Thief’s Covenant (Widdershins Adventure 1) ~ Ari Marmell
An action-packed, purely awesome and wickedly delicious treat.
I discovered this book by chance. As funny as it sounds – it was because of a certain game I played. One of the forum posts regarding that game mentioned that the main character was similar to the protagonist of the Widdeshins Adventure. This intrigued me quite a lot. The character in the game was absolute pure awesomeness, so I searched what this whole Widdershins thing was about. Reading the description of the plot, my only thought was: “I am SO reading this” and bought the book immediately. Now…I am not usually a spontaneous buyer of books or one who would buy something without reading many reviews. This time was an exception – it was one of the books which I desperately wanted because of a gut feeling I had. My ‘gut feeling about books’ sense has not proven me wrong – this book was an absolute treat!
The story – 3.5/5 stars:
The author decided to tell the story in a rather peculiar format – Marmell decided to write each chapter in the past and in the present, both looping over each other and contributing to the construction of the story. I shall dedicate a whole section to the technique later so back to the story itself. The actual story was not really that complicated. The plot did not seem to have a firm direction (unless you call trying to avoid your guild members from killing you a plot) and the time jumps in a way would usually distract and confuse the reader. The story was easy enough to follow. The action scenes were my favourite ones and I really liked how Marmell had constructed the fighting.
Having a pocket God was a very interesting idea. What Marmell did well was keep the intrigue as to what really happened many years ago – you could never quite guess. The main antagonist introduced at the end seemed rather random and spontaneous – most likely owing to the fact that, as I mentioned earlier, the story seemed to have no solid plot. Marmell wrapped up the plot pretty well though and seemed to have thought of everything from the beginning of the book to the end. If you re-read it again, you would see certain bits you could link in together after reading the whole book – a nice little puzzle Marmell has created.
The characters – 5/5:
I really loved the characters in this book. ALL of them. This is RARE!
Widdershins/Adrienne: She is literally the definition of awesome. Don’t mess with Widdershins or she will literally do this to you:
But seriously…she was a great character. Her childish yet brilliant nature was very amusing and I really liked her as a skilled fighter. She is by far one of my most favourite characters ever. Her disguises as a noble and going to aristocrat parties was also a great idea. I really became attached to her throughout the series, although I didn’t really like how she had so many potential love interests… (I am not a fan of love). Marmell however did me a favour of having all those love interests either killed (sorry for the spoiler) or not mentioned much. Seriously, I really love how this author manages to avoid that topic despite it having appeared so many times!
Olgun: My, oh my! What a wicked little treat this was! And so unique too! Having a pocket God is a very interesting concept, one which I really liked, especially with the idea of it being in a way a power-up. I really liked how Marmell managed to give Olgun some character despite the fact that he’s not really there since he is a God and so never really spoke, only conveyed emotions. I must say, this was done rather well.
Renard: Dear, oh dear! Despite this character having hardly any cameo time (shame), he is actually my most favourite character..of all time, probably! He is an unbelievably wicked and skilled thief (he wears a very showy outfit, for goodness sake! And no one even noticed him in a crowd! That takes skill!).
Others: The others were pretty good characters. I haven’t found myself disliking any of the characters in this book much (except the antagonists, though).
Writer’s technique – 5/5:
Marmell’s style of writing is gruesome and dark, very suitable for this dark fantasy ya novel. He uses interesting and exquisite lexicon in some points which I enjoyed reading. Marmell however does know when to use the brutal and blood-chilling format as well for the many fights (and it gets better as the Widdershins series progresses).
As I have previously mentioned – this novel’s form involves time jumps (so for example one chapter it’s ‘6 years ago’ and another it’s ‘now’). I have noticed in many reviews after I read the book that people were very annoyed with them. To be honest – I don’t see why they would. It was a new format which I have not seen before and I thought it was very effective. The narration always stopped at the most interesting moments, making you want to read more and more.
Once again, as I have mentioned another thing before – the book is a bit like a puzzle. Imagine your memories are all over the place as a jigsaw puzzle. Now, you reading through the book is like looking at all the memories. The memories however are not in chronological order most of the time (the book had 2 main time periods it followed chronologically – the past and the present). After looking at all the puzzle pieces, that is finishing the book, you can complete the puzzle! Isn’t that a great concept? I enjoyed how Marmell slyly linked the past and present tenses with their positioning – a past event which occurred is presented in one chapter, it relates somehow or rather to the next present tense chapter. I also really loved how the last chapters of the past tense have nicely ended in a loop – the opening of the book. That was very well done.
The world building was not mentioned too often, but it was still good enough for you to get the general idea of what was going on in Widdershins’ world. I think that this was a good move – you wouldn’t want to bore a reader with tonnes of pages full of background history which we probably won’t need.
All I can say at this point is this – Bravo, Marmell! I applaud you.
Overall – 5/5:
This book really deserves 5 stars. Even the weaknesses people have pointed out such as the form can be seen as a strong point. My slight concern in this book was only with the slightly vague plot and antagonists, but the good sides of this book overweight that, in my opinion. The story itself sucked me in as soon as I started reading it. I even finished the book in 1 day! I knew as soon as I finished that I was hooked to this series and would continue to the very end (which is near).
This is pretty much me when I read all the books in this series:
This book is definitely something you should give a try, especially if you enjoy dark fantasy and medieval/renaissance style setting. The series itself is very addictive and shall take you on a roller coaster of ‘feels’ as there shall be many…plot twists.
And so this review comes to an end. Thank you very much for reading it this far and I hope you enjoyed it.
You can find me on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/RitaArthurs
So how would YOU rate this book: