City of Saints & Thieves

City of Saints & Thieves

Librarian's note: This is an Alternate Cover Edition for ISBN10: 0399547584 ISBN13: 9780399547584.The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya. In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn't exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a...

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Title:City of Saints & Thieves
Author:Natalie C. Anderson
Rating:
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:401 pages

City of Saints & Thieves Reviews

  • Erin
    Oct 05, 2016

    Read as an ARC.

    OMG, I am not worthy. This book will drop you in a world of stunning poverty and wealth and the heroes and villains who come from both. And the crazy thing is- this shit is real. Tiny is a special kind of heroine because she's all too possible, both in character and in situation. This story is an amazing look into modern Africa with its refugees, fleeing their homes for a better life or defiantly staying when they know militants who protected them yesterday could kill them tomorro

    Read as an ARC.

    OMG, I am not worthy. This book will drop you in a world of stunning poverty and wealth and the heroes and villains who come from both. And the crazy thing is- this shit is real. Tiny is a special kind of heroine because she's all too possible, both in character and in situation. This story is an amazing look into modern Africa with its refugees, fleeing their homes for a better life or defiantly staying when they know militants who protected them yesterday could kill them tomorrow, and its bustling cities bursting with a mix of modern and 3rd world life, crowned by a wealthy class of citizens who make their own rules. It's a picture of Africa that everyone needs to see, written by someone who's been there and seen it all.

    Brava, Ms Anderson: both your life and your writing inspire me.

  • Maraia
    Dec 01, 2016

    I'm always skeptical when a book is blurbed as a cross between one of my favorite books and something else, and I'm not 100% sure I see the connection between

    and

    , but I enjoyed it regardless. The mystery kept me hooked, the characters were complex, I didn't guess all the surprises, it was culturally and sexually diverse, and I LOVED the setting.

    is an excellent debut and should be at the top of everyone's

    I'm always skeptical when a book is blurbed as a cross between one of my favorite books and something else, and I'm not 100% sure I see the connection between

    and

    , but I enjoyed it regardless. The mystery kept me hooked, the characters were complex, I didn't guess all the surprises, it was culturally and sexually diverse, and I LOVED the setting.

    is an excellent debut and should be at the top of everyone's 2017 TBR.

    4.5 stars

  • Emily May
    Oct 26, 2016

    is set in Kenya, where Tina - a Congolese refugee - is a member of the Goondas, a gang of street thieves. Tina looks out for her beloved younger sister, Kiki, whilst also longing for revenge against the man she knows murdered her mother: the wealthy Mr. Gre

    is set in Kenya, where Tina - a Congolese refugee - is a member of the Goondas, a gang of street thieves. Tina looks out for her beloved younger sister, Kiki, whilst also longing for revenge against the man she knows murdered her mother: the wealthy Mr. Greyhill.

    With the help of the Goondas, Tina plots her revenge, but when she is caught trying to steal files from Mr. Greyhill's computer - by his son, Michael - she is forced to make a deal. Michael will assist her in finding out what really happened to her mother, in exchange for her holding off on unveiling the files and exposing his dad's shady antics.

    A diverse cast of characters find themselves digging deeper and deeper into the past;

    . Alongside the fictional mystery that gets more nail-bitingly tense by the second, Anderson shines a light on some real world atrocities: real tales of greed, crime, and the way women's bodies become the spoils of war.

    As far as I know, the author is not Kenyan or Congolese, but it definitely feels like a lot of research went into this book. She presents the dark sides of both countries,

    . All of the characters are carefully-developed with thought and sensitivity; Tina, for example, has had to get tough to survive as long as she has, but she is also realistically flawed and driven by anger and sadness. Her narrative is split into thief "rules", as she educates the reader in how to be a good street thief, and reveals the story at the same time.

    contains a vivid world that will be unfamiliar to most readers, as well as memorable characters, and an intriguing mystery. Predictably, some romance does surface, but it isn't until the later chapters of the book and is kept to a minimum. Recommended for those looking for a YA thriller that sits outside the norm.

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  • Faith
    Jan 01, 2017

    This is a young adult thriller that deals with more important themes than I usually associate with the genre. Sixteen year-old Tina became a street kid in Kenya after the murder of her mother who was working as a maid in the Greyhill household comprised of a rich, white American ex-pat, his Kenyan wife, their son Michael and their daughter. Mr. Greyhill is also the father of 11-year-old Kiki, Tina's half sister, who has been in a convent school since the murder. Tina joined up with a gang of str

    This is a young adult thriller that deals with more important themes than I usually associate with the genre. Sixteen year-old Tina became a street kid in Kenya after the murder of her mother who was working as a maid in the Greyhill household comprised of a rich, white American ex-pat, his Kenyan wife, their son Michael and their daughter. Mr. Greyhill is also the father of 11-year-old Kiki, Tina's half sister, who has been in a convent school since the murder. Tina joined up with a gang of street criminals and is a pickpocket and burglar, but her chief goal is revenge against Greyhill who she thinks killed her mother.

    I wasn't really engaged by the beginning of this book but at around the half way point I started to love the story. Tina, Michael and Boyboy, Tina's friend and partner in crime, travel by banana lorry to Congo to try to find out who really killed Tina's mother. In the process they also learn the painful story of Tina's mother who had fled from Congo when Tina was a small child. From then on I found the story really fascinating and it felt very real. Congo is a very complicated place and what Tina learns about her mother is all tied up with greed, politics, slavery, human rights violations, the plight of refugees and the treatment of women in war zones. All of this was packed into a book that was also a satisfying thriller. This was a lot more than I expected from this book and I was pleasantly surprised.

    I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  • Jessica
    Jan 23, 2017

    I had two days off of work for the inauguration and I intended to spend them both reading my way into distraction, but I ended up mostly just lying on the couch unable to focus on much of

    I had two days off of work for the inauguration and I intended to spend them both reading my way into distraction, but I ended up mostly just lying on the couch unable to focus on much of anything except Esquire’s

    marathon. After spending Saturday marching on the National Mall, I was grateful to spend Sunday reading a book about a kickass young woman who gets to be the hero of her own story. What’s more, I was grateful to spend Sunday reading a book that highlights atrocities in a part of the world that’s often forgotten about.

    Loosely based on real stories, this book is about Tina, who was brought to Kenya from the DRC as a refugee when she was very young. Her mother procured a job with the prominent American businessman, Roland Greyhill. Greyhill fathered Tina’s half sister and Tina knows that he was involved in some illegal business in Congo, so she naturally suspects him when her mother is murdered when Tina is just 12.

    After her mother’s death, Tina runs away from the Greyhill estate. She sets her sister up at a convent school and spends four years becoming a master thief with a street gang known as the Goondas, essentially training for the day that she can exact revenge on the Greyhills. But when that day finally arrives, Tina is jolted by the realization that the circumstances of her mother’s death aren’t as black and white as she’d long believed. Though she gets some help along the way, Tina will stop at nothing in her quest to unearth her family's history and avenge her mother's death.

    This book has a similar flavor as

    --a young woman bent on revenge, using the knowledge of hackers to advance her cause--but the violence is less intense, easier to stomach. And it manages to shine a light on the blood gold industry of central Africa. We are probably all familiar with the concept of “blood diamonds” thanks to the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, but Anderson shows us the horrifying human rights violations committed by the militias seeking control of the gold trade in places like Congo (and the Central African Republic).

    Ostensibly meant for an older YA audience, this book ought to appeal to adult readers as well. It’s a thriller with believable, unpredictable twists and compelling, fully realized characters. Natalie Anderson has done an excellent job building a story that kept me at the edge of my seat. Seriously, this book comes in at around 400 pages and I managed to devour it in just under 30 hours. I highly, highly recommend it.

  • Trina (Between Chapters)
    Mar 14, 2017

    The writing was fine. The characters were good. I appreciated that the author seemed to have done a lot of research, having worked with refugees in Kenya and that she included information in the author's note about which parts were fictionalized and which were not, as well as including a list of resources for you to learn more.

    The reason this is only 3 stars for me is because this is not the style of mystery I enjoy. I was intrigued by the summary saying it was a revenge thriller, but I didn't f

    The writing was fine. The characters were good. I appreciated that the author seemed to have done a lot of research, having worked with refugees in Kenya and that she included information in the author's note about which parts were fictionalized and which were not, as well as including a list of resources for you to learn more.

    The reason this is only 3 stars for me is because this is not the style of mystery I enjoy. I was intrigued by the summary saying it was a revenge thriller, but I didn't feel like that's what I got. There is only one suspect, there is no tension or suspense, and although Tina started out wanting revenge, that angle felt dropped pretty early on. This was much more a story about a girl finding out about her mother's past than a mystery. It's just not my preference in terms of a thriller.

    Rape and sexism are very prevalent themes, and although they are relevant to the story, it was hard to swallow. It's not a bad thing for a book to show those themes, it didn't romanticize them, but they also didn't seem handled with purpose beyond 'this is just how the world is.' Does it need a purpose? That's up to the reader, but for me personally this did lower my enjoyment because I was not aware of how prevalent they would be. Other readers might find it more impactful than I did.

    I did really enjoy the characters of Tina, Boyboy, and Michael. As far as representation, most of the characters are black and a couple are biracial (black/white), one side character is gay, and it features a main character who is homeless.

    I would recommend this if you are looking for a book set in Africa (Kenya and Congo) and has a strong lead character trying to understand her roots.

  • Terri Jacobson
    Feb 18, 2017

    This is the story of Tiny Girl (Tina), a young girl who's been living on the streets of Sangui City, Kenya, since her mother was murdered several years ago. She is a thief with the gang of the Goondas, and she's proud of her contributions and abilities.Tiny Girl believes she knows who murdered her mother, and she is bent on revenge.

    Tiny Girl and her mother are refugees from Congo. They escaped several years ago when her mother got a job as a maid with a wealthy family. As the story progresses, T

    This is the story of Tiny Girl (Tina), a young girl who's been living on the streets of Sangui City, Kenya, since her mother was murdered several years ago. She is a thief with the gang of the Goondas, and she's proud of her contributions and abilities.Tiny Girl believes she knows who murdered her mother, and she is bent on revenge.

    Tiny Girl and her mother are refugees from Congo. They escaped several years ago when her mother got a job as a maid with a wealthy family. As the story progresses, Tiny Girl finds she has to retrace her mother's journey to find out the truth of her identity and background. We see the problems in Congo with the militias wreaking havoc on the countryside and terrorizing/kidnapping the people.

    I absolutely loved this audiobook. Tiny Girl captured my heart and my imagination. She is fiercely independent and prides herself on relying on no one. She is strong and resilient. The narrator of the book speaks in lilting cadences that captured her essence.

    This is a very fast-paced story with lots of excitement. As Tiny Girl learns there are people who care about her and want to help, she grows and blossoms as a person. This is a story I will long remember.

    A note on the author: Natalie C. Anderson has worked with African NGOs for the last decade on issues of refugee relief and international development. Her experiences enrich this book beyond meausure.

  • Laura
    Mar 02, 2017

    If this is a sign of what is forthcoming in young adult fiction this year, consider me an extremely happy lady. I'm in!

    A young adult contemporary standalone set in modern day Africa. It is a revenge story that is also part murder mystery. The main reason to pick this up is for the rich and beautiful setting. It also doesn’t hurt that the writing is very strong. There’s a great deal of diversity and the story is enthralling.

    If this is a sign of what is forthcoming in young adult fiction this year, consider me an extremely happy lady. I'm in!

    A young adult contemporary standalone set in modern day Africa. It is a revenge story that is also part murder mystery. The main reason to pick this up is for the rich and beautiful setting. It also doesn’t hurt that the writing is very strong. There’s a great deal of diversity and the story is enthralling.

    Tina and her mother are refugees from the Congo. They escape to Kenya where her mom became a maid for the wealthy Greyhill family. Eventually her mother is murdered leaving Tina and her sister orphans. She takes her sister to live at a convent school, while Tina lives out on the streets with nothing on her mind but revenge. She takes care of herself by joining the city’s gang, the Goondas, and becoming a master thief. She’s finally ready to start her plan for vengeance against the man who killed her mom. Dirt. Money. Blood.

    The plan brings her back to the very place she left five years earlier: the Greyhill estate. With the Goondas in on her plan, there is little wiggle room. Everyone expects a payout. Tina cannot mess this up. But being back in the house her mother died in has emotions swirling. Her past will collide with her present as she gets set on a path to find the truth and get revenge.

    There is so much to this story. There is Tina’s life as an orphaned refugee in Sangui City and the way she manages to survive. The bits from the past we’re slowly given that display the life Tina and her mother had as refugees in Kenya. The journey into the dangerous jungles of the Congo. The exploration of modern day Africa with gangs, militia, warlords, slave labor used to mine gold, and the war caused over the fights for these mines. It was powerful and unlike anything I’ve ever read. The beauty of Africa was so clear even among the darkest places. Eventually we even learn why Tina and her mother fled the Congo in the first place.

    Tina is everything I want out of a protagonist: determined, strong, and smart. I appreciated the relationships she has with her sister, Michael, and Boyboy. It was interesting the way Tina’s rules to live by were at the beginning of a lot of chapters and throughout the story. They helped to maintain structure. I could have done without the romance. I know there was very little, but it still felt out of place. The ending was also tied up a little too neatly for a story like this. I think there’s crossover appeal for adults.

    remained engaging throughout. I’m surprised this is only a debut novel! This is one not to be missed.

  • Mwanamali Mari
    Mar 07, 2017

    A YA set in Kenya about a Congolese character and the author isn't Kenyan... This I've got to see.

  • Sam
    Mar 15, 2017

    While the blurb comps

    (definitely shares some DNA) and

    (not so much in my opinion),

    is such a special, inventive, fresh read that is pure adrenaline in terms of its plot but also gives you ancillary characters to really invest in, a whodunit that becomes more complex as the evidence builds and adds twists, a glittering yet gritty world of Sendai City where anything feels possible and an array of hustlers, thiev

    While the blurb comps

    (definitely shares some DNA) and

    (not so much in my opinion),

    is such a special, inventive, fresh read that is pure adrenaline in terms of its plot but also gives you ancillary characters to really invest in, a whodunit that becomes more complex as the evidence builds and adds twists, a glittering yet gritty world of Sendai City where anything feels possible and an array of hustlers, thieves, mercenaries, journalists, and wayward children eke out a lives and collide, and probably one of my favorite heroines in recent memory: Christina Masika aka Tina and Tiny Girl. Tina is a flawed sixteen year-old, fiercely protective of family and friends, a skilled thief working for a larger plot of vengeance for her murdered mother, but when she has to confront the recent past and things may not be as clear cut as she thought, Tina's willing to go to any lengths and willing to rethink her core beliefs to seek the truth about her mother and her family's past in the Congo. She's a fighter through and through, and though she has real fears and demons haunting her from danergous times as a refugee from the Congo, Tina forces herself to face them and truths. She's not invincible, and can be a bit slow on the emotional uptake, but her edges are not overdone and her heart and smarts and courage are so winning.

    In some ways it shouldn't be remarkable that our heroine of a commercially oriented thriller is African in 21st literature, and indeed it's not the most notable thing about Christina, but the setting of a coastal African city and the horrors of commercial exploitation of resources and its role in civil war and the murder and rape of African civilians (especially women) is brought to light by Anderson here, and the information is presented seamlessly in terms of an action packed plot and good characterization. But there is something inspiring in Anderson's choice to lay the mantle of heroine on a girl who in movies or another novel would have been relegated to sidekick or the African other as a foil (I mean, look at movies like

    as an example here). That this is YA is all the more astonishing for me: it definitely is accessible enough for an older YA audience and absolutely entertains and informs, but I definitely see this as a strong crossover read for adults. And Anderson make her characters seem entirely familiar to us, easily identifying with them, but also allows us to fully inhabit a world completely different from our own (unless you too are a gang affiliated thief in Kenya with a tragic refugee background).

    The pace is relentless in the best possible way: clues dropped in the text and picked up throughout, new confrontations and developments each chapter, and there's strong narrative tension and believable teenage dialogue even if this could be an African twist to a Jason Bourne plot. I honestly had so much fun reading

    , and am so pleased that a book this well-written and this diverse and this thrilling exists for YA and adult readers. Diversity for its own sake usually winds up not working or being poorly executed: these are great characters first and foremost and a compelling action/mystery plot, and the wildly different African background and setting just add to its uniqueness. I highly recommend this for anyone in search of a great new read, a diverse novel... seriously if you're into exotic locale action-political-personal thrillers and can handle a heavy dose of hard reality (i.e. discussion of rape and murder in the context of civil war) this is the book you're looking for. I hope Tiny Girl, Boyboy, Michael, and the Goondas appear in future adventures by Anderson, but until then, this is a great standalone or first entry to a series, and one I'll likely re-read in the future.

    -received on edelweiss as an ARC thanks to G.P. Putnam and Penguin