is intelligently written and offers up enough wit and humor to be amusing for all readers.
The setting takes place in the fictional city of Davillon, which is a feudal city made up of landowners as the governing body, and the church. The church is the representation of all 147 Gods of the Hallowed Pact and a religious system based off the Greek system of patron gods for cities, families, guilds and personal. The main aspects discussed within the book would be the city guard, the church, the Flippant Witch, and the finders guild. The reader will become very familiar with these locations and the organizational structures for which they operate under.
Our main character is Adrienne Satti, who goes by many names, but is predominantly known as the thief Widdershins. She has a very in depth backstory, going from a young girl to an orphan, then being adopted into a prestigious family, only to have it all crumble around her. The tragedies that strike her are also what lead us to where she is now, with a God, Olgun, residing inside her. Olgun is a God not of the Hallowed Pact, so not much is known of him. Olgun has the power to enhance Widdershins abilities and grant small amounts of luck for her to be successful in whatever trickery she is hoping to accomplish. She is a member of the Finders Guild, which is the public term for thieves guild, which is patroned by the Shrouded God and overseen by the Shrouded Lord. Widdershins has few friends within the guild, and most would be happy to see her removed in one way or another. She has a wit and tongue that is sharp and really has nothing to hold it back. She is also very oblivious to some things that the reader may not be.
The cast of characters is diverse and well developed for a young adult novel. They all have different personalities and backgrounds and have that feeling of being whole characters rather than just a person involved in plot. You will love them, you will hate them, you will cry. You will get attached to the people in this story and want to learn more about them and their lives. The relationships that are built between the characters are complex and enjoyable to read.
For those that are interested, the book does pass the Bechdel Test, with several female characters who do talk with each other about something other than men. This test is personally not something I rate media on in general, but is a good starting point for character development.
The overall plot is well presented to the reader, with enough twists for it to not be predictable. The beginning of the book establishes the backstory and relationship of all the characters, with the plot weaving through the setup. Widdershins finds herself in the center of a dark and sinister plot that ties beautifully to her past. Not even Olgun can see what is coming, which is terrifying and refreshing to have a God who has limits on their abilities. It makes for a much more interesting story when the main character has to struggle through a problem, even if she does have help.
One of the things that was a bit of a distraction was how much things jumped around with back story. The reasoning makes sense, as the jumps occurred in places where it was relevant to the plot, which kept that information fresh in the mind as the story moved forward. As a reader, it was something I was not used too, so sometimes I would lose where I was in the story it was. It was not something that made me want to stop reading, and to other readers this may not be a problem. I would assume that because this book setup the whole overarching plot and the character backgrounds, that this occurs more frequently in book one, and will drop off in the future books of the series.
Overall I would highly recommend this series. I enjoyed the story and characters and grew rather fond of them over the course of the book. I look forward to reading the rest of the series and watching as the characters grow over time. The book is available in hard or soft cover, in PDF format, and as an audio book from Graphic Audio.