Book Review: The Nine (Thieves of Fate Book 1) by Tracy Townsend

When a book with God's ongoing notes on humanity is discovered, it ends up in 13-year-old Rowena's hands but gets stolen while she's making her delivery. She shows up at the Alchemist's beaten up and empty-handed, but he takes her in and they team up with retired mercenary Anselm as the group in search of the book's secrets set their sights on Rowena and her new allies.

Book Review: The Nine (Thieves of Fate Book 1) by Tracy Townsend | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy
Title: The Nine
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 366
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review.*

I have to admit it took me a good percentage of the book to really get into it—the world was confusing at first and the seven or so POVs made it hard for me to connect with the characters—but eventually, as the story really got going and focused more on Rowena, the Alchemist, and Anselm, I got more into it and found myself wanting to keep reading.

By the time I finished, my favorite thing about this book was the three main characters. Rowena was a scrappy, willful, street-smart orphan. The Alchemist has done some things in his past that were not ok, but he was very sweet and fatherly to Rowena, despite his stoic nature. Anselm was kind of an asshole, but entertainingly and charmingly so. And by the end of the book, I was rooting for this strange little group of allies. I also loved the dynamic between the three main characters and seeing how it evolved as the story went on into a sweet little found family.

Another thing—I appreciated that the author didn’t try to sugarcoat or downplay the selfish and negative aspects of any of the characters. Most of them weren’t great people, and the author just presented them as they were without making excuses for their behaviors. There were reasons and motivations and sometimes good traits and behaviors in addition to the bad, but not excuses. And that only makes it that much better that I still liked some of them anyway.

The world was bit hard to get a grip on—kind of an odd mix of time and place and real and fantasy—but there was a lot of uniqueness and detail in it. (Note: I thought this was high fantasy when I read it, but after reading the second book I realized it’s kind of an alternate Earth.) There were groups with different religious beliefs, a whole society and backstory, and a few different types of creatures: humans, lanyani (basically living trees), and aigamuxa (monstrous humanoid beings with eyes on the bottom of their feet). There was even a bit of a steampunk feel. And the premise of there being nine people chosen by God to help him gather data for his experiment, in order to decide whether humanity was worth, is one that I’ve certainly never seen before.

The plot had a complex mystery/conspiracy element to it involving the above-mentioned book with God’s notes. It was fairly slow-paced for a while, with the occasional bout of action, but it got more interesting as it went on and picked up some speed near the end.

So overall, as I said, this book took me a while to get into, but, by the end, I was hooked and looking forward to spending more time with this strangely lovable team of street urchins and ex-mercenaries!


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  1. Roberta R.

    Quote: “monstrous humanoid beings with eyes on the bottom of their feet”.
    ????? What use can they possibly be????? 😂

    This one has a great premise, and for some reason makes me think of Supernatural…the show of course…but maybe it’s a bit too fantasy-oriented for my tastes. Regardless, I enjoyed your review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah the eyes on the bottom of the feet thing is really weird LOL.

      It does feel like high-fantasy despite being technically set on Earth, but it is an interesting promise!

  2. Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy

    I loved everything about this book, and I hope to start the sequel in December. And I agree, I adore the relationship between the three main characters, which surprised me, because Anselm was a jerk in the beginning!

  3. Daniela Ark

    I must be having a particularly hard ADHD day because I had to read the first paragraph on your post and the blurb twice each and I still wasn’t sure what was the book about LOL SMH!

    And if the the world is that strange too I’m not sure I would survive this book 🙂 I will get lost in this rabbit hole for sure! I’m glad you did get hooked at the end!

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s kind of a confusing book at first LOL. It was a bit of a mistake for me to read it while having such trouble concentrating, but I managed in the end!

  4. Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)

    It sounds like this one has a lot of strong aspects to develop through future books. Perhaps some of the POVs might have been better incorporated later on as seven straight off does sound overly complicated, but I love the idea that the central three characters aren’t our typical heroes. And tree-people could be fun!

  5. Olivia Roach

    I actually love it when author’s don’t try to sugarcoat that they have negative sides to their characters or that some of them are not nice. That’s real life and it is realistic to include. It like that a lot! And it sounds like three of the main characters really grew on you as well. I am a bit hesitant because of all those POVs and that it took time to get into but I think I could survive it.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I love that too. It’s definitely more reflective of real life than having everyone be perfect and always nice. Plus I love when the author’s still able to make me care even when a ccharacters not the best person.